The Landscape of Carbon Dioxide Removal and US Policies

Apr 19, 2024

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is gaining attention as an important piece of the US decarbonization puzzle. We assess the landscape of different CDR approaches, and policy options to help CDR scale to the level required for decarbonization by 2050.

As the speed, scale, and complexity of achieving US economy-wide decarbonization are better understood, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is gaining more attention as an important piece of the puzzle. CDR is a broad set of processes and technologies that result in the net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Because of policies implemented over the past few years, the US is now a global leader in policy support for CDR. However, more federal policy support is needed to expand the portfolio of CDR options and ensure a robust CDR market exists to support the goal of mid-century decarbonization. In this report, we survey the current and vast landscape of different CDR approaches in the US, informed by the latest peer-reviewed literature, dozens of expert interviews, and new analysis. We also assess the current state of policy support and additional policy options to help CDR scale to the level required for mid-century decarbonization in the US.

A robust CDR industry is necessary to complement US decarbonization

Based on global climate models, various decarbonization studies, and our own internal modeling estimates, in order for the US to decarbonize by mid-century, at least one gigaton of annual CDR capacity will need to be available by then (Figure ES1). That’s up from low-single-digit megatons of CDR today and equal to the capacity to remove roughly 20% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in the US in 2023.

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