Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

5 of 8
BACKNEXT
Ocean seeding
Ocean seeding
The ocean currently acts as a huge sponge for carbon dioxide, absorbing some 60 billion tons a year.

But all that carbon is making the oceans more acidic and reducing the amount carbon-sucking plankton.

How it works: This idea involves seeding the oceans with iron or other elements to stimulate plankton growth. Already, dust storms off the continents that blow iron into water are known to cause plankton blooms, seen here.

The iron is available as a byproduct of steel making, and could be dispersed for little more than shipping costs, said Dan Whaley, chief executive of Climos, a company working on the idea.

Why it might not work: Concerns remain over how additional plankton will impact the oceans. A main concern is what happens when the plankton dies? Some say it will safely sink down to the ocean floor. Others fear it will decompose near the surface, releasing its carbon into the atmosphere.

Beyond the idea: Climos is one of the few actual companies operating in the geoengineering space - most of the work is done by university professors or other researchers.

Climos' funding comes in the form of grants, but it's conceivable that some firms could make a handsome profit if any of these ideas pan out. Geoengineering schemes may qualify as carbon offset projects, where companies that emit carbon pay others to take it out of the atmosphere. Carbon offset projects may become mandatory under greenhouse gas laws.

But investors beware: Most of these ideas are far from reality.

NEXT: White deserts

Last updated December 02 2009: 10:52 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
The stock market's wild week in 6 pictures It was the wildest week in stocks in recent memory. Here's photos and CNNMoney's tweets of reactions to the panicked selling on Monday and Tuesday, which gave way to a mad buying scramble on Wednesday and Thursday. And then...a selloff on Friday again. More
How New Orleans is learning to live with water After Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans had to reinvent the way it manages water and protects itself from future storms. More
Your degree will earn you the most from these colleges Art majors can make big bucks, too. Find out which school has the highest paid grads in your major. More

Special Offer