TASK FORCE

OCEAN CARBON DIOXIDE REMOVAL

Supported by:

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is becoming increasingly understood as imperative for slowing dangerous climate change. The world needs to extract and permanently sequester 100s to 1000s of gigatons of carbon dioxide over the coming decades to avoid the worst effects of climate disruption. The scale of the efforts needed comes with significant technological, political, economic, and social challenges.

To date, most of the thinking and development of CDR approaches and technologies, while relatively nascent, have been terrestrially focused. However, the Ocean holds enormous potential for CDR solutions at the needed scale given their sheer size and biological function.  

Ocean CDR remains poorly understood and under-invested. There are an emerging number of scientific efforts to evaluate different ocean CDR pathways, their technical feasibility, costs and environmental implications, and there are a growing number of early stage inventors and practitioners who are pushing the technical envelopes of ocean CDR technologies. But there is no supportive policy framework for field testing and commercial scaling; awareness of the potential contributions of ocean CDR is nascent; social and political license for ocean-based approaches is uncertain; and philanthropic and private sector engagement remains small.

To address and overcome some of the roadblocks to accelerating development of ocean-based CDR, Ocean Visions will convene relevant experts and interested parties in development of road maps to identify the needed steps to accelerate development and deployment of the most viable ocean CDR approaches.  
 

OBJECTIVES

Ocean Visions will conduct a multi-faceted process to convene and engage diverse disciplines and sectors in collaborative development of detailed, living road maps to advance promising ocean-based CDR approaches.    
 
These road maps will identify critical paths forward to accelerate development, testing, and deployment of ocean CDR. Road maps will identify key uncertainties, obstacles, opportunities and priorities and examine these from a range of perspectives and disciplines, including natural sciences, engineering, policy, governance, economics, social equity and others. The road maps will be grounded in an evidence-based, precautionary approach towards implementation.
 
The road maps are intended to catalyze increased action and lead to increased deployment of needed intellectual, physical, institutional and financial resources throughout the global community. They will likely be presented in a variety of formats to increase utility and uptake. Determining the most effective ways to operationalize the road maps will be part of this first 

FOCUS

Given the current state of research and development, efforts will focus on three ocean CDR approaches that have emerged as ‘frontrunners’ based on apparent technological feasibility and potential for scalability. These approaches include: (1) ocean alkalinity enhancement, (2) macroalgal cultivation, and (3) electrochemical removal of carbon dioxide from seawater. As work progresses, we may include other approaches as well.    
 
The roadmaps are intended to be living documents that are continually updated and refined as advances in science, technology, governance, and policy emerge. The exact form(s) of these roadmaps will be determined in the initial phase of the project in consultation with experts and potential end-users.    
 
The road mapping process itself will be designed to engage experts and practitioners worldwide and to allow for iteration and improvement and tailoring to specific geographies, sectors and scales. The process will also be built to allow for broad participation, self-selection into subgroups, and to facilitate a global crowd-sourcing approach to iterating and building out the roadmaps. A key deliverable will be initial design of an ongoing structure that supports and accelerates collaboration and action around ocean CDR.   

CO-CHAIRS

Brad Ack

David Koweek

Website hosted by The Ocean Visions Research Consortium 
Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS)
A proposal to establish a United Nation Programme for the Decade for Ocean Sustainable Development