Should we fertilize oceans or seed clouds? No one knows

Boyd and Vivian 2019


Gather scientific evidence on the feasibility and risks of marine geoengineering to guide regulation of research, advise Philip Boyd and Chris Vivian.

The climate clock is ticking. To turn it back, the world is putting its faith in ‘negative-emissions technologies’. These would suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and lock it up for centuries on the land, in the sea or beneath the sea floor (see ‘Marine geoengineering’). Although such technologies are yet to be developed, they are nonetheless implicit in assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

To limit warming to 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels, as much as 20 billion tonnes (gigatonnes) of CO2 might need to be removed from the atmosphere each year until 2100 (ref 1).

Reference: Boyd, P. and Vivian, C. (2019). Should we fertilize oceans or seed clouds? No one knows. Nature 570, 155-157. https://doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01790-7

Read and download the publication

Go back