Biden administration to research ocean carbon removal

By Corbin Hiar | 02/26/2024 07:00 AM EST

Federal scientists want to study the benefits and risks of using marine ecosystems to absorb more climate pollution from the sky.

A child looks at the ocean in Vero Beach, Florida.

Federal researchers are studying how to use oceans to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Gerald Herbert/AP

The Biden administration is ramping up research related to increasing the carbon-absorbing capacity of the seas — a potential climate solution that could reverberate across ocean ecosystems and coastal communities.

The National Science Foundation on Thursday took the first step to establish a federal research program for marine carbon dioxide removal, or CDR.

“The ocean is one of the largest natural reservoirs of carbon on Earth. It already removes much of the carbon dioxide that people produce, and it may have the potential to do much more,” the agency said in a Federal Register notice. “It may be possible through marine CDR approaches to safely enhance the natural capacity of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide through a variety of physical, geochemical, and biological processes.”
Federal Register notice
Federal Register


The research comes as the Energy Department is pouring billions of dollars into developing direct air capture hubs that would suck carbon out of the sky, while providing millions more to test other land-based carbon removal methods. The agency has held off on funding ocean carbon removal pilot projects but signaled that it plans to do so soon.
developing direct air capture hubs
other land-based carbon removal methods