8. Appendix - Running Tide Governance Principles

Running Tide has developed a staged governance framework, applicable from initial research through scaled operations, that can inform our work alongside the industry-wide codes of conduct that are in development from the American Geophysical Union, Climateworks Foundation, The Aspen Institute, and others. These principles, summarized in our publicly available, peer-reviewed Framework Protocol, provide a guide by which to demonstrate project maturity and ethical decision making.

While these standards continue to be developed and codified at the industry-level, organizations conducting interventions in the ocean must be clear about the principles that inform their decision-making. These principles must be demonstrable in practice and aligned with standards for responsible conduct (as determined by diverse stakeholders across the industry), which can serve as a gating mechanism towards subsequent phases of research or operations. Smaller scale, low-risk research and deployment activities can be utilized to efficiently develop, test, refine, and operationalize effective governance structures that are designed for real-world application. This will ensure the creation of practical and actionable standards that mitigate risks and ensure compliance without delaying critical research.

For Running Tide, these principles include the following:

  • Science and research: Is the project based on foundational science? Has the project identified key research questions and developed plans to address them?

  • Environmental and ecological: Has the project effectively considered the potential environmental and ecological impacts of planned activities, both positive and negative?

  • Legal and regulatory: Does the project have clear permission to operate and an understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks that impact the proposed activities?

  • Technical: Do those conducting the project activity possess the technical capacity to understand project impacts, and effectively monitor and measure results?

  • Social, community, and equity: Have those conducting the project worked with all relevant local and community stakeholders to educate, engage, and garner feedback on plans and research?

  • External verification and oversight: Have those conducting the project ensured that independent expert parties can effectively review and validate the project work, approach, and results?

  • Internal organizational structure: Do those conducting the project have organizational checks and balances in place to ensure decisions are science-based and responsibly agreed upon?

  • Information sharing and transparency: Has the project demonstrated the necessary level of transparency around processes, plans, and results such that reviewers and the public can effectively evaluate the proposed system?

Compliance in these areas may be demonstrated via a number of pathways, including but not limited to publicly available educational materials (i.e., white papers, research roadmaps, and project-specific experimental plans), defined oversight processes (i.e., consultation with an independent scientific advisory board, independent and documented reviews of work against defined standards such as ISO by accredited auditors), and records of project-specific documentation (i.e., permitting, stakeholder consultation records, and pre-and post environmental evaluations).

Failure to meet applicable standards in any individual category risks social license and trust, and may prevent the project from proceeding as planned.

Specific to regulatory oversight, clear permitting and permission to operate at the relevant local, state, federal, tribal, and international levels must be demonstrated prior to planned deployments, including alignment with any current or future national or subnational compliance carbon programs within proposed operational locations.

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