Carbon removal is the process of drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere so that it can be locked or sequestered into plants, soils, rocks, oceans and the built environment.
Carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere through the use of plants and trees (photosynthesis), oceans (alkalinity enhancement), rocks (mineralization), and technologies like direct-air capture (DAC).
The purpose of carbon dioxide removal is to return atmospheric CO2 concentrations to safer levels and avert the worst of a changing climate. Concentrations are higher today than they have been in millions of years, currently sitting around 420 parts per million. Carbon removal solutions are crucial in the fight against climate change.
Visit: Carbon Removal Canada
Here’s why this matters:
- We can’t eliminate all emissions: Even with aggressive efforts to reduce emissions, there will be “hard to abate” emissions that cannot be eliminated entirely by 2050. Carbon removal technologies help balance out these remaining emissions.
- We can accelerate the path to “net zero”: Net zero is the point at which all carbon emissions are negated or “zeroed” by carbon removal methods. Carbon removal is essential to achieving net zero goals, and CDR methods will can help us “zero” our impact much sooner.
- We can restore a stable climate: The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has reached historically high levels. Only by lowering total CO2 concentrations – that is, not just reducing annual emissions – will we be able to slow and eventually reverse climate change.
Explainer: Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)
Explainer: Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) …hint: it’s not the same thing
Carbon Engineer’s DAC site in British Columbia. Image Source: Carbon Engineering