Problem solving in marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR)

Problem solving in marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR): Identifying important questions and capabilities for studying new human perturbations to the ocean carbon system

A community workshop was held September 27-30, 2022 at URI. A key follow-on from the workshop is the development of a working group focused on mCDR. Working Group members will steer the spin-up of several regional nodes around the US, working in pairs to bring an in-person discussion of an mCDR topic to their region. OCB would sponsor the first meeting of the node, provide a discussion topic for that meeting, and an open online venue to broadcast the results of the discussion. After all regional nodes have met once, the outcomes of the discussions will be compiled into a White Paper of key research guidance for MRV of marine CDR. In addition to this written work, a key deliverable is community-building.  Working Group members would facilitate the connection of scientists with industry representatives, entrepreneurs, foundations, nonprofits and other scientists across disciplines and career stages. We emphasize that the planning and implementation of the nodes will be open-ended, collaborative, and iterative, allowing regional nodes to learn from each other but also tailor their needs to their specific groups.

Background and Justification

Limiting warming to levels that avoid extreme risk (1.5 - 2°C) will require removing multiple gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, on top of immediate and substantial reductions of greenhouse emissions (SR1.5: IPCC, 2018). Two linked OCB activities designed to marshal the ocean biogeochemistry community to set priorities in marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR): a workshop designed to both educate and challenge our colleagues to engage mCDR research and and a working group to begin setting benchmarks for problem-solving. Overall, the aim of the paired workshop and working group is to move beyond calls for more research that identifies unknowns, and transition to solutions-based blueprints and best practices to resolve key issues. One benefit will be a networked international community of practice that can work together to address important interdisciplinary questions in CDR research. Second, this community should go beyond scientific researchers, to include agency and governance voices from the beginning. Ultimately, our research outputs should inform evidence-based decision making, so it will be essential to understand decision points and needs to scale research projects. Including those voices and needs from the outset will help the OCB community accelerate the transition of scientific research to public benefit, an especially important factor given the urgency of this problem.

Read the full proposal.


Jessica Cross (NOAA PMEL)

Lennart Bach (Univ. Tasmania)

Jaime Palter (URI)

Clare Reimers (OSU)

Matt Long (NCAR)

Patrick Rafter (UCI)