This protocol, intended for use in the Voluntary Carbon Market, details a high-level framework for the quantification of the net carbon removed using a multi-pathway carbon removal system. Specifically, this protocol describes the combined chemical and biological interventions of three naturally occurring carbon removal pathways: terrestrial biomass growth and sinking, ocean biomass growth and sinking, and ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE). The intention of this protocol is to provide maximum transparency into the system that combines these carbon removal pathways, the approach to accurately quantifying the carbon that is removed through these pathways, and the foundational science that informs the use of these pathways to transfer carbon from the fast to the slow cycle.
Critically, this protocol is not intended to detail the exact processes a carbon removal intervention in the ocean must follow, but rather provides a framework to ensure that the correct components of quantification are effectively considered and accounted for, and that the work is done responsibly and in line with the best available science.
Additional technical details required for evaluating outcomes — models used and applied, sampling protocols followed, correlation between in-situ measurements and modeled outcomes, specific discount rates, and more — are reported via separate intervention-specific documentation that adheres to the system-level processes described in this framework. It is expected that this protocol will continue to evolve as additional data are collected, research is conducted, and uncertainty is reduced.
The approach detailed in this protocol is based on natural pathways, both organic and inorganic, through which the ocean durably stores carbon. The explicit goal of the carbon removal system outlined in this protocol is to improve ocean health and reverse the degradation and collapse of ecosystems caused by the anthropogenic emission of slow carbon in the form of CO₂.
This protocol has been reviewed by Deloitte in accordance with ISO 14064-2:2019.