Negative carbon emissions are considered to be a promising approach to the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2.0°C or perhaps even 1.5°C by the end of this century. The ocean has a large capacity to sequester carbon and has absorbed approximately 25% of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel combustion and cement production since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Increasing ocean carbon sinks by anthropogenic processes (or ocean negative carbon emissions, ONCE) has the potential to contribute to carbon neutrality if the mechanisms and processes involved are properly understood. Built upon a series of coordinated international research activities and the expert working groups supported by organizations including PICES, ICES and SCOR, the ONCE program has evolved into an international network of projects and experts to coordinate research effort in different aspects on ocean-based solutions for climate mitigation.
The next 10 years are key for climate actions, and securing mitigation and adaptation to climate change is an urgent requirement. The ocean has the potential to store globally significant amount of CO2 but approaches to enhance carbon sequestration require development and evaluation. To do so, the objective of ONCE program is to provide data, knowledge and best practice to enable society to develop mitigation and adaptation approaches to climate change. ONCE program also aims to contribute to several Ocean Decade Challenges including Challenge 2: Protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity, Challenge 5: Unlock ocean-based solutions to climate change and Challenge 10: Change humanity's relationship with the ocean.
ONCE program will develop an international network of instrumented marine field stations and research facilities; co-design and carry out interdisciplinary collaborative research; develop an evaluation framework for mitigation and adaptation approaches, and co-ordinate capacity building and facilitate equitable policy, governance and societal understanding. ONCE program will promote equitable ocean governance of adaptation and mitigation approaches, through enhanced interaction with local, regional and global industries, decision makers and legislators.
(Edited by Xinyu Chen)