We've long been advocates talking about the roles of all the different solutions and pathways to combating human-caused climate change. The science is super clear: a huge transition to decarbonize everything we do, while growing our ability to safely remove carbon dioxide and store it, combined with work to restore biodiversity and create a just transition.
It's a role we're happy to take on, to repeatedly highlight that anything outside of the science-backed way forward, or sounds too good to be true, is something we should be cautious about. That having clear guidance of what good looks like helps everyone act in the same direction with trust and integrity. This level of collaboration is absolutely necessary in taking on a challenge - and opportunity - as big as this.
This is why it's an absolute privilage to join the mighty Climeworks in an open call for clearer distinctions in the role of emissions reductions (aka decarbonization) and carbon dioxide removal.
We need both, and lots of each, in different ratios. Both require effort, investment and continual focus from now on. The prize at the end of the rainbow - and the opportunity to reimagine the world and humanity's relationship to it - is huge, exciting and desirable. What's more, we can do it.
Here's the joint statement!
Reductions and removals have different roles to play.
Differentiating emissions reductions and avoided emissions from carbon removals is needed to align with scientific recommendations. This should be incorporated in climate targets, climate policy and reflected via the establishment of different units/credit categories for (voluntary) carbon markets for effective climate action.
1. Limiting the moral hazard
It presents a simple way to mitigate the moral hazard coming with carbon dioxide removal (CDR), as it makes for greater clarity over the role, foreseen share, and timing of removals alongside accelerated emissions reduction.
2. Adding integrity to carbon markets
It adds further integrity to carbon markets and climate policy, as it allows for clarity and aligns with best practice concerning "net-zero", where carbon removal credits need to be singled out to counterbalance residual emissions.
3. Responsible deployment
It provides a framework wherein carbon removals can be deployed in a responsible and just manner, in addition and complementary to vast and rapid emission reductions and avoidances.
4. A question of scale
CDR urgently needs a dedicated framework with opportunities to scale the entire sector, as well as guardrails against a deployment that is incompatible with global sustainability objectives. A dedicated CDR framework allows to tackle these aspects in the most effective way.
In summary, it presents a scientifically sound framework to deliver on the temperature targets set within the Paris Climate Accord.
Why does this matter?
To maximize our chances of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced at an unprecedented speed over the next decades: CO₂ emissions must decrease by at least 90% by 2050 according to the SBTi.
In addition, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solutions are needed - somewhere between 5 to 10 billion tonnes per year - to neutralize any residual emissions and thus enable the world to achieve net zero CO₂ by 2050.
Emissions reductions and CDR have different roles to play in the fight against global warming, hence they should be treated differently - in climate pathways, target setting as well as in industry standards.
We're proud to be part of this, alongside Climeworks and all these incredible organizations:
Feels timely and super important to have this more nuanced & science-backed discussion and make progress on it! So good to see so many from the space pulling together to move forward positively.
If you're curious to go further and get under the skin of why this is needed and necessary, we can help! Here's a few things we've been pondering and supporting folks to explore:
- Is reducing emissions better than removing them?
- The difference between carbon neutral, net zero and climate positive
- Are individuals to blame for the climate crisis?
- Carbon removal 101
- Carbon avoidance vs carbon removal
- Scaling carbon removal in the voluntary carbon market
- Transitioning company offsets to carbon removal
- A carbon removal portfolio anyone can join
- How much carbon removal is in carbon neutral and net zero claims?
- What are avoidance offsets and the carbon markets?
- Why can avoidance offsets be ineffective for climate action?
- Not all avoidance and NBS projects are bad
- Easy-to-read, free, online climate courses
Zopeful builds ready-made, high-quality portfolios of carbon removal to make researching, purchasing and managing durable carbon removal more accessible for consumers and companies.
In line with the science, we also advocate for deep decarbonization across industries gloablly, from both organizations and individuals. If we want, we all have a role to play and there's room for everyone.
Have hope, make progress 💚
Our ready-made, curated, portfolio of high quality carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solutions is live. It aims for the highest permanence-for-the-$-per-tonne that we can find.
We're excited to be working with an inspiring group of global CDR companies taking the fight to the Climate Crisis. They're doing amazing work that holds a tonne - pun intended - of promise.