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. Here’s why they matter:
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 methods such as afforestation (planting trees), direct air capture, and soil carbon sequestration can help us “zero” our impact much sooner.
We need to restore a stable climate: The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has reached historically high levels. By lowering total the CO2 concentration, we can slow down or even reverse climate change, reducing the risks of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, ecosystems collapse, and other devastating consequences associated with a warming planet. We can work towards a more stable and sustainable climate for future generations.
Learn more here: Carbon Dioxide Removal
Carbon Engineer’s DAC site in British Columbia. Image Source: Carbon Engineering