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Global Ocean Governance Lecture Series
Antacids for the Sea: The Potential Role of Ocean Alkalinization Enhancement in Combating Climate Change
Dr. Wil Burns
The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University
October 12, 2020
It is becoming increasingly clear that achievement of the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets will require both aggressive policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and large-scale deployment of so-called “carbon dioxide removal” options, i.e. processes that remove carbon from the atmosphere to reduce radiative forcing. While much of the early research in this context focused on terrestrial options, scalability and sustainability issues have led to increasing interest in ocean-based approaches. This presentation focuses on one of the more promising options: Ocean Alkalinization Enhancement, which seeks to enhance storage of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans through the addition of limestone or other substances. The presentation will examine the potential effectiveness of this approach, potential risks to ocean ecosystems, and avenues for international governance.