Today, Running Tide is proud to share our initial Framework Protocol for open ocean carbon removal. The document details the high-level framework used to quantify the net carbon removed via our multi-pathway carbon removal system. To our knowledge, this is the first carbon removal project utilizing a "fast-to-slow” framework for carbon removal accounting.
We believe this framework is a critical milestone — not only in Running Tide’s own efforts to rebalance the carbon cycle and restore ocean health — but in helping to set a high standard for responsible action in the ocean that will enable this vital solution to be safely scaled in concert with all stakeholders worldwide.
This protocol is the culmination of many years of work across our cross-functional team of scientists, engineers, maritime operators, and carbon market experts, and has garnered and integrated feedback from leading experts across more than 25 carbon removal, oceanographic, environmental, and climate organizations.
Alongside this peer review process, Running Tide partnered with Deloitte in late 2022 to review our processes for quantifying net carbon removed, assess the permanence and additionality of our approach, confirm the application of the best available science, and comprehensively consider the environmental and ecological impacts associated with deploying Running Tide's carbon removal systems. This partnership included their review of the protocol for adherence to ISO Standard 14064-2, and Deloitte has provided a letter of assurance stating that Running Tide's Framework Protocol is in accordance with ISO standards. The adherence to ISO 14064-2 — the established international standard of carbon project quantification, monitoring, and reporting — paves the path for the independent third party validation and verification of the results from the carbon removal activities we conduct following this protocol.
Carbon markets are in the midst of a crisis of trust, paralyzing progress around the urgent climate action we so desperately need. This reinforces the importance of building social license and confidence in new carbon removal solutions, such as those conducted in the ocean, against the backdrop of an emerging — but not yet mature — industry.
In addition to this lack of trust, there is an absence of established governance structures and effective regulatory frameworks that provide guardrails for those working in this space. As these standards are advocated for and developed at an industry level, those conducting this work within natural systems must be crystal clear about the standards we hold ourselves to, and that inform our ethical decision-making – from initial research, to eventual deployments and ongoing monitoring. Smaller scale, low-risk research and carbon removal activities following well-documented protocols can be used to efficiently develop, test, refine, and operationalize effective governance structures that are designed for real-world application, ensuring the creation of practical and actionable standards — without delaying critical climate action.
Within the context of these challenges, Running Tide is setting a high bar for how carbon removal within open, natural systems can be conducted responsibly, while maximizing visibility into our approach. We have worked to promote transparency with increasing specificity into our efforts, including through the release of white papers (technical and non-technical), an overview of our research roadmap, a brief description of our quantification approach, and now, the publication of this protocol.
Our aim in releasing the Running Tide protocol is to build trust by providing insight, both into the way that we conduct our work and the “why” behind it — how it is designed, what problems it is trying to solve, and what our carbon removal systems may look like as they scale. This protocol also details the need for independent external review, which is critical to building and maintaining the most rigorous approach to quantification possible.
We have proactively taken steps towards external oversight and governance by establishing an external independent Scientific Advisory Board, convened by leading non-profit Ocean Visions. This independent Board guides the development of our work, reviews our research and operational plans, and enables a direct mechanism for collaboration and oversight from leaders in the scientific community — an ongoing and evolving process that will mature alongside our project.
While we continue to refine our approach — as well as advance our collective understanding of the ocean via breakthrough in-house research and ocean modeling — this protocol represents the most comprehensive overview of our carbon removal system considerations to date. The protocol includes both our framework for the quantification and measurement of impact, and the principles that we believe any carbon removal project should take into account to conduct their work responsibly and in line with the best available science.
It is our belief that making this work broadly understandable and accessible is a critical step towards maturing the market for carbon removal, as well as progressing our collective knowledge of these complex and interconnected natural systems. This protocol also provides the foundation for the detailed, intervention-specific documentation and quantification of outcomes necessary for the issuance of high-quality carbon removal credits and the independent verification of project results against ISO standards.
The team at Running Tide would like to express our immense gratitude and appreciation for the dozens of organizations and individuals who provided feedback and input on this work. It is expected that this protocol will continue to evolve as additional data are collected, research is conducted, and uncertainty is reduced. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with academic, industry, and government leaders, ocean and climate researchers, and all other stakeholders to improve and iterate on this protocol as we work to restore ocean health.
We welcome, encourage, and value all feedback on this quantification approach. If you have thoughts or comments on this protocol, or are interested in contributing to research around ocean acidification or ocean-based carbon removal, please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.