To combat climate change, proposals have been made to develop methods that would pull carbon dioxide out of Earth’s atmosphere. One recommended approach is to remove CO2 from the atmosphere with activities such as reforestation and changing forest management and agricultural practices to enhance soil carbon storage. However, it is also noted that such activities would limit land for food production and negatively affect biodiversity. Furthermore, decay of dead wood and fallen leaves in natural forests releases huge quantities of CO2 and other greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere. The only other carbon-sequestration technique that is widely considered is the application of CO2 capture processes to flue gases of power plants, which are responsible for about 80% of the worldwide CO2 emission from large stationary sources. Hydrate-based processing is a promising technology for CO2 capture as it results in high CO2 recovery, but its high cost prevents this technology having much impact. In this note I suggest that the ability of marine organisms (shellfish and coccolithophore algae) to remove permanently CO2 from the atmosphere into solid (crystalline) CaCO3 should be harnessed. I suggest that if the level of finance and effort that are readily anticipated for forest management and flue gas treatments were to be applied to expansion of shellfish cultivation around the world, significant amounts of carbon dioxide could be permanently removed from the atmosphere within the timescale that is currently envisaged for carbon capture by afforestation.

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