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Sustainable Ocean Summit 2017 SESSION SPOTLIGHT

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The International Climate Agreement (Paris 2015) requires negative emission technologies (NETs) to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in order to meet planetary safe limits. NETs need to transfer carbon from the atmosphere to a safe and environmentally sound storage. Developing and implementing NETs are critical to all industries with a carbon footprint who already or will in the near future have a price on their carbon output.

Although there is much attention to potential land based NETs, there is growing evidence that the ocean is the dominant player in global carbon cycling and storage and in the planet’s temperature regulation. This means that ocean-based NETs must be given serious consideration for their potential to make a significant contribution to climate mitigation.

Chemical and biological Ocean NETs are being explored, including : ocean alkalinity shifts (introducing bicarbonates), direct CO2 injection (seabed and water column), growing seaweed for deep ocean deposition, expansion of coastal ecosystems that store carbon, adjusting ocean primary productivity (e.g. artificial upwelling, addition of macronutrients nitrogen and/or phosphorus, addition of trace elements such as iron and silicon, enhanced light penetration, promoting the growth of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria).

Researchers, private enterprises and public bodies exploring Ocean NETs coordination could benefit from a structure and process to enhance coordination and exchange. The World Ocean Council (WOC) is working to address this by developing a global Ocean NET platform to bring together science, policy, business and other interests.

The SOS 2017 session on “Ocean NETs : CO2 Sequestration Via Ocean-Based Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs)” will address :
• What are the requirements of the International Climate Agreement (Paris 2015) for negative emission technologies (NET’s) to remove atmospheric CO2 to meet planetary safe limits for global temperatures ?
• What are the potential ocean-based NETs, what science is available on them and what are the risks and benefits of Ocean NETs ?
• What is needed to advance careful, science-based consideration of Ocean NETs as a potentially viable, important means to address increasing atmospheric CO2 ?

The SOS 2017 session will focus on tangible goals that can assist in advancing the evaluation of Ocean NETs, e.g. determining the potential impact and status of Ocean NETs ; identifying research gaps and unknowns ; reviewing the cost of implementation of Ocean NETs ; reviewing the legal framework for Ocean NETs ; exploring the conceptual design of a future multipurpose Ocean NET station for capturing CO2, producing food, generating power, and interacting with other ocean users. With a cluster of innovative ocean technologies there is significantly more potential to build commercially viable ocean enterprises that help ensure that innovative NET solutions combine the very best ocean technologies and skills in multi-functional marine technology sites housing and enabling Ocean NETs.

To better understand the opportunities and challenges of Ocean NETs, experts and representatives from the ocean business community and other stakeholders are invited to get engaged as speakers or participants in the SOS 2017 session on this critical issue by contacting the WOC at info@oceancouncil.org.