Multi-Gigaton Scale Carbon Dioxide Removal Is Needed to Achieve Net Zero

Jun 24, 2024

Multi-Gigaton Scale Carbon Dioxide Removal Is Needed to Achieve Net Zero, but Is Unlikely to Materialize Without Policy Drivers.

  • Between Six and Ten Gigatons per Annum of Residual CO2 Emissions Are Likely to Remain Unabated Globally in 2050
  • It Is Unlikely That Voluntary Demand Alone Will Meet Global Needs and Supporting Policies Will Be Required
  • The Integration of Durable Carbon Dioxide Removal into Existing and Proposed Policies Could Drive Up to 2.5 Gigatons in Demand by 2050

The role of high quality, durable carbon dioxide removal (CDR), which can remove and sequester emissions for 100 to 1,000+ years, is critical to limiting temperature rise as shown in all scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). An estimated six to ten gigatons (Gt) per annum of residual CO2 emissions is likely to remain unabated globally in 2050.

CDR purchases have grown substantially, from 600 kilotons (kt) in 2022 to 4.5 megatons (Mt) purchased in 2023, and are expected to reach between 60 and 750 megatons per annum by 2040. However, this falls far short of the scale needed to reach net zero. These are among the findings of a new report being released today by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) titled Scaling CDR: Demand Drivers for Durable CDR.

CDR demand needs to scale up significantly—from 125 kt of durable CDR delivered in 2023 to the multi-gigaton scale needed by 2050. Without government action, this is unlikely to materialize.

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