Marine Geoengineering- A tool to mitigate climate change?

Project: Private Foundations

Project Details


Every Friday, school children take to the streets to claim their right for a climate-safe future. Reaching this goal is possible but will require urgent, collective action. To limit global warming to 1.5ºC CO2, emissions must drop 45% by 2030 and reach net zero around 2050. About a quarter of the CO2 emitted by humans ends in the Ocean, either by chemical dissolution or via biological carbon fixation. The first pathway causes the water to become more acidic, thus massively disturbing the environment on which plankton, corals, fish, and ultimately, we depend on. To prevent Ocean acidification, to protect marine biodiversity, and to enhance CO2 uptake from the atmosphere, climate models suggest adding minerals that naturally adsorb CO2, or alkaline substrates that counteract Ocean acidification. Our understanding of how effective these initiatives are and if they would cause unwanted side effects is, however, largely unknown and has not been tested in field studies, which I propose to systematically do. In particular, the impact of geoengineering approaches on biological CO2 removal from the atmosphere, as well as on natural biodiversity has not been assessed but it is needed before applying mineral additions on a large scale.
My passion is to explore the co-development of life and climate, how these two interacted to shape our planet and how both will interact in the future. I studied marine molecular ecology and biogeochemistry and followed my interest in microbial responses to climate change in my PhD. This set the direction for my career and gave the momentum to acquire funding for my own projects on climate feedbacks moderated by microbes, Ocean deoxygenation, and acidification. Based on my background and motivated by the urgency to identify strategies to combat climate change, I propose a plan to systematically test the applicability of Ocean alkalinity enhancement and silicate mineral addition as tools to prevent Ocean acidification, protect marine biodiversity, and enhance Ocean CO2 uptake. This project will benefit from my interdisciplinary training, my expertise in designing largescale studies, my demonstrated record in leadership, the highly developed research structure at my institute, and from national and international collaborations. Supported by Villum, my group will establish a new set-up for developing and testing geoengineering approaches for climate change mitigation, a field that will become increasingly required in the future.
Effective start/end date01/07/202030/06/2025