While this year’s United Nations Marrakech Climate Change Conference was taking place in Morocco, strategic planning to combat climate change was also happening across the pond in the U.S. On November 16, the outgoing administration released the United States Mid-Century Strategy For Deep Decarbonization. Developed with input from stakeholders and in collaboration with Canada, Mexico, and other nations developing similar strategies, this plan explains potential pathways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least eighty percent by 2050. In addition to the changes already occurring on our planet, such as ocean warming and sea-level rise, the plan warns of the likely consequences of surpassing the tipping point of irreversible climate changes that will lead to “catastrophic consequences” for society, which include changes in ocean currents, rapid melting of the Antarctic ice sheet, and mass extinctions.
Several carbon dioxide removal technologies to achieve “deep economy-wide net GHG emissions reductions” are presented in the 100-page document. One suggestion is the technique of accelerated rock weathering. This consists of the dissolution or “finely crushing” of minerals to then be scattered in the open ocean, which would allow for the deep ocean to store the carbon that was released from the crushing, thereby taking it out of the atmosphere. The plan also poses research and development opportunities in marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies that harness clean energy from the ocean and rivers, such as determining ways to bring down the costs of the technology and solving issues regarding safely deploying and setting up instruments in the marine environment.