Scientists are calling for responsible research on how to capture carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans. The letter was signed by more than 200 scientists, writes The Verge.

One way to prevent climate change from worsening is to absorb some of the emissions from the atmosphere. The oceans can do this by absorbing and retaining carbon dioxide. However, scientists are trying to make sure that they do not create new problems by accumulating carbon dioxide in the oceans.

“While ocean-based carbon dioxide removal approaches have enormous potential, there are also risks,” the letter says. “Society does not yet have nearly enough information about the effectiveness or impacts of any specific approach and so cannot make informed decisions about their use at scale.”

There are various ways to increase the ocean’s ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide. Some of them are natural, such as restoring coastal ecosystems that absorb CO2 through photosynthesis. However, scientists do not yet know which strategies are more effective and what consequences they will have.

In view of this, they consider it necessary to conduct controlled trials to evaluate possible strategies and independent expertise. The letter was signed by, among others, David King, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government in 2000-2007, and former NASA climate scientist James Hansen.