Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey The Claim Seaweed has been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for at least 500 million years. Recent studies suggest that wild seaweed continues to do humanity a solid by sequestering 173 million metric tons annually. The average square kilometer of seaweed can sequester more than a thousand metric tons. Start-ups like Maine-based Running Tide hope to help this process along by farming seaweed for the express purpose of sinking it and locking down its carbon. Shopify has already agreed to be the first purchaser of the resulting carbon offsets. How It’s Supposed to Work Kelp spores are grown in a lab and then sprayed onto spools of string. These are cultivated for several weeks, until the kelp spores have grown fuzzy like Chia Pets. The string is then wound around ropes and dropped into the ocean for six to eight months, until the kelp plants reach maturity. If the kelp were being harvested, boats would then come out and collect the ropes. But to sequester the carbon captured by the kelp, the plants need to be sunk at least 1,000 meters deep, where they will decay and not return to the surface […]

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