National Academy of Sciences Report on Carbon Removal: A Recap and Commentary

Read the full story from the Energy Collective.

Recently the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS”) released a comprehensive study dedicated to carbon dioxide removal (“CDR”). To date, CDR has largely been relegated to the fringes of the conversation on climate change, despite the fact that major reports from the IPCC and the UN Environment Program have noted that CDR will likely be critically important for preventing climate change. Two factors have likely contributed to CDR’s position on the sideline for the climate conversation:

  1. CDR solutions have historically been conflated with the too-risky/speculative-to-even-research Albedo Modification (formerly Solar Radiation Management) “geoengineering” techniques
  2. Most CDR solutions cost more than other greenhouse gas (“GHG”) abatement approaches (e.g. solar, wind, energy efficiency, avoided deforestation, etc.), leaving little economic incentive for CDR approaches to develop organically.

The release of the NAS report takes important steps towards reducing both of these barriers for CDR to enter the mainstream climate change conversation. First, the NAS released two distinct reports – one on CDR and the other on Albedo Modification – with language explicitly stating that these two categories of “climate interventions” should not be analyzed together. Second, the report unequivocally endorses expanded R&D funding into CDR approaches, in hopes that such funding will enable the eventual commercialization of these CDR approaches.

The NAS analysis stops before identifying the necessary R&D required for developing and commercializing CDR solutions. But this report has hopefully cleared the way for this conversation to happen – along with the many other mainstream policy and industry discussions necessary for the development of CDR solutions.

The NAS study is worth the full read, but I have pulled out a handful of key sentences and figures from the report, below, along with some commentary on their context to the overall conversation on CDR and preventing climate change:

Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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