Research Topic

The Role of Ocean-based Negative Emission Technologies for Climate Mitigation

About this Research Topic

Keeping global warming well below 2°C will require an almost complete decarbonization of the global economy by the 2050s. This in itself is a herculean effort, but the challenge is even greater: in addition to phasing out fossil fuels, hundreds of gigatons of CO2 must be pulled out of the atmosphere and permanently stored in safe reservoirs. To achieve this, many “carbon dioxide removal” or “negative emission technologies (NETS)” have been proposed; however, it is currently unclear which NETs could be operated cost-effectively and in a sustainable way.

While early NET research has focused predominantly on terrestrial-based NETs, ocean-based NETs (ONETs) are gaining increasing attention. ONETs comprise methods to enhance natural oceanic CO2 sinks (e.g., ocean fertilization) or engineered isolation of CO2 with subsequent storage in some reservoir, e.g., the deep ocean or under the seafloor. ONETs may have significant co-benefits and/or risks for the Earth system and human societies. These must be identified and evaluated before applications can start. Furthermore, their application will inevitably have major costs and logistical issues as well as ethical, legal, and political challenges.

Here, we initiate the first article collection on theoretical, environmental, economic, legal, governmental, and ethical aspects of ocean-based negative emission technologies for climate mitigation. Our multidisciplinary collection aims to initiate and catalyze a new branch in marine research that will help to guide post-Paris climate policy and will therefore be vital for the Earth’s future.

As such, this Research Topic will focus on a variety of technologies and methodologies including, but not limited to:

 • Ocean alkalinity enhancement
 • Blue carbon sink enhancement
 • Macroalgae mariculture for carbon removal methodologies (e.g., utilizing the biomass to create bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, BECCS, or for biochar)
 • Ocean fertilization
 • Direct removal of CO2 from seawater (with storage)
 • Artificial upwelling or downwelling
 • Biochar additions to marine environments


Keywords: feasibility, costs, risks, co-benefits, CO2 removal, climate mitigation, sustainability, negative emissions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Keeping global warming well below 2°C will require an almost complete decarbonization of the global economy by the 2050s. This in itself is a herculean effort, but the challenge is even greater: in addition to phasing out fossil fuels, hundreds of gigatons of CO2 must be pulled out of the atmosphere and permanently stored in safe reservoirs. To achieve this, many “carbon dioxide removal” or “negative emission technologies (NETS)” have been proposed; however, it is currently unclear which NETs could be operated cost-effectively and in a sustainable way.

While early NET research has focused predominantly on terrestrial-based NETs, ocean-based NETs (ONETs) are gaining increasing attention. ONETs comprise methods to enhance natural oceanic CO2 sinks (e.g., ocean fertilization) or engineered isolation of CO2 with subsequent storage in some reservoir, e.g., the deep ocean or under the seafloor. ONETs may have significant co-benefits and/or risks for the Earth system and human societies. These must be identified and evaluated before applications can start. Furthermore, their application will inevitably have major costs and logistical issues as well as ethical, legal, and political challenges.

Here, we initiate the first article collection on theoretical, environmental, economic, legal, governmental, and ethical aspects of ocean-based negative emission technologies for climate mitigation. Our multidisciplinary collection aims to initiate and catalyze a new branch in marine research that will help to guide post-Paris climate policy and will therefore be vital for the Earth’s future.

As such, this Research Topic will focus on a variety of technologies and methodologies including, but not limited to:

 • Ocean alkalinity enhancement
 • Blue carbon sink enhancement
 • Macroalgae mariculture for carbon removal methodologies (e.g., utilizing the biomass to create bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, BECCS, or for biochar)
 • Ocean fertilization
 • Direct removal of CO2 from seawater (with storage)
 • Artificial upwelling or downwelling
 • Biochar additions to marine environments


Keywords: feasibility, costs, risks, co-benefits, CO2 removal, climate mitigation, sustainability, negative emissions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

26 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

26 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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