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Although OSPAR does not explicitly refer to CCS, it is generally considered to be applicable to CCS as well. The definition in Article 1 covers the entire “maritime area” including the water column, the surface of the seabed and the seabed. Moreover, placement of CO2 in the water column, on or under the seabed can be considered “dumping” in the meaning of the convention, as it is generally considered “deliberate disposal of waste or other matter”. 318 Whereas Annex I includes an authorisation requirement for pollution from land-based sources, Annex II and III establish a general prohibition of dumping from vessels and from offshore installations. Thus, CCS conducted from land through pipelines would generally be allowed subject to certain conditions. All other types of storage -ocean CO2 storage as well as storage of CO2 on and in the seabed if dumped from offshore installations or vessels- were originally not allowed.

However, the OSPAR Convention was amended in 2007 to allow for certain types of CCS.

Annexes II and III of were amended to make CO2 storage in sub-seabed formations generally permissible under certain conditions. 319 The parties adopted a further decision to guide the International Maritime Organisation, Waste Assessment Guidance: Review of the 2007 CO2 Sequestration Guidelines in the light of the Amendment to Article 6 of the London Protocol, First Revised Draft of the 2007, First revised draft of the 2007 CO2 Sequestration Guidelines, Submitted by the United Kingdom, LC/SG 34/2.

International Maritime Organisation, Report of the Thirty-Third Consultative meeting and the Sixth Meeting of the Contracting Parties, LC 33/15, 21.

Wilson (2003) 3479.

Friedrich (2007) 223.

Friedrich (2007) 224.

See also Amendments of Annex II and Annex III to the Convention in relation to the Storage of Carbon Dioxide Streams in Geological Formations, ANNEX 4 (Ref. §2.10a), OSTEND: 25-29 JUNE 2007. Exceptions to the

general dumping prohibition were included in Annex II and III (Article 3), reading as follows:

Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering authorisation procedures. 320 Moreover, the ‘OSPAR Guidelines for Risk Assessment and Management of Storage of CO2 Streams in Geological Formations’ were adopted to assist the management of CCS. The amendments entered into force and in July 2011 and are in force for eight parties. 321 On the other hand, Ocean CO2 storage in the water column and storage of CO2 on the seabed (not: under the seabed) continue to be prohibited. This has been clarified by another decision of the OSPAR-parties adopted in 2007. 322 In conclusion, ocean CO2 storage (in the water column and on the seabed) is not allowed under the treaties discussed. Sub-seabed CO2 storage is permissible under the LP, but only for LP parties. To date, the LP could be regarded as the most advanced international body in addressing a specific geoengineering technique, through its work and rules on sub-seabed CO2 storage. It is permissible under OSPAR for those parties to which the relevant amendments have entered into force.

5.1.8 Ocean liming

Proposals for enhancing ocean alkalinity, commonly referred to as ocean liming or ocean-based enhanced weathering, suggest adding alkaline minerals or their dissolution products in order to chemically enhance fixing and marine storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide. 323 Current proposals cover a range of alkaline minerals and dissolution products that could be added through direct ocean releases, pipelines to the sea, or indirectly through discharges into river systems draining to the ocean. 324 While liming all of the world’s oceans would appear impractical, and the technique’s effectiveness is estimated as low in large part due to the infeasibility of covering immense ocean volumes, 325 it could nonetheless be of particular „f.

carbon dioxide streams from carbon dioxide capture processes for storage, provided:

i. disposal is into a sub-soil geological formation;

ii. the streams consist overwhelmingly of carbon dioxide. They may contain incidental associated substances derived from the source material and the capture, transport and storage processes used;

iii. no wastes or other matter are added for the purpose of disposing of those wastes or other matter;

iv. they are intended to be retained in these formations permanently and will not lead to significant adverse consequences for the marine environment, human health and other legitimate uses of the maritime area.“ OSPAR Decision 2007/2 on the Storage of Carbon Dioxide Streams in Geological Formations, ANNEX 6 (Ref.


Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, European Union, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands;


OSPAR Decision 2007/1 to Prohibit the Storage of Carbon Dioxide Streams in the Water Column or on the Seabed, available at http://www.ospar.org/ Williamson et al (2012) 28.

Williamson et al (2012) 61.

Williamson et al (2012) 61-62.

Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering benefit in protecting targeted marine areas of high value, such as coral reefs. 326 Ocean liming would have the added positive benefit of decreasing ocean pH and thus offsetting acidification caused by climate change.

Negative impacts to the marine environment and biodiversity may result from local spatial and temporal pH spikes and from extreme alkalinity levels. These impacts are not well understood and may depend on particular technique and application, where rapid dissolution can minimize effects. 327 Discharges through rivers could impact freshwater biodiversity. Liming of acidified lakes and rivers in Norway has resulted in what is considered to be generally ecologically-beneficial impacts; however, this was carried out to restore the pH of rivers to their historic baselines, rather than a new state. 328 Other unknown side-effects in either marine or freshwater environments could stem from the optical, chemical, or potentially toxic effects of the minerals used and from mineral impurities. 329 Deployment of ocean liming would require vast volumes of minerals and mining and processing on a tremendous scale in order to extract these quantities. 330 Mining impacts include degradation of river or groundwater quality, sedimentation, fugitive dust emissions, and terrestrial habitat destruction. Scaled operations could also necessitate high volumes of energy, water, and infrastructure. 331 Another consideration, where using calcium hydroxide produced from limestone, is the release of carbon dioxide emissions from this process. 332 Ocean liming is not directly addressed under current international law regimes. However, the technique may be subject to provisions governing protection of the marine environment and ocean dumping under the LC and LP, UNCLOS, and the OSPAR Convention. Other treaties may apply where transboundary impacts or harm to biodiversity incur, or in specially protected areas.

The LC and LP address marine pollution from dumping of wastes and other matter at sea, covering parties’ jurisdictional waters and activities. 333 Broadly, the LC and LP require Parties to individually and collectively promote the effective control of all sources of marine pollution.

The LC prohibits or requires special permits for dumping of listed wastes, while the LP conversely allows dumping only for listed wastes (on the LC/LP see above on CCS).

Under the LC and LP, dumping is defined as the “disposal of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea.” (LC Article 3(1)(a), LP Article 4(1)). Article 4 of the LC prohibits the dumping of wastes listed in Annex I and requires Victor (2008) 327.

Williamson et al (2012) 61-62; Umweltbundesamt (2011) 28.

Williamson et al (2012) 63, citing Fiellheim A. & Raddum G. (2001). Acidification and liming of River Vikedal, western Norway. A 20 year study of responses in the benthic invertebrate fauna. Water, Air, Soil Pollution, 130, 1379-1384; doi: 10.1023/A:1013971821823.

Rickels et al (2011) 47.

Williamson et al (2012) 61; Rickels et al (2011) 46-47.

UBA (2011) 28; Williamson et al (2012) 61; Royal Society (2009) 14.

Rickels et al (2011) 46.

As of 5 April 2012, there are 87 parties to the London Convention and 40 parties to the London Protocol, see www.londonprotocol.imo.org.

Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering a special or general permit for all other dumped wastes of significant amounts and concern (Article 4). As none of the proposed alkaline substances appear to fall under the list of prohibited wastes in Annex 1, nor meet the criteria for a special permit under Annex II, which generally includes materials with trace amounts of toxic substances, ocean liming would only require a general permit in advance. 334 The LP prohibits dumping as a rule, making exemptions only for wastes listed in Annex I.

Proposed liming substances are not covered by the Annex 1 exemptions. 335 The exemption for “inert, inorganic geological material” (Annex 1, para. 5) would not apply because substances would be added for the purpose of interacting with the marine environment. Neither would the exemption for “organic material of natural origin” (Annex 1, para. 1.6), as carbonates are chemically classified as inorganic and the materials would have presumably been processed prior to addition. 336 Annex 2 sets forth criteria for assessing waste characteristics, and impacts to the environment and human health and where assessments are favourable, a permit for dumping must granted, as would be required for ocean liming. Annex 2 of the LP also requires parties to take measures for waste 337 prevention and reduction, perhaps antithetical in nature to the concept of ocean liming, where alkaline substances would be produced for the sole purpose of dumping.

At the same time, ocean liming is arguably not “dumping” under the LC and LP. It could qualify as “placement” and be exempt from the definition of dumping in accordance with Article 3(1)(b)(2) LC and Article 1 (4.2.2) LP. 338 According to these provisions, the “placement of matter for a purpose other than the mere disposal thereof, provided that such placement is not contrary to the aims of [the Convention / Protocol]”, is expressly exempted and no to be considered dumping (see section 5.1.3). The purpose of ocean liming would be to increase ocean uptake of carbon dioxide and to reduce pH, but not to dispose of materials.

However, the placement could be contrary to the aims of the Convention or the Protocol and therefore not be exempt. The overall aim of the LC and the LP includes protecting and preserving the marine environment from all sources of pollution. 339 On this basis it might be argued that activities that have adverse environmental impacts should not qualify as “placement” and should therefore not be exempt from the LC/LP’s prohibition, even if they are carried out for purposes other than mere disposal. However, we argue that the fact that both instruments explicitly provide for the possibility of an exemption for placement means that this An official determination for treaty applicability to ocean liming has not been made. In the case of ocean fertilisation, a questionnaire of Contracting Parties was inconclusive in determining whether substances would fall under Annex 1 as “industrial waste,” or whether materials fell instead under Annex 2 or 3; “Report of the Legal and Intersessional Correspondence Group on Ocean Fertilization (LICG).” LC 30/4. 25 July 2008.

Available at: http://www.imo.org/blast/blastDataHelper.asp?data_id=30733&filename=4.pdf.See also Ginzky (2010) 64.

Rickels et al (2011) 97.

See Ginzky (2010) 64, discussing similar application for ocean fertilisation materials. See also “Report of the Legal and Intersessional Correspondence Group on Ocean Fertilization (LICG)” supra note 3, noting guidance from the LC/LP Scientific Groups that iron is not an “inert, inorganic geological material.” Wastes are defined as material or substances of any kind, form, or description under LP Article 1(8).

See Ginzky (2010) 64, regarding ocean fertilisation under the LC/LP.

Article 1 LC; Article 2 LP.

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