Human activities have profoundly altered the Earth's global carbon cycle. These alterations are linked to globally rising temperatures, increases in severe weather events, and an ever-shifting and currently unpredictable pattern of droughts, floods, famine, and disease. Transitioning away from fossil fuel use and finding viable alternatives will be difficult, costly, and lengthy. We are now faced with a scientific and societal challenge of daunting proportions - determining if and how humans can "manage" the global cycle of one of the Earth's key elements. One strategy being investigated is to enhance the ocean's natural capacity to absorb and store atmospheric CO2, either by inducing and enhancing the growth of carbon-fixing plants in the surface ocean, or by speeding up the natural, surface-to-deep water transfer of dissolved CO2 by directly injecting it into the deep ocean. Determination of the feasibility, efficiency, and environmental consequences of this process involves significant technological, economic, legal and scientific investigation. UNESCO's IOC has been requested to monitor developments in ocean CO2 sequestration and maintain a watching brief of the environmental and science implications.
Contact: Maria Hood, Programme Specialist, SC/IOC
More Information: www.ocean-acidification.net