What is Carbon Removals at COP?+
Carbon Removals at COP is a dedicated online platform that streams events and publishes daily commentary, news and thinking on carbon removals during COP and beyond. It is a collaborative effort composed of NGOs from across the carbon removal ecosystem. All funding comes exclusively from philanthropic climate foundations.
Why was Carbon Removals at COP founded?+
Carbon Removals at COP was founded in 2022 to increase the awareness and legitimacy of carbon removals as an integral pillar of climate action and climate equity.
Following its success at COP27, we brought together a larger group of NGOs to develop the platform further for COP28 in Dubai.
The online platform allows us to reach a wide range of participants, inside the removals ecosystem and in the wider climate community, both at COP and beyond.
The mission of Carbon Removals at COP is to introduce you to what is happening in the world of carbon removals, the science, the technology, the people, places, motivations and approaches that are driving the evolution of carbon removals today and working to scale these innovations for a better future tomorrow.
Who are the organizations behind Carbon Removals at COP?+
Carbon Removals at COP is a collaborative effort composed of NGOs from across the carbon removal ecosystem.
Led by Rethinking Removals and Carbon Business Council, the NGOs include: Air Miners, Carbon Gap, Climate Action Platform – Africa, Direct Air Capture Coalition, German Association of Negative Emissions, Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy, Negative Emissions Platform, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions Team, Open Air Collective, RMI, TreeMedia and X-Prize.
We are very grateful to the Quadrature Climate Foundation for funding the initiative this year.
What does Carbon Removals at COP do?+
Carbon Removals at COP identifies and supports physical and virtual events, reports and announcements focused on carbon removal and held or launched during COP28. All events are listed and, if possible, streamed on the online platform.
We provide commentary on what is coming out of the events, interviews, and news on carbon removal initiatives. Support for events depends on need and can range from help with event concepts, finding speakers and event space at appropriate pavilions and venues, to providing live streaming and PR amplification.
What is carbon removal?+
Carbon removal is a process whereby CO2 is physically removed from the atmosphere and stored with the intention to be permanent, with all greenhouse gas emissions over the entire chain of removal and storage included in the life-cycle analysis and whereby the total amount of CO2 removed and stored is greater than the CO2 emitted.
Why is carbon removal needed?+
The science is clear. In concert with rapid efforts to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, humanity must also pursue carbon removal at an unprecedented pace and scale. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that, cumulatively, between 100 and 1,000 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide must be removed globally by 2100. That translates into annual removal rates that approach 10 billion tonnes by midcentury.
The most recent IPCC Sixth Assessment Report from Working Group III (AR6 WIII report) reinforces the urgent need for large-scale carbon removal. It is seen as an essential pillar to limit warming to 1.5°C, and also a crucial tool for scenarios that limit warming to no more than 2°C by 2100. This requires rapid scale-up and massive deployment of all viable carbon removal methods, given the limited state of commercial deployment at present.
Can carbon removal replace emissions reduction?+
Carbon removal does not replace the urgent need for rapid greenhouse gas emissions reduction, which is essential under any scenario to address climate change. Emissions reductions and removals may share similar technical processes but serve different purposes which is why it is critically important to differentiate between them.
How does carbon removal differ from carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCS or CCUS)?+
CCUS is a “point-source” approach that captures carbon dioxide from industrial smokestacks, such as those on cement and steel factories or power plants, and either stores it permanently so that it is not emitted into the atmosphere or utilizes it in products. Carbon removal takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and stores it. Some forms of carbon removal, such as direct air capture with storage and biomass carbon removal with storage may use geological storage in the same way as CCUS.
What are carbon credits and carbon markets?+
Carbon credits are measurable units of emission reductions or removals that are created for the purposes of trading and retiring. Where standards are robust, they represent real, additional and verified emission reductions or removals that the owner may claim when they retire the credit. Carbon markets are the collection of buyers and sellers of carbon credits who facilitate carbon project financing through the generation and use of carbon credits. At present, most carbon credits are made up of reductions, but carbon markets are seen as an important source of funding for carbon removals, if there is consensus on clear and transparent rules.
What is the relevance of durability for carbon removal?+
The durability of the storage solution coupled with the removal of atmospheric carbon is key to determine the success of the carbon removal approach with regards to restoring the climate. The longer carbon stays out of the atmosphere, the more effective it will be in decreasing atmospheric concentrations. Different solutions may remove carbon for decades, centuries or millenia. Solutions also vary according to the risk of reversal and the timing of the carbon drawdown.
Isn’t carbon removal driven by oil & gas interests?+
Carbon removal is driven by climate needs rather than specific business interests. It is multi-faceted, using a wide range of different methods to capture and store CO2. It can be small-scale and dispersed or highly industrial, and it can be done anywhere, in different ways, depending on local conditions and ambitions.
This diversity means it cannot be dominated by oil & gas companies. It is true that a small subsection of carbon removals – in particular direct air capture with geological storage – overlaps with the technical competence of the oil & gas sector. But currently, out of the hundreds of companies actively developing carbon removals on the ground, only one – Occidental – is an oil & gas company. Other oil & gas companies are just starting to explore the potential of direct air capture through small R&D or cooperation projects. Some of these will no doubt invest more heavily over the coming years, but with a multitude of scalable solutions developing for all different pathways, carbon removal will remain a very diverse field.