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This report provides an initial assessment of potential new approaches to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that might be capable of generating large-scale GHG emissions offsets at relatively low cost compared to other GHG mitigation options. The nine potential blue sky approaches assessed in this report include biochar, destruction of ozone depleting substances, control of natural fugitive methane seeps from coal seams, control of fugitive natural gas emissions associated with hydraulic fracturing and shale-gas extraction, "blue" carbon, enhanced soil carbon sequestration associated with dedicated energy crops, improved management of small ruminant animals, geo-mitigation opportunities such as control of volcanic emissions and avoiding permafrost melting, and geo-engineering techniques such as ocean carbon fertilization. These blue sky technologies might be able to reduce GHG emissions domestically and internationally; in some cases, they could potentially be used to create GHG emissions offsets. These offsets could potentially be used by electric power companies and others to comply with existing and evolving GHG emission reduction programs, such as cap-and-trade programs. Our initial assessment of these approaches indicates that biochar, ozone depleting substance destruction, blue carbon, and ocean iron fertilization have the greatest potential to achieve large-scale, low-cost (GHG) mitigation. Biochar and blue carbon appear to have significant potential to qualify as new offsets types that could potentially benefit from further research by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Ozone depleting substance offsets are already in the marketplace and, therefore, are not likely to benefit significantly from additional research. Ocean iron fertilization must achieve greater levels of scientific and public acceptance before this category can become a potential source of GHG offsets.
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