Carbon Removals & COP27
By Climate Champions | November 1, 2022
The science is clear. To keep 1.5 alive we need reductions, resilience and removals. The delivery of a resilient, zero carbon world in time to ensure a safe climate means reducing our CO2 emissions by at least 50% or more by 2030, reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and staying at net-negative emissions throughout the second half of the century.
Carbon removal provides a unique opportunity to provide green jobs and skills, increase financial flow to emerging economies, positively impact biodiversity, tackle food security and many others. Today, we are removing far less than a gigaton per year. To scale this action up, capital investment in CDR should reach $100 Billion per year by 2030 (up from an estimated $10 billion today). CDR refers to any human-led efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere (not a point source, such as an exhaust, smokestack or flue-stack or natural sinks, such as pre-existing ecosystems).
What COP27 means for the sector
CDR is not on the official UNFCCC agenda. However, if we are to keep 1.5 alive, they need to be. The latest IPCC report shows that carbon removals are included in all 1.5C aligned scenarios.
This year, a virtual Carbon removals pavilion has been launched; ‘Carbon Removals at COP’ at carbonremovals.earth. This shows the action, enthusiasm and optimism of the non-state actor community across the full carbon removals ecosystem.
It is a chance to show what a just and responsible carbon removal ecosystem looks like to ensure we are able to achieve our 2030 breakthrough: By 2030, carbon dioxide removals are responsibly scaled to remove 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, with another 100 million tonnes per annum being stored for at least 100 years.
What’s at stake?
The IPCC estimates we will need to remove up to 6 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year by 2050 and beyond to reach our Paris Agreement targets. This amount is approximately equivalent to reforesting the entire area of Sweden each year. But to achieve the scale required to keep 1.5 alive, we need a broad portfolio of different carbon removal solutions whilst focusing on their benefits. No single approach of removing atmospheric carbon is large enough on its own.
If we do not start scaling our global carbon removal capacity now, we are likely to see an overshoot of 1.5C. Carbon removals can increase our resilience, create jobs, and positively impact human health and biodiversity. Scaling efforts now can help us to achieve a just transition.
Asks for NSAs
- Race to Zero members integrate ‘twin targets’ into net zero transformation plans; separate explicit targets for emissions reductions and carbon dioxide removals (aligned with the Race to Zero ‘Leadership Principles’)
- Civil Society Organisations (e.g. philanthropies and research institutes) and Governments fund carbon dioxide removals research, development and deployment
- Financiers invest in carbon dioxide removal methods and solutions (increase investment to reach at least $100 billion per year by 2030), following initiatives such as the Frontier Fund, the First Movers Coalition and the Next Gen Facility
- Businesses procure long term offtake or pre-purchase agreements with carbon dioxide removal suppliers (providing strong market signals, stable demand and contributing to $200 billion of carbon dioxide removal demand per year)
- Policy makers to begin drafting legislature to support increased supply of carbon removal (e.g. feed-in tariffs and subsidies) across geographies.