Publication Details

Warner, R. M. (2007). Preserving a balanced ocean: regulating climate change mitigation activities in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. Australian International Law Journal, 14 (2007), 99-120.


The damaging effects of anthropogenically induced climate change on both the terrestrial and marine environments have been acknowledged by a succession of expert reports commissioned by global and national bodies. This recognition has spawned heightened levels of activity by scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. Multiple schemes have been suggested to ameliorate the adverse effects of climate change on the environment caused by the burning of fossil fuels and other greenhouse gas emissions including enhanced schemes to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The ability of the ocean to absorb rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been the focus of some of these schemes. The ocean is already a major sink for carbon dioxide because of its capacity to readily absorb excess atmospheric carbon and convert it to soluble form. A prominent deep sea scientist, Tony Koslow, estimates that approximately 5.5 billion tonnes (or gigatonnes) of carbon are now released into the atmosphere each year as carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and that a third of that is taken up by the oceans. Augmenting the rate at which the oceans absorb carbon dioxide or using the oceans as a storage receptacle for excess carbon dioxide are fundamental objectives of the climate change mitigation activities now being proposed and trialled in marine areas both within and beyond national jurisdiction.

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Australian International Law Journal

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