Development Gaps and Needs

Addressing Knowledge Gaps

  • Because of the lack of proof-of-concept field experiments, it has so far been impossible to characterize benefits, risks, and scaling consideration of OAE in real-world settings (i.e. not benchtop). Controlled field experiments across diverse ecosystems to determine marine chemistry and biology impacts and feedbacks are needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
  • It is challenging to verify additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere as a result of OAE given the ocean’s dynamic CO2 flux “background state”. New methodologies are needed to observe additional sequestration from the atmosphere into the ocean (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • Laboratory experiments are needed across a range of seawater chemistries expected as a result of equilibrated OAE scenarios (e.g. high total alkalinity and high dissolved inorganic carbon[1]Comments from Dr. Ros Rickaby, ‘Workshop on Ocean-based CDR Opportunities and Challenges, Part 2: Technological and Natural Approaches to Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement and CO2 Removal’ on 27th January 2021 ), along with various alkaline materials and their associated major (e.g. magnesium, calcium) and minor (e.g. nickel, cadmium) elemental concentrations to characterize environmental impacts (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
    • Look to the ocean acidification community’s effort to develop standardized protocols for guidance[2]Gattuso, Jean-Pierre, and Lina Hansson. “European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA): Objectives, Products, and Scientific Highlights.” Oceanography 22, no. 4 (December 1, 2009): 190–201. https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.108. as the OAE community builds out standardized protocols and treatments levels for consistency and intercomparability
    • Existing database(s) of ecotoxicological tests need to be reviewed[3]EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, cfpub.epa.gov/ecotox/. for possible OAE source materials (e.g. Ca(OH)2) and co-occurring metals (e.g. Ni, Cd) to identify known ecotoxicological effect and lethality thresholds and current gaps in our understanding.
  • Global, local, and regional predictions of physical, chemical, and biological outcomes and feedbacks of OAE from high-resolution models are needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation)
  • Laboratory experiments are needed on silicate and carbonate mineral kinetics and dissolution catalysts[4]Mechanisms of calcite dissolution in seawater Adam V. Subhas, Jess F. Adkins, Nick E. Rollins, John Naviaux, Jonathan Erez, William M. Berelson Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2017, 114 (31) 8175-8180; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1703604114 to better understand mineral dissolution rates in marine environments and means to accelerate them (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
    • The coastal enhanced weathering facility jointly administered by Universiteit Antwerpen, the University of Gent, and VLIZ provides mesocosm and monitoring equipment to conduct mineral dissolution experiments in tank conditions closely approximating real-world beach and shallow water settings. 
  • Life cycle assessments are necessary to calculate net CDR benefits, taking into account all emissions associated with supply chains (Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols). 
  • There may be good value in summarizing best practices, lessons learned, and pitfalls from lime treatment of acid rain-affected lakes and watersheds to accelerate OAE development and testing[5]Comments from Dr. Tim Kruger, ‘Workshop on Ocean-based CDR Opportunities and Challenges, Part 2: Technological and Natural Approaches to Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement and CO2 Removal’. A Research Strategy for Ocean Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration, U.S. National Academy of Sciences.  27th January 2021. Accessible at: https://www.nationalacademies.org/event/01-27-2021/a-research-strategy-for-ocean-carbon-dioxide-removal-and-sequestration-workshop-series-part-2 [6]Taylor, L. L. et al. (2021) ‘Increased carbon capture by a silicate-treated forested watershed affected by acid deposition’, Biogeosciences, 18(1), pp. 169–188. doi: 10.5194/bg-18-169-2021.
  • Because of the lack of proof-of-concept field experiments, it has so far been impossible to characterize benefits, risks, and scaling consideration of OAE in real-world settings (i.e. not benchtop). Controlled field experiments across diverse ecosystems to determine marine chemistry and biology impacts and feedbacks are needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
  • It is challenging to verify additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere as a result of OAE given the ocean’s dynamic CO2 flux “background state”. New methodologies are needed to observe additional sequestration from the atmosphere into the ocean (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • Laboratory experiments are needed across a range of seawater chemistries expected as a result of equilibrated OAE scenarios (e.g. high total alkalinity and high dissolved inorganic carbon{{1}}), along with various alkaline materials and their associated major (e.g. magnesium, calcium) and minor (e.g. nickel, cadmium) elemental concentrations to characterize environmental impacts (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
    • Look to the ocean acidification community’s effort to develop standardized protocols for guidance{{2}} as the OAE community builds out standardized protocols and treatments levels for consistency and intercomparability
    • Existing database(s) of ecotoxicological tests need to be reviewed{{3}} for possible OAE source materials (e.g. Ca(OH)2) and co-occurring metals (e.g. Ni, Cd) to identify known ecotoxicological effect and lethality thresholds and current gaps in our understanding.
  • Global, local, and regional predictions of physical, chemical, and biological outcomes and feedbacks of OAE from high-resolution models are needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation)
  • Laboratory experiments are needed on silicate and carbonate mineral kinetics and dissolution catalysts{{4}} to better understand mineral dissolution rates in marine environments and means to accelerate them (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
    • The coastal enhanced weathering facility jointly administered by Universiteit Antwerpen, the University of Gent, and VLIZ provides mesocosm and monitoring equipment to conduct mineral dissolution experiments in tank conditions closely approximating real-world beach and shallow water settings. 
  • Life cycle assessments are necessary to calculate net CDR benefits, taking into account all emissions associated with supply chains (Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols). 
  • There may be good value in summarizing best practices, lessons learned, and pitfalls from lime treatment of acid rain-affected lakes and watersheds to accelerate OAE development and testing{{5}}{{6}}
  • Because of the lack of proof-of-concept field experiments, it has so far been impossible to characterize benefits, risks, and scaling consideration of OAE in real-world settings (i.e. not benchtop). Controlled field experiments across diverse ecosystems to determine marine chemistry and biology impacts and feedbacks are needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
  • It is challenging to verify additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere as a result of OAE given the ocean’s dynamic CO2 flux “background state”. New methodologies are needed to observe additional sequestration from the atmosphere into the ocean (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • Laboratory experiments are needed across a range of seawater chemistries expected as a result of equilibrated OAE scenarios (e.g. high total alkalinity and high dissolved inorganic carbon{{1}}), along with various alkaline materials and their associated major (e.g. magnesium, calcium) and minor (e.g. nickel, cadmium) elemental concentrations to characterize environmental impacts (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
    • Look to the ocean acidification community’s effort to develop standardized protocols for guidance{{2}} as the OAE community builds out standardized protocols and treatments levels for consistency and intercomparability
    • Existing database(s) of ecotoxicological tests need to be reviewed{{3}} for possible OAE source materials (e.g. Ca(OH)2) and co-occurring metals (e.g. Ni, Cd) to identify known ecotoxicological effect and lethality thresholds and current gaps in our understanding.
  • Global, local, and regional predictions of physical, chemical, and biological outcomes and feedbacks of OAE from high-resolution models are needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation)
  • Laboratory experiments are needed on silicate and carbonate mineral kinetics and dissolution catalysts{{4}} to better understand mineral dissolution rates in marine environments and means to accelerate them (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials).
    • The coastal enhanced weathering facility jointly administered by Universiteit Antwerpen, the University of Gent, and VLIZ provides mesocosm and monitoring equipment to conduct mineral dissolution experiments in tank conditions closely approximating real-world beach and shallow water settings. 
  • Life cycle assessments are necessary to calculate net CDR benefits, taking into account all emissions associated with supply chains (Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols). 
  • There may be good value in summarizing best practices, lessons learned, and pitfalls from lime treatment of acid rain-affected lakes and watersheds to accelerate OAE development and testing{{5}}{{6}}
  • Because of the lack of proof-of-concept field experiments, it has so far been impossible to characterize benefits, risks, and scaling consideration of OAE in real-world settings (i.e. not benchtop). Controlled field experiments across diverse ecosystems to determine marine chemistry and biology impacts and feedbacks are needed (3a, 3b).
  • It is challenging to verify additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere as a result of OAE given the ocean’s dynamic CO2 flux “background state”. New methodologies are needed to observe additional sequestration from the atmosphere into the ocean (3a, 3c).
  • Laboratory experiments are needed across a range of seawater chemistries expected as a result of equilibrated OAE scenarios (e.g. high total alkalinity and high dissolved inorganic carbon{{1}}), along with various alkaline materials and their associated major (e.g. magnesium, calcium) and minor (e.g. nickel, cadmium) elemental concentrations to characterize environmental impacts (3b).
    • Look to the ocean acidification community’s effort to develop standardized protocols for guidance{{2}} as the OAE community builds out standardized protocols and treatments levels for consistency and intercomparability
    • Existing database(s) of ecotoxicological tests need to be reviewed{{3}} for possible OAE source materials (e.g. Ca(OH)2) and co-occurring metals (e.g. Ni, Cd) to identify known ecotoxicological effect and lethality thresholds and current gaps in our understanding.
  • Global, local, and regional predictions of physical, chemical, and biological outcomes and feedbacks of OAE from high-resolution models are needed (3a)
  • Laboratory experiments are needed on silicate and carbonate mineral kinetics and dissolution catalysts{{4}} to better understand mineral dissolution rates in marine environments and means to accelerate them (3b).
    • The coastal enhanced weathering facility jointly administered by Universiteit Antwerpen, the University of Gent, and VLIZ provides mesocosm and monitoring equipment to conduct mineral dissolution experiments in tank conditions closely approximating real-world beach and shallow water settings. 
  • Life cycle assessments are necessary to calculate net CDR benefits, taking into account all emissions associated with supply chains (3d). 
  • There may be good value in summarizing best practices, lessons learned, and pitfalls from lime treatment of acid rain-affected lakes and watersheds to accelerate OAE development and testing{{5}}{{6}}
  • Because of the lack of proof-of-concept field experiments, it has so far been impossible to characterize benefits, risks, and scaling consideration of OAE in real-world settings (i.e. not benchtop). Controlled field experiments across diverse ecosystems to determine marine chemistry and biology impacts and feedbacks are needed (3a, 3b).
  • It is challenging to verify additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere as a result of OAE given the ocean’s dynamic CO2 flux “background state”. New methodologies are needed to observe additional sequestration from the atmosphere into the ocean (3a, 3c).
  • Laboratory experiments are needed across a range of seawater chemistries expected as a result of equilibrated OAE scenarios (e.g. high total alkalinity and high dissolved inorganic carbon), along with various alkaline materials and their associated major (e.g. magnesium, calcium) and minor (e.g. nickel, cadmium) elemental concentrations to characterize environmental impacts (3b).
    • Look to the ocean acidification community’s effort to develop standardized protocols for guidance as the OAE community builds out standardized protocols and treatments levels for consistency and intercomparability
    • Existing database(s) of ecotoxicological tests need to be reviewed for possible OAE source materials (e.g. Ca(OH)2) and co-occurring metals (e.g. Ni, Cd) to identify known ecotoxicological effect and lethality thresholds and current gaps in our understanding.
  • Global, local, and regional predictions of physical, chemical, and biological outcomes and feedbacks of OAE from high-resolution models are needed (3a)
  • Laboratory experiments are needed on silicate and carbonate mineral kinetics and dissolution catalysts to better understand mineral dissolution rates in marine environments and means to accelerate them (3b).
    • The coastal enhanced weathering facility jointly administered by Universiteit Antwerpen, the University of Gent, and VLIZ provides mesocosm and monitoring equipment to conduct mineral dissolution experiments in tank conditions closely approximating real-world beach and shallow water settings. 
  • Life cycle assessments are necessary to calculate net CDR benefits, taking into account all emissions associated with supply chains (3d). 
  • There may be good value in summarizing best practices, lessons learned, and pitfalls from lime treatment of acid rain-affected lakes and watersheds to accelerate OAE development and testing,.

Engineering Challenges and Needs

  • Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread and easily available to fully support field trials with the desired spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • New technologies are needed to reduce the cost and environmental impacts of mining, grinding, and distribution of alkaline rocks with minimum environmental impact[1]See this relevant example of a recent analysis of the energy costs associated with mineral grinding for enhanced rock weathering in terrestrial environments; Beerling, D.J., Kantzas, E.P., Lomas, M.R. et al. Potential for large-scale CO2 removal via enhanced rock weathering with croplands. Nature 583, 242–248 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2448-9 .
  • Assessment of the potential to re-purpose existing supply chains for coal and cement to provide an easier ramp up to meet the production and distribution scales required (Accelerate RD&D Through New Partnerships). 
  • Assessment of the potential to scale the cement and lime industries to meet the expected needs of calcination[2]Renforth, P., B. G. Jenkins, and T. Kruger. 2013. “Engineering Challenges of Ocean Liming.” Energy 60: 442–52. [3]Renforth, P., and G. Henderson (2017), Assessing ocean alkalinity for carbon sequestration, Rev. Geophys., 55, 636–674, doi:10.1002/2016RG000533 (Accelerate RD&D Through New Partnerships).
  • Identification of sources of renewable energy at sufficient scale to power OAE (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) 
  • For in-situ application with hydroxide minerals, methods to handle the heat generated from adding hydroxides to the ocean because this is an exothermic (heat-releasing) reaction (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • For point source OAE, cost-effective and safe methods need to be developed that optimize the distribution, dispersal and dilution of any strong chemical bases to avoid impacts of excessively alkaline (pH>9) waters on marine ecosystems. Dilution may require pumping large amounts of seawater, which need to be optimized for energy and cost (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread and easily available to fully support field trials with the desired spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • New technologies are needed to reduce the cost and environmental impacts of mining, grinding, and distribution of alkaline rocks with minimum environmental impact{{1}}.
  • Assessment of the potential to re-purpose existing supply chains for coal and cement to provide an easier ramp up to meet the production and distribution scales required (Accelerate RD&D Through New Partnerships). 
  • Assessment of the potential to scale the cement and lime industries to meet the expected needs of calcination{{2}}{{3}}(Accelerate RD&D Through New Partnerships).
  • Identification of sources of renewable energy at sufficient scale to power OAE (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) 
  • For in-situ application with hydroxide minerals, methods to handle the heat generated from adding hydroxides to the ocean because this is an exothermic (heat-releasing) reaction (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • For point source OAE, cost-effective and safe methods need to be developed that optimize the distribution, dispersal and dilution of any strong chemical bases to avoid impacts of excessively alkaline (pH>9) waters on marine ecosystems. Dilution may require pumping large amounts of seawater, which need to be optimized for energy and cost (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread and easily available to fully support field trials with the desired spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • New technologies are needed to reduce the cost and environmental impacts of mining, grinding, and distribution of alkaline rocks with minimum environmental impact{{1}}.
  • Assessment of the potential to re-purpose existing supply chains for coal and cement to provide an easier ramp up to meet the production and distribution scales required (Accelerate RD&D Through New Partnerships). 
  • Assessment of the potential to scale the cement and lime industries to meet the expected needs of calcination{{2}}{{3}}(Accelerate RD&D Through New Partnerships).
  • Identification of sources of renewable energy at sufficient scale to power OAE (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) 
  • For in-situ application with hydroxide minerals, methods to handle the heat generated from adding hydroxides to the ocean because this is an exothermic (heat-releasing) reaction (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • For point source OAE, cost-effective and safe methods need to be developed that optimize the distribution, dispersal and dilution of any strong chemical bases to avoid impacts of excessively alkaline (pH>9) waters on marine ecosystems. Dilution may require pumping large amounts of seawater, which need to be optimized for energy and cost (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations).
  • Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread and easily available to fully support field trials with the desired spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling needed (3c).
  • New technologies are needed to reduce the cost and environmental impacts of mining, grinding, and distribution of alkaline rocks with minimum environmental impact{{1}}.
  • Assessment of the potential to re-purpose existing supply chains for coal and cement to provide an easier ramp up to meet the production and distribution scales required (3e). 
  • Assessment of the potential to scale the cement and lime industries to meet the expected needs of calcination{{2}}{{3}}(3e).
  • Identification of sources of renewable energy at sufficient scale to power OAE (3c) 
  • For in-situ application with hydroxide minerals, methods to handle the heat generated from adding hydroxides to the ocean because this is an exothermic (heat-releasing) reaction (3c).
  • For point source OAE, cost-effective and safe methods need to be developed that optimize the distribution, dispersal and dilution of any strong chemical bases to avoid impacts of excessively alkaline (pH>9) waters on marine ecosystems. Dilution may require pumping large amounts of seawater, which need to be optimized for energy and cost (3c).
  • Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread and easily available to fully support field trials with the desired spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling needed (3c).
  • New technologies are needed to reduce the cost and environmental impacts of mining, grinding, and distribution of alkaline rocks with minimum environmental impact
  • Assessment of the potential to re-purpose existing supply chains for coal and cement to provide an easier ramp up to meet the production and distribution scales required (3e). 
  • Assessment of the potential to scale the cement and lime industries to meet the expected needs of calcination, (3e).
  • Identification of sources of renewable energy at sufficient scale to power OAE (3c) 
  • For in-situ application with hydroxide minerals, methods to handle the heat generated from adding hydroxides to the ocean because this is an exothermic (heat-releasing) reaction (3c).
  • For point source OAE, cost-effective and safe methods need to be developed that optimize the distribution, dispersal and dilution of any strong chemical bases to avoid impacts of excessively alkaline (pH>9) waters on marine ecosystems. Dilution may require pumping large amounts of seawater, which need to be optimized for energy and cost (3c).

Building an OAE Market

  • Development of a robust carbon market for OAE-derived CDR is especially important because most OAE pathways as described above do not produce co-products that could generate revenue and lower overall system costs.
    • However, synthetic production of magnesium hydroxide via accelerated weathering of olivine co-produces silica and metal oxides[1]Scott, A., Oze, C., Shah, V. et al. Transformation of abundant magnesium silicate minerals for enhanced CO2 sequestration. Commun Earth Environ 2, 25 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00099-6 , both of which can be sold as co-products to reduce the overall system costs
  • Strengthening mechanisms to protect intellectual property associated with various OAE pathways. 
  • Development of third-party verification protocols is needed to support trading of carbon removal credits on carbon markets (Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols)
  • Development of a robust carbon market for OAE-derived CDR is especially important because most OAE pathways as described above do not produce co-products that could generate revenue and lower overall system costs.
    • However, synthetic production of magnesium hydroxide via accelerated weathering of olivine co-produces silica and metal oxides{{1}}, both of which can be sold as co-products to reduce the overall system costs
  • Strengthening mechanisms to protect intellectual property associated with various OAE pathways. 
  • Development of third-party verification protocols is needed to support trading of carbon removal credits on carbon markets (Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols)
  • Development of a robust carbon market for OAE-derived CDR is especially important because most OAE pathways as described above do not produce co-products that could generate revenue and lower overall system costs.
    • However, synthetic production of magnesium hydroxide via accelerated weathering of olivine co-produces silica and metal oxides{{1}}, both of which can be sold as co-products to reduce the overall system costs
  • Strengthening mechanisms to protect intellectual property associated with various OAE pathways. 
  • Development of third-party verification protocols is needed to support trading of carbon removal credits on carbon markets (Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols)
  • Development of a robust carbon market for OAE-derived CDR is especially important because most OAE pathways as described above do not produce co-products that could generate revenue and lower overall system costs.
    • However, synthetic production of magnesium hydroxide via accelerated weathering of olivine co-produces silica and metal oxides{{1}}, both of which can be sold as co-products to reduce the overall system costs
  • Strengthening mechanisms to protect intellectual property associated with various OAE pathways. 
  • Development of third-party verification protocols is needed to support trading of carbon removal credits on carbon markets (3d)
  • Development of a robust carbon market for OAE-derived CDR is especially important because most OAE pathways as described above do not produce co-products that could generate revenue and lower overall system costs.
    • However, synthetic production of magnesium hydroxide via accelerated weathering of olivine co-produces silica and metal oxides, both of which can be sold as co-products to reduce the overall system costs
  • Strengthening mechanisms to protect intellectual property associated with various OAE pathways. 
  • Development of third-party verification protocols is needed to support trading of carbon removal credits on carbon markets (3d)

Public Awareness and Support Are Low

Many of the opportunities and challenges around building public awareness and support for ocean-based CDR are not specific to OAE, but there are several hurdles specific to OAE: 

  • OAE faces challenges in terms of public perception of potential environmental risks that are not necessarily faced by what are considered more “nature-based” approaches (e.g., coastal blue carbon restoration)[1]Bertram C and Merk C (2020) Public Perceptions of Ocean-Based Carbon Dioxide Removal: The Nature-Engineering Divide? Front. Clim. 2:594194. doi: 10.3389/fclim.2020.594194 (Growing and Maintaining Public Support).
    • There is a great deal of hesitancy and resistance around any ocean-based CDR pathway that relies on adding materials to the ocean. 
    • Earlier ocean iron fertilization experiments[2]Schiermeier, Q. (2009a). Ocean Fertilization Experiment Draws Fire: Indo-German Research Cruise Sets Sail Despite Criticism. Available online at: https://www. nature.com/news/2009/090109/full/news.2009.13.html could offer opportunities to adopt best practices and avoid mistakes made when building public support for OAE. 
  • Negative perceptions exist about the large-scale mining that would likely be needed to generate sufficient rock supplies to support global-scale OAE (Growing and Maintaining Public Support).
  • Clearer communication strategies need to be developed to respond to the “geoengineering” narrative of OAE (Growing and Maintaining Public Support). 

Many of the opportunities and challenges around building public awareness and support for ocean-based CDR are not specific to OAE, but there are several hurdles specific to OAE: 

  • OAE faces challenges in terms of public perception of potential environmental risks that are not necessarily faced by what are considered more “nature-based” approaches (e.g., coastal blue carbon restoration){{1}} (Growing and Maintaining Public Support).
    • There is a great deal of hesitancy and resistance around any ocean-based CDR pathway that relies on adding materials to the ocean. 
    • Earlier ocean iron fertilization experiments{{2}} could offer opportunities to adopt best practices and avoid mistakes made when building public support for OAE. 
  • Negative perceptions exist about the large-scale mining that would likely be needed to generate sufficient rock supplies to support global-scale OAE (Growing and Maintaining Public Support).
  • Clearer communication strategies need to be developed to respond to the “geoengineering” narrative of OAE (Growing and Maintaining Public Support). 

Many of the opportunities and challenges around building public awareness and support for ocean-based CDR are not specific to OAE, but there are several hurdles specific to OAE: 

  • OAE faces challenges in terms of public perception of potential environmental risks that are not necessarily faced by what are considered more “nature-based” approaches (e.g., coastal blue carbon restoration){{1}} (Growing and Maintaining Public Support).
    • There is a great deal of hesitancy and resistance around any ocean-based CDR pathway that relies on adding materials to the ocean. 
    • Earlier ocean iron fertilization experiments{{2}} could offer opportunities to adopt best practices and avoid mistakes made when building public support for OAE. 
  • Negative perceptions exist about the large-scale mining that would likely be needed to generate sufficient rock supplies to support global-scale OAE (3f).
  • Clearer communication strategies need to be developed to respond to the “geoengineering” narrative of OAE (3f). 

Many of the opportunities and challenges around building public awareness and support for ocean-based CDR are not specific to OAE, but there are several hurdles specific to OAE: 

  • OAE faces challenges in terms of public perception of potential environmental risks that are not necessarily faced by what are considered more “nature-based” approaches (e.g., coastal blue carbon restoration){{1}} (3f).
    • There is a great deal of hesitancy and resistance around any ocean-based CDR pathway that relies on adding materials to the ocean. 
    • Earlier ocean iron fertilization experiments{{2}} could offer opportunities to adopt best practices and avoid mistakes made when building public support for OAE. 
  • Negative perceptions exist about the large-scale mining that would likely be needed to generate sufficient rock supplies to support global-scale OAE (3f).
  • Clearer communication strategies need to be developed to respond to the “geoengineering” narrative of OAE (3f). 

Many of the opportunities and challenges around building public awareness and support for ocean-based CDR are not specific to OAE, but there are several hurdles specific to OAE: 

  • OAE faces challenges in terms of public perception of potential environmental risks that are not necessarily faced by what are considered more “nature-based” approaches (e.g., coastal blue carbon restoration) (3f).
    • There is a great deal of hesitancy and resistance around any ocean-based CDR pathway that relies on adding materials to the ocean. 
    • Earlier ocean iron fertilization experiments could offer opportunities to adopt best practices and avoid mistakes made when building public support for OAE. 
  • Negative perceptions exist about the large-scale mining that would likely be needed to generate sufficient rock supplies to support global-scale OAE (3f).
  • Clearer communication strategies need to be developed to respond to the “geoengineering” narrative of OAE (3f). 

Filling Governance Gaps

Version published: 

Advancing the development and testing of OAE will require governance structures that both enable the permitting of legitimate testing and development and ensure that the public interests are protected.  

  • There is currently no clear international regime that governs research and development in OAE. The closest regimes would be the London Convention and the London Protocol, but currently they are not built to govern OAE scientific field trials in marine waters[1]Note that the London Convention and London Protocol cover all waters up to the baselines used to measure the territorial sea and the EEZ. In addition, London Protocol Parties have to either apply the Protocol to marine internal waters (i.e., behind the baselines e.g., estuaries) or they have to adopt other effective permitting and regulatory measures for marine internal waters. .
  • Small-scale OAE field trials by “invited Parties and other Governments” with prior environmental impact assessments may be allowed under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)  Section X/33(8)(w). The CBD, however, is not legally binding  and not all countries are party to the CBD (for example, the United States)

Advancing the development and testing of OAE will require governance structures that both enable the permitting of legitimate testing and development and ensure that the public interests are protected.  

  • There is currently no clear international regime that governs research and development in OAE. The closest regimes would be the London Convention and the London Protocol, but currently they are not built to govern OAE scientific field trials in marine waters{{1}}.
  • Small-scale OAE field trials by “invited Parties and other Governments” with prior environmental impact assessments may be allowed under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)  Section X/33(8)(w). The CBD, however, is not legally binding  and not all countries are party to the CBD (for example, the United States)

Advancing the development and testing of OAE will require governance structures that both enable the permitting of legitimate testing and development and ensure that the public interests are protected.  

  • There is currently no clear international regime that governs research and development in OAE. The closest regimes would be the London Convention and the London Protocol, but currently they are not built to govern OAE scientific field trials in marine waters.
  • Small-scale OAE field trials by “invited Parties and other Governments” with prior environmental impact assessments may be allowed under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)  Section X/33(8)(w). The CBD, however, is not legally binding  and not all countries are party to the CBD (for example, the United States)
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