Overline: Online workshop
Headline: Governance of ocean-based negative emission technologies

Figure 1: A range of ocean-based negative emissions technologies have been proposed for atmospheric carbon dioxide removal. Source: https://www.oceannets.eu , Artwork: Rita Erven, GEOMAR

Date: 5 May 2022  
Time: 14:00 – 17:30 CEST / 8:00 – 11:30 EDT
Organiser: Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam, Germany


Pathways published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the timely achievement of climate targets set under the Paris Agreement, especially the 1.5°C goal, demonstrate a potential need to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the future and create so-called ‘negative emissions’. A range of technological options that aim to enhance the natural function of the earth’s ecosystems to sequester and store additional carbon has been proposed for the purpose of carbon dioxide removal, including through ocean-based negative emissions technologies (“NETs”).

Within the EU-H2020 OceanNETs project, researchers aim to determine to what extent, and under what conditions, ocean-based NETs (see Figure 1) could contribute to achieving climate targets and stay within the limits set by the Paris Agreement. The research of Task 2.2 of OceanNETs in particular addresses the ocean-related governance dimension of these technologies. The aim is to identify how ocean-based NETs fit into the current global ocean governance framework, what should be considered for the good governance of the deployment of such technologies in the ocean, and to develop future governance scenarios.

Aim of this online workshop

Research undertaken on the global ocean governance framework relevant to ocean-based NETs has identified a range of governance challenges. These include challenges linked to the transboundary nature of the ocean, potential effects of ocean-based NETs on the ocean’s condition and thereby induced side-effects on ecosystem function and services, as well as the many unknowns and uncertainties linked to NET-deployment e.g., under the future effects of climate change. The fragmented approaches and frameworks in place to govern the global ocean further complicate comprehensive governance of these emerging technologies.

In this workshop, we want to present the identified governance challenges for ocean-based NETs and, together with workshop participants, explore how ocean-based NETs should be governed to best integrate international climate targets as well as global goals for ocean and biodiversity conservation, in addition to socio-economic ambitions towards sustainable development. Governance expertise on the ocean, marine ecosystem services, ecosystem-based management, emerging issues, NETs, geoengineering as well as expertise on policy and decision-making are gathered in the workshop to discuss this complex and emerging topic from different perspectives. The results of the workshop will contribute to the overall research within the OceanNETs project and specifically inform the production of a policy brief intended to reach European policy makers and beyond. A follow-up workshop to develop future governance scenarios of ocean-based NETs is planned for 2023.