NET News Issue 5: Editorial
The carbon stocks present in the oceans exceed those in the terrestrial pool by a factor of 15 (accounting for vegetation and soils to ca. 2 m depth) and those in the atmosphere by a factor approaching 50, and the oceans have been an important ally in mitigating climate change, absorbing roughly a third of our carbon emissions over the last two centuries; indeed they will be the ultimate sink of all of our emissions, on a geological timescale, as a result of processes such as rock weathering.
It seems unlikely that the full potential of negative emissions technologies can be achieved without a major ocean based contribution, so it was unfortunate that ocean based methods were not within the scope of the 2019 US National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) study that developed a research agenda for NETs. Nevertheless, recent announcements of a number of projects and other initiatives point to increased attention being given to ocean based methods. These include;
• The EU Horizon 2020 OceanNets project reported in NET News Issue 04, that will assess the feasibility, risks, and co-benefits of ocean-based NETS
• The Ocean Visions CDR Task Force, designing and deploying roadmaps for ocean solutions that integrate innovations from science, technology, governance, and finance
• The OceanCDR platform for knowledge exchange on all things related to ocean CDR (see this issue, page 5), and
• The launch of the Ocean-Climate Alliance, bringing together scientists and innovators to bring a comprehensive ocean-climate restoration agenda to the forefront of ocean and climate action, as well as entrepreneurs and investors to support its development.
We also understand that a follow-up NASEM study, to develop a research agenda for a number of ocean based NETs, has been commissioned by the ClimateWorks Ocean CDR Fund, and we look forward to reporting the outcome of that study in mid-2021.
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