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STATEMENT: National Academies Report Shows Research Needed into the Opportunities and Risks of Carbon Dioxide Removal

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On December 8, 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)’s  released a new report, “A Research Strategy for Ocean Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration.” In response, Dr. Sarah Cooley, Director of Climate Science at Ocean Conservancy, issued the following statement:

“When it comes to ocean carbon dioxide removal (CDR), it’s clear that we need much more research into understanding the opportunities and risks it provides as a viable ocean-based climate solution.  The National Academies’ report on ocean carbon dioxide removal is an important first step to laying out the research needed and how to prioritize it. Given the wide variety of ocean CDR methods being proposed and considered, it’s critical that research is well-coordinated to help make the most of public and private investments and evaluate the full scope of environmental and social outcomes. Multidisciplinary research coordinated under a uniform cod conduct, as suggested by the report authors, will also help ensure that ocean-based CDR research does not impose unfair environmental or social costs and starts to provide the information needed for informed and responsible decision making. 

“While some ocean-based solutions to climate change are ready today, such as renewable offshore wind, there are others that are still being evaluated, like ocean carbon dioxide removal, before they can be put to use solving this crisis. Before we enact any solution, it’s important that we thoroughly understand the risks and benefits of each. Decisionmakers must have enough information on how these solutions will affect ocean systems, marine life and people who rely on them, not to mention a verifiable estimate of their climate mitigation potential.”   

  Notes to Editors: 

  • Ocean carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is a class of actions being researched that seek to sequester some of the anthropogenic CO2 that’s causing planetary warming and ocean acidification. Ocean CDR methods are inspired by natural biological or geochemical processes.

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Dr. Sarah Cooley is available for comment upon request.

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit http://www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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