A highlight from To Fight Climate Change: Grow a Floating Forest, Then Sink It

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A fast-growing front in the battle against climate change is focused on developing green technologies aimed at reducing humankind's carbon footprint. The many scientists say simply reducing emissions is no longer enough. We have to find new ways to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. A main startup is looking to raise a syncopal carbon capturing forest in the open ocean. I'm teresa kerry and this is scientific americans sixty seconds science is takes will be full of little baby oysters the size of a a piece wa Vote right now. They're still in the larval stage. Adam basques strolls through a warehouse on the coast of harps balmain surrounding him trays of oysters with water. Circulating between them in small tubes in another room stands rows of eight foot tall tanks of algae growing at different stages. The algae will be food for the oysters. If you've never seen a shellfish hatchery. This one looks pretty typical. But it's not this year they're planning to harvest something new atmospheric carbon. His company called running tied technologies plans to grow vast seaweed in drifting ocean mini farms farm. The company plans to sink to the bottom of the ocean so this is basically taking the the emissions of our fossil fuel burning locking them backup into the structure of the kelp and sending it back to the bottom of the ocean where it's at least locked up for hundreds to thousands of years because of the great pressure and the slow movement of the water in the deep ocean kelp like other plants use photosynthesis to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Colette fee a marine ecologist montclair state university. Who does not work with. Running tied technologies says. That kelp is a no brainer. When it comes to carbon sequestration the productivity of kelp forests has been found to be comparable to tropical rainforests meaning that they put on a great deal of biomass and that biomass is is stored carbon. So they're taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it in their tissues. It can do this because it grows fast about a foot per month. It also quickly sinks to the sea floor. Once they're it degrades very slowly trees on the other hand store carbon but ultimately release it back to the atmosphere when they die and decompose kelp can stay effectively buried on the sea floor. It's carbon entombed by the crushing pressure and lack of oxygen for hundreds maybe thousands of years certainly as a climate change mitigation strategy. There's there's Mounting evidence that this is a is a good approach. These forest aren't taking up land that would otherwise be used for agriculture or housing so There's really there's really no negative side to growing help for us. How it works. Is that running. Tied technologies hangs kelp mini farm tube from a great buoy which they set adrift in the ocean currents over several months the kelp absorbs carbon growing longer and heavier until it sinks to the bottom taking the stored carbon with it. There's still experimenting with the buoy material. Trying out glass cellulose and other materials bask is running technologies head of business development. He says that the project is still in. Its early stages with about sixteen hundred. Booties this year. They're focused on assessing the project's impact looking for problems like waylon and evaluating the feasibility with sensors and trackers in the future. they're aiming for millions of micro-farms sponging up billions of tons of carbon. Which they plan to sell in the carbon offset market. Some of the biggest companies in the world already net zero commitments are hungry for a permanent verify -able carbon offsets and doesn't mean they have net zero emissions offsetting emissions while they're also reducing their emissions chiappa fi in e commerce company for online stores will be one of the first companies to buy carbon offsets from running tied technologies. This can be one of the many solutions. We need to employ have a chance in this fight. You know we need to mobilize troops foot for for this war. And if we don't build the infrastructure and the knowledge base to give us a fighting chance then we might as well give up now. Running tied technologies is drawing from the strong fishing tradition on the maine coast and casting net for carbon think. Very few people on the planet have an appreciation for the scale of our oceans. And you know. Seventy percent of our planet is just such an incomprehensible number. I think for a lot of people and the opportunity to kind of put that surface area To work in helping us solve. Like the biggest challenge facing humanity. I i can't think of a more inspiring motivating mission. Thanks for listening. For scientific americans sixty seconds science and

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