The EU has launched Strategies for the Evaluation and Assessment of Ocean-Based Carbon Dioxide Removal (SEAO2-CDR), a four-year project that aims to evaluate the potential of ocean CO2 removal (OCDR). The initiative will look into the effects, benefits, and feasibility of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in the ocean.
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is the scientific and technical lead of the project, which is funded by Horizon Europe. SEAO2-CDR is coordinated by Uniresearch and includes 12 other organizations that will contribute with scientific, economic, legal, political, social, and ethical knowledge.
The European project will consider the gaps in understanding the technical aspects of OCDR and will work on developing the frameworks required to support the responsible and effective implementation of the carbon removal method, as well as the monitoring, reporting, and verification strategies through the use sensor technologies.
“Whilst decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas that we emit is the main requirement for achieving Net Zero targets, active removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is a key element in the IPCC’s climate projections,” said Dr. Christopher Pearce, Principal Marine Geoscientist at NOC. He also said that while the ocean can be a highly efficient carbon sink, a better understanding is required to evaluate and monitor OCDR methods before implementing them at scale.
The World Ocean Council (WOC) is one of the partners in the project. “Building on the long-standing WOC efforts on ocean-based carbon dioxide removal, we will be focussed on the role of the private sector including working to bring together the growing cadre of OCDR companies to facilitate advancing responsible, science-based OCDR,” said Paul Holthus, CEO of the World Ocean Council.
Currently, carbon dioxide removal methods can remove 2 billion metric tons of carbon per year, which is insufficient to meet the temperature goals set under the Paris Agreement. Whether a CDR method can be implemented at scale depends on many factors, including cost, legal requirements, and appropriate monitoring and accounting.