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NOAA Carbon Dioxide Removal Research

Frontiers in Climate Science

Climate change already affects every part of the globe, with potentially dire consequences for many ecosystems and human communities. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to global action to meet climate goals and build resilient communities, economies and ecosystems. Reducing human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, is the most important strategy for addressing the impacts of climate change, and the most feasible given current technology. But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report shows that emission reductions alone won’t be sufficient to avoid catastrophic impacts of rapid global warming.

Researchers are exploring the potential for removing the carbon dioxide that has already accumulated in the atmosphere and sequestering it in long-term reservoirs underground or in the ocean.

NOAA was created more than 50 years ago to study linkages between the ocean and atmosphere, including weather and climate. NOAA’s global observational network and established research programs position agency scientists to evaluate the impact, effectiveness, feasibility, and risk of many carbon dioxide removal (CDR) techniques. NOAA’s emphasis on big-picture, long-term monitoring and its research capabilities are ideally suited to understand, evaluate, and verify public and private entities’ exploration of CDR efforts and their potential for success. Assessing the effectiveness of CDR approaches is directly related to NOAA’s mission.

NOAA has summarized some of the current science on this topic in a new report that outlines the agency’s potential role in researching the feasibility and potential impacts of carbon dioxide removal, as an element of NOAA’s Climate Mitigation Portfolio.

In November of 2020, the Senior Research Council of the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) charged the Carbon Dioxide Removal Task Team with devising a portfolio of CDR strategic research needs in support of a broader climate recovery strategy. The task team is an interdisciplinary group with relevant expertise in climate and carbon, coastal and open ocean science, aquaculture development, and ocean conservation.

Read the white paper here.
Read the key messages here.

Public Comments
The full list of responses submitted to the request for public comments on a draft research strategy documenting a Potential NOAA Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Science Strategy as an element of NOAA’s Climate Mitigation Portfolio are below, along with a summary of the responses and actions.