Magazine: Carbon removals briefing
In deep: Can carbon removals rescue us from climate change?
Carbon removals is the new buzzword in the corporate climate lexicon, attracting seven-figure investments from the likes of Microsoft, Klarna, Stripe and Boston Consulting Group, and investors including SwissRe and JPMorgan Chase.
And with policymakers in the U.S. and Europe betting on carbon removals as critical to delivering their own net-zero strategies, they are racing to developing frameworks to govern the nascent sector, at the same time as they are putting billions of dollars in subsidies on the table.
This has come on the back of the UNFCCC’s warning that CO2 reduction will no longer cut it. Gigatonnes of CO2 will also need to be removed from the atmosphere every year if humanity is to stay in the safe operating space of 1.5C.
But major issues of trust that will need to be overcome to get to scale. Prime among these is concern that CDR will divert from the drive for carbon reduction and avoidance. The purchase of direct air capture company Carbon Engineering by Occidental Petroleum has confirmed for many the suspicion that it will be a figleaf for continued oil and gas production. Critics include the Science Based Targets initiative, which says carbon removals should not be part of companies’ net-zero strategies.
In this months’ briefing we assess the state of the CDR market, the technologies, and evolving standards, monitoring and verification systems, and regulations that are shaping this ecosystem, and ask what it will take for the carbon removals market to fulfil the potential its proponents claim for it.