Achieving ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2030 and enabling the shift towards a climate neutral and climate resilient society by 2050 will require the implementation of a portfolio of CDR approaches.
Ocean-based methods may play a significant role in meeting those objectives as the scale of atmospheric CO2 removal that could be achieved, coupled with their potential to help mitigate other climate change impacts such as ocean acidification, may offer advantages over terrestrial-based CDR approaches. Facilitating the environmentally safe, socially acceptable and economically viable implementation of ocean-based CDR approaches requires an enhanced understanding of the efficacy, durability, scalability and co-benefits/risks of each technique, as well as the development of appropriate monitoring mechanisms, regulatory pathways, and market opportunities that are supported by local communities. SEAO2-CDR addresses these challenges by developing holistic and multidisciplinary assessment and evaluation frameworks that will help guide and inform their implementation potential.
Recent advancements in our knowledge base of ocean-based CDR approaches have primarily focused on specific methods or techniques, with particular emphasis on demonstrating or quantifying their theoretical sequestration potential under realistic conditions through in-situ mesocosm experiments and pilot studies. Whilst such ‘bottom-up’ validations remain critical for enabling accurate upscaling and environmental impact assessments, it is equally imperative that the ‘top-down’ market drivers and social acceptability barriers are properly understood to avoid the development of commercially or conceptually non-viable approaches. SEAO2-CDR will achieve this by enabling the parameterisation, evaluation and integration of scientific, social, political, ethical, legal and commercial knowledge relevant to ocean-based CDR through three Core Themes (CTs):
CT1. Technical evaluation of ocean-based CDR approaches
CT2. Governance frameworks for ocean-based CDR update at scale
CT3. Implementation policies and pathways for ocean-based CDR