South Korean Seaweed Farms - NASA image

Ocean Stored Carbon

Measuring the net carbon removal of natural ocean projects

What is the Ocean Stored Carbon (OSC) Protocol?

We created a protocol with a financial metric for carbon storage through ocean-based removal activities with Nature-Based Solutions. The metric has been developed with the help of the WWF INNO-fonds, entrepreneurs and other nature organizations  We can now calculate how much carbon is removed by increasing/supporting natural ocean systems.

Why this OSC Protocol?

To reverse climate change, humanity needs to reduce emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. Oceans exchange CO2 quickly, so removal from oceans is just as effective. Oceans exchange CO2 rapidly and thus have a vast potential for carbon storage. An added bonus: blue carbon, or ocean-based carbon removal does not compete for land. What’s more, removing CO2 from oceans reduces ocean acidification (CO2 is carbonic acid, after all).

Effective removal starts with calculating and measuring the amounts of blue carbon removed–this is what the OSC metric addresses. Based on this protocol, the carbon removal of OSC projects can be calculated, enabling entrepreneurs to quantify and monetise the carbon they remove.

What are Nature-Based Solutions?

Nature-Based Solutions are “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural ecosystems and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously benefiting people and nature” (IUCN, 2016).

Where do these activities take place?

Nature-Based removal activities can take place in the ocean, including marine coastal regions, and extract CO2 directly from the atmosphere or from seawater, thus indirectly leading to a reduction in atmospheric CO2. For example, the restoration or conservation of mangroves, seagrasses or seaweed ecosystems are examples of nature-based solutions.

Who is this OSC protocol for?

This Certification Protocol describes the criteria to be met by operators or groups of operators of Ocean-Stored Carbon (OSC) projects, should they wish to receive Open Natural Carbon Removal Accounting (ONCRA) certification. The protocol includes the general requirements for projects and operators, the quantification used to determine the amount of biogenic carbon stored in projects (OSC metric), and the reporting and verification requirements. 

Who funded this work and why?

The metric is funded by our network of ambassadors at the Climate Cleanup Foundation with the support of the INNO-fonds (WWF). Our systemic goal for making this metric is to enable investors to assess the amount of carbon projects store, be able to put monetary value on the storing of carbon for the remover, provide transition finance for these activities in an effective, fair and transparent way to help overcome struggle for these activities and move the ecosystem into a green and blue economy. 

Ocean Stored Carbon protocol