Giving Compass' Take:

• Studies show that seaweed farming could potentially help mitigate the effects of climate change, by sequestering carbon emissions and storing it deep in the ocean. 

• How can you support seaweed agriculture and other ocean farming that could curb the effects of climate change?

Read about an organization looking to restore ocean farming to address climate change.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), addressing carbon emissions from our food sector is absolutely essential to fight climate change. While land and agriculture took center stage in the panel’s most recent report, how the oceans at large could help in that fight was largely missing.

For their study, researchers investigated the carbon offsetting potential of seaweed aquaculture.

“It’s not a silver bullet, nor an industry that exists yet,” says Halley Froehlich, an assistant professor in the environmental studies and marine biology department at the University of California, Santa Barbara and lead author of a paper in Current Biology. “But it has huge potential.”

Seaweed aquaculture could indeed be a powerful new way to sequester carbon, say researchers who synthesized diverse datasets from scientific literature. The process would involve cultivating seaweed and harvesting it for the purpose of sinking the algae in the deeper ocean, where the carbon stored in its tissues would remain “buried.”

“We really wanted to know if it could be beneficial, but also be realistic about its potential,” Froehlich says of the research, which she and colleagues bounded with constraints including nutrients, temperature, and geographic suitability.
Greenhouse gas-mitigating seaweed farming could have the most potential when it comes to achieving local and regional carbon neutrality goals, the study finds.

The US, meanwhile, is the world’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, Froehlich points out, underscoring the need for solutions such as seaweed farming to mitigate the millions of tons of carbon dioxide equivalents the country emits per year. Fortunately, seaweed farming has other appealing and beneficial environmental effects, she notes.

Read the full article about seaweed farming by Sonia Fernandez at Futurity.