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Should we reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions? Why not both?

Ben Rubin, Executive Director of  the Carbon Business Council, expands on why a safe climate future requires two simultaneous goal posts: reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions. The op-ed below below was originally published in Fast Company – an excerpt is below and you can find the full op-ed online. 

When scientists first began ringing the alarm about human-caused climate change, this warning was accompanied with a call to action: Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gasses to stop the adverse impacts of a warming climate. The warning has continued for decades and, given the lack of significant cuts to emissions, a new set of alarm bells is now ringing. Reducing emissions remains our critical priority, amidst the dire impacts of climate change that the world is experiencing today. But as a result of our delay, there’s also an urgent need to remove the emissions already lodged in the atmosphere. 

Reducing future emissions and removing existing emissions requires two goal posts, or twin targets. Having two simultaneous goals doesn’t mean that they’re equal. Reducing emissions—with solutions like solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and a host of other options—is widely agreed to be the foremost priority in climate action. But there is scientific consensus that carbon removal also has a critical role to play, which is why it’s increasingly important to acknowledge the two goals required for a safe climate future. 

Read the full op-ed online at Fast Company

Ben Rubin is the executive director of the Carbon Business Council, a nonprofit trade association with more than 100 leading carbon management companies.