Ocean negative emission technologies- a solution to climate change?

From 10/2/2021

By Carolin Löscher

Every Friday, schoolchildren take to the streets to claim their right for a climate-safe future. Reaching this goal is possible but will require urgent, collective action. To limit global warming to 1.5ºC CO2, emissions must drop 45% by 2030 and reach net zero around 2050. About a quarter of the CO2 emitted by humans ends in the Ocean, either by chemical dissolution or via biological carbon fixation. The first pathway causes the water to become more acidic, thus massively disturbing the environment on which plankton, corals, fish, and ultimately, we depend on. To prevent Ocean acidification, to protect marine biodiversity, and to enhance CO2 uptake from the atmosphere, climate models suggest adding minerals that naturally adsorb CO2 or alkaline substrates that counteract Ocean acidification. How effective this so-called ocean alkalinity enhancement is and if it would cause unwanted side effects is, however, largely unknown and has not been tested in field studies. To systematically investigate the impact of such approaches on CO2 removal from the atmosphere, as well as on natural biodiversity is the aim of my Villum Young Investigator Group. I will introduce the concept of ocean alkalinity enhancement, our strategy and first results in this DIAS lecture. About Carolin Löscher Dr. Carolin Löscher studied biology and marine sciences in Berlin, Kiel and Bremen, and obtained a Dr. rer nat. title from the University of Kiel. She spent several years at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research- GEOMAR, to study the Ocean’s nitrogen and carbon cycles using molecular, biogeochemical and model-based approaches, and organized several research cruises