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Research

Carbon Removal

My interest in carbon removal began during a climate and energy course I took at UC Berkeley. I learned about forms of climate engineering, including carbon removal and solar radiation management, as methods of reducing the coming impacts of global warming. I cultivated a passion for carbon removal as a solution that addresses the direct root of our issue: anthropogenic carbon dioxide in Earth's ocean and atmosphere. I furthered my research on various forms of carbon removal via:

  • Creating and teaching a class at UC Berkeley on Climate Geoengineering

    • My syllabus and curriculum covered topics including: [CDR:] direct air capture, bioenergy carbon capture and storage, enhanced weathering, mineralization, ocean iron seeding (ocean fertilization/alkalinization); and [SRM:] marine cloud seeding, sulfur aerosol injections, space panels. 

    • ​Also covered ethics behind climate engineering, global climate policy and governance structures, economic structures for carbon removal (carbon markets; trading schemes), ​and about political conflict behind climate change, including increases in displacements, formation of climate refugees, and human rights issues.

  • Capstone Research Project on Swiss Direct Air Capture Technology

    • I evaluated Swiss solid-sorbent direct air capture technology exemplified through the Climeworks technology. I discussed how DAC usage in tandem with in situ mineralization of carbon dioxide in basalt aquifers could accomplish a permanent removal and storage of carbon dioxide (like the CarbFix project in Iceland).

    • I reviewed existing climate policies and structures that direct air capture technology could be regulated under, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Paris Agreement nationally-determined contributions; provisions from the Kyoto Protocol); the Convention on Biological Diversity; Convention on the Law of the Sea; and the US Clean Air Act.  

  • Research Fellowship with the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University 

    • At ICRLP, I study both nature-based and technological solutions for carbon removal. These include: reforestation, afforestation, bioenergy carbon capture and storage, coastal blue carbon systems, enhanced weathering, soil carbon sequestration, biochar, direct air capture, and ocean fertilization. 

    • I have contributed research on direct air capture financing and carbon dioxide transport via pipeline development to a white paper designed for US federal policymakers. In addition, I have conducted research on in situ mineralization of carbon dioxide into a carbonate form via injection into basalt aquifers. 

    • I worked with a series of universities in the Dominican Republic to create oversight committees for an enhanced weathering project local to the region. The project intends to place the mineral olivine along a test beach to evaluate the amount of carbon sequestered in intertidal zones facilitated by the mineral placement. (If you are interested in learning more about this project, it is through Project Vesta).

    • I have designed a tracker evaluating where carbon removal laws have been incorporated into international, federal, state, and local government laws and policy for any country with net-zero goals. 

    • We also host webinars covering a series of topics in the carbon removal world, including ocean-based CDR systems, issues of climate equity and justice, and international policy and governance regarding CDR (such as UNFCCC COP agreements). 

    • You can find blogs I have written for ICRLP here

  • Carbon Removal Working Group

    • I am a member of the Carbon Removal Working Group and a Carbon Removal Governance Colloquium that operate out of Washington, DC hosted out of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy.

Coastal Blue Carbon and Nature-Based Solutions

I am interested in completing a PhD specializing in carbon removal and international relations. I intend to evaluate how conservation/restoration of coastal blue carbon systems (mangrove forests, wetlands, and sea grasses) can simultaneously accomplish carbon removal (sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean), disaster risk reduction, and community building. The IUCN has determined that coastal blue carbon systems sequester 3-5 times more carbon than terrestrial forests, largely being stored in extensive mangrove root systems. As long as these roots remain undisturbed, carbon can be stored there for millennia. If so, extensive mangrove restoration and conservation can help local communities in disaster resilience, maintenance of local economies, reduce impacts of political instability from natural disaster, and further decrease ocean acidification and global warming. 

This has led to my position with the Mangrove Action Project where I conduct research on mangrove restoration and impacts affecting mangroves, such as with invasive species, rising sea levels, and giant storm impacts alongside local and international policy affecting such restoration. I have led trainings with MAP and the US Forest Service on community-based ecological mangrove restoration for governments, academia, and nonprofits in Latin America and Caribbean states. Additionally, I research community forest management practices pertaining to mangrove systems in partnership with a UN Development Programme project based in Myanmar. 

Carbon Capture

While studying direct air capture, I have come to study carbon capture systems as well. Rather than removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or ocean, these systems capture carbon dioxide at point locations, such as power plants. There is wide debate in the environmental field as to whether carbon capture should 1) be used as a mitigative mechanism while fossil fuel companies begin to shift their practices or 2) if it prolongs the fossil sector by providing them a solution of mitigating emissions while still producing fuels. ​

I co-hosted webinar titled Available Technologies that Contribute to Climate Mitigation in Upstream Oil and Gas Production with the United Nations Environment Programme and Norway's Oil for Development Programme. The Government of Norway presented on its carbon capture usage and Northern Lights project and I provided a series of questions for our guest speakers regarding CCS usage, as well as research content for the webinar leading up to it.

I also wrote a series of blogs on carbon capture for UNEP's Global Network on Environment and Oil and Gas leading up to this webinar. If you would like to read more about CCS, click here. In these blogs, I discussed sequestration and storage (non-permanent) in geologic structures and saline aquifers of various greenhouse gases, largely through enhanced oil recovery. I evaluated how governments and corporations use carbon capture and storage and what it means for the future of the planet. 

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