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☁️ "Ocean Carbon Removal"

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Photo by Marek Okon / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Radhika Moolgavkar
Guests: Chris Barnard | National Policy Director | American Conservation Coalition &
Wil Burns | Co-Executive Director | Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy, American University
Category: ☁️ Carbon Reduction

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:20] RM: “In December of 2021, the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a long anticipated report which outlined a general research agenda for ocean based carbon removal. […] Ocean based approaches have a theoretical potential to remove significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but they are still very nascent. There's a lot of net research necessary to ensure that the scale up is both safe and effective.”

[2:30] RM: “The authors outlined six broad categories of ocean carbon removal that they thought the federal government should do further research on: Ocean nutrient fertilization, artificial upwelling, seaweed cultivation, ecosystem recovery, ocean alkalinity enhancement and electrochemical processes. Of any of these, I think ecosystem recovery is probably not super controversial. It's just about making sure the oceans are restored to their former state. But the other ones do raise some interesting trade offs and checks and balances that probably need to be in place. And so each was assessed on several criteria. And they found overall that ocean CDR at the gigaton scale is possible and recommended a federal research budget of about $850 million over the next five years.“

[4:41] WB: “One of the things that the Academy pointed out in the study […] was that there was a one month long study to analyze the carbon biological pump and that one study in one area cost $115 million. So you burn through this amount of money very quickly.”

[6:33] WB: “A couple of primary takeaways are, first of all, we're very early stages with a lot of [the ocean CDR methods]. […] They're no more than a twinkle in the eye in some cases, with most of it being largely lab based or modeling. And so despite the fact that we needed these kinds of approaches yesterday, that's just not where we're at. And I think this study […] emphasizes how much research needs to be done in characterizing risks and benefits for a lot of these approaches.”

[8:14] CB: “What stood out to me is the fact that the study said […] that land based carbon dioxide removal is obviously great, but not enough. The technological stuff is great, also not enough. Moving to clean energy is great, still not enough. And that the marine based or blue carbon opportunities to produce more carbon should be a crucial part of the puzzle that could help […] round out our portfolio of solutions for this. […] So I think it's just a wake up call that this is an opportunity that really exists and that we should seize.”

[24:22] RM: “One of the findings is that to grow enough kelp to remove 0.1 gigatons of CO2 per year would require 730,000 kilometers of coastline, which is about 60% of the global coastline. And that's also assuming if it was planted in the 10 meter belt, and that's also assuming that it could be planted […] along this whole coastline.“

[25:02] WB: “I think the parallel [to kelp planting] was a lot of the initial enthusiasm for afforestation and reforestation as a carbon removal approach because somewhat analogously it feels like a nature based solution. And so it in many people's minds, I think it is psychologically privileged over things that require more hard infrastructure like electro geochemical approaches, or ocean upwelling and downwelling, for example. But similar to afforestation and reforestation, it has some limits, and it also has some risks that aren't discussed enough.“

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 45 min | 🗓️ 03/11/2022
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