Fri, November 5, 2021 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM PDT

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In the ensuing years after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, it has become increasingly obvious that achievement of its temperature objectives will require both aggressive emissions reductions initiatives and large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal/negative emissions technologies to either avoid passing critical climatic thresholds. While much of the early research of carbon dioxide removal options focused on terrestrial approaches, there has been increasing attention to the potential role of the world’s oceans given both sustainability considerations and the fact that oceans already serve as a huge carbon sink with much additional potential for storing carbon.

However, research in this context, as well as potential large-scale deployment of such options, also pose potentially substantial risks to marine environments. Moreover, there is likely to be substantial public backlash to research absent the existence of a sound regulatory framework for risk assessment, monitoring, and public deliberation.

This presentation will include the potential risks and benefits presented by difference ocean-based geoengineering options. It will also include a discussion of regulatory efforts to date by international treaty regimes, and other potentially pertinent regimes, including those with a marine regulatory focus, as well as the potential role of the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement. The overarching thesis will be that anticipatory governance could both optimize facilitation of research and minimize risks


  • Professor Wil Burns, Environmental Policy & Climate Program, Northwestern University
  • Romany Webb, Senior Fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University