Friday, February 15, 2008

Walking the plank

Planktos has suspended operations. This was the company that was going to reverse global warming by dumping iron in the ocean, creating enormous blooms of carbon-devouring plankton. The management intended to fund operations by selling millions of dollars of carbon offsets from the greenhouse gas that was sequestered under the sea, until some scientists and environmentalists urged more research.

As The Carbon Monitor noted, the company is one among many (it's hard to see what's preventing anyone with a boat and some iron from entering the business), but Planktos was most dependent on carbon offsets for funding. When opponents spoke out and targeted the use of carbon offset as funding, it stood little chance.

Planktos received pretty favorable press coverage for its efforts. The company's demise probably doesn't say much about the science of using iron to encourage plankton which gobble up carbon. Rather, it probably tells us something about carbon offsets, and that this market may have peaked. A look at Planktos history, from its financial filings, shows they have a knack for identifying trendy businesses.

Diatom Corporation (“the Company”) was incorporated as eWorld Travel Corp on December 10, 1998 under the laws of the state of Nevada. On September 23, 2002, the Company changed its name to GYK Ventures, Inc. and on July 8, 2005, the Company changed its name again to Diatom Corporation. The Company originally was organized to provide internet-based travel services. On March 8, 2007, the Company effected a 1:1.5 forward split of its common stock and amended its articles of incorporation to reflect a name change from “Diatom Corporation” to “Planktos Corp.”

Internet-based travel services sort of says it all.

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