If we are to achieve the 1.5°C (or even 2°C) goal of the Paris Agreement, the next 30 years must see the growth of a new industrial ecosystem on the scale of today’s oil and gas sector but operating in reverse – not emitting CO2 but using a wide range of negative emissions methods and technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
The decade of the 2020s, must see peak global CO2 emissions left quickly in our wake, and the creation of a solid foundation for the rapid build-up of global CO2 removal (CDR) capacity.
The scope of this new ecosystem will be extremely broad – encompassing the upscaling of nature based solutions, such as afforestation & wetland habitat restoration; application of methods to enhance soil carbon stocks, such as conservation agricultural practices and biochar application; enhancement of natural geochemical processes, such as silicate & carbonate rock weathering; the capture and storage of CO2 from the combustion of short-rotation biomass; the application of chemical and electrochemical technologies to remove CO2 from ambient air, and many others.
Alongside the increasing awareness and application of nature-based solutions, the more technological sector of this nascent industry has started to move beyond the laboratory bench; pathfinding companies are gaining equity funding to finance pilot projects and cross-industry collaborations are emerging to de-risk and develop larger scale projects.
The challenge to bring CO2 removal to the needed scale – potentially 10 GtCO2/year by 2050 – is not purely or even primarily a technical one. National and international climate policies, including those relating to carbon pricing and trading, need to be put in place or adjusted to encourage rapid growth; international governance frame-works must be put in place to enable cross-border accounting and regulation of activities with regional and global impacts; public acceptance – the social license – must be nurtured through transparency, communication and public participation, starting early and building trust well before the technology demonstration and deployment stages.
The inaugural edition of NET News can be downoaded using this link. This issue covers key developments in this growing sector during late 2019 and the latest news for January 2020. We look forward to keeping you up-to-date on developments across the NET field – from R&D to policy and governance – in future issues.
If you wish to subscribe to future bi-monthly issues of NET News, please send us your details using the form below.