The oceans already absorb roughly a quarter of the excess CO2 produced by humanity. In the process they are getting more acidic. What if that absorption rate could be increased without worsening acidification? The oceans are so vast compared with Earth’s landmass that optimists have long thought even a small uptick in oceanic CO2 absorption could halt anthropogenic climate change. But hard evidence has been lacking, so a former chief technology officer at Meta, Mike Schroepfer, has committed $50 million to finding out what’s possible. The money will be spent on “ocean alkalinity enhancement” experiments that add large amounts of alkaline substances like lime or basalt to seawater. They bind with CO2 already there and lower the oceans’ overall CO2 content, releasing CO2-depleted water to rise to the surface and dissolve more CO2 from the air. It might just work. MIT Technology Review has the scoop.
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