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Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy

Dedicated to assessing the social, legal, ethical, and political implications of carbon removal technologies and practices.

The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy is a research center in the School of International Service at American University, Washington DC. We are dedicated to the assessment and promotion of sustainable carbon removal.

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Call for Applications: Carbon Removal Justice Fellows Program

The National Wildlife Federation and the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University invite applicants for the inaugural cohort of the Carbon Removal Justice Fellows Program (“the Fellows Program”). We are looking for up to ten fellows for a two-week summer fellowship, July 10-24, 2023. We are also seeking one additional fellow to work with NWF for 11 months, from mid-June 2023 to mid-May 2024.

The Fellows Program is designed to bring environmental justice voices and perspectives into the fast-developing field of carbon removal policy, research, and private sector activity. Large amounts of U.S. government and private sector money are starting to move into carbon management projects. It is essential that environmental justice considerations be represented in carbon management decision-making.

The Fellows Program will:

  • Provide participants with an introduction to the field of carbon removal, centering environmental justice considerations and concerns;
  • Include conversations with key figures in U.S. federal policymaking, the private sector, and civil society; and
  • Involve site visits to two U.S. locations grappling with decisions around carbon removal.

There are two linked opportunities:

The Fellows Program will provide up to ten participants with a two-week introduction to the field. In addition, one participant will take up a full-time 11-month position with the National Wildlife Federation and work closely with staff at the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy. Applicants should identify whether they are applying for the two-week fellowship, the 11-month opportunity with the National Wildlife Federation, or both. The two-week Fellows Program will run from July 10-24, 2023. The 11-month opportunity with the National Wildlife Federation will run from mid-June through mid-May. Remote work is a possibility.

Deadline to apply is May 20, 2023.

Learn more and apply here.

ICRLP webinar series - Scrubbing the Skies: The Role of Carbon Dioxide Removal in Combatting Climate Change

Join the Institute for Carbon Removal and Policy for upcoming events in our webinar series, Scrubbing the Skies: The Role of Carbon Dioxide Removal in Combating Climate Change. The series focuses on scientific, technological, legal, political, and justice-focused issues associated with carbon dioxide removal and is hosted by Co-Director Wil Burns. Recordings of our entire webinar series can be found here.

Podcast series: Plan Sea: Ocean Interventions to Address Climate Change

Launched in December 2022, Co-Director Wil Burns has developed a new ocean CDR focused podcast series. Episodes will focus on ocean-based climate geoengineering options that seek to reduce incoming solar radiation (solar radiation modification) or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (carbon dioxide removal). The podcast scrutinizes risks and benefits of these options, as well as matters of governance, stakeholder engagement, ethics, and politics. Episodes are released biweekly, and can be found here.

The Institute Welcomes Director of Research: 

Dr. Sara Nawaz

Sara Nawaz, PhD, is an environmental social scientist who works on social aspects of carbon removal. She studies how carbon removal technologies and policies might be designed in just, equitable and responsible ways, including how to involve societal groups (e.g., local groups, Indigenous communities, experts, the public) in these processes. Dr. Nawaz has two articles that have been published this year:

"Exploring public acceptability of direct air carbon capture with storage: climate urgency, moral hazards and perceptions of the ‘whole versus the parts’" 

"Public evaluations of four approaches to ocean-based carbon dioxide removal"

Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM) Project Conclusion:

In 2021, the Institute launched a project to produce a variant of the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM), a major Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) developed by the Joint Global Change Research Institute. This project was completed summer of 2022 by then Director of Research David Morrow, Post-doctoral Researcher Raphael Apeaning, and Research Associate Garrett Guard. A paper outlining the project was published this year:

“GCAM-CDR v1.0: Enhancing the Representation of Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies and Policies in an Integrated Assessment Model”

The Institute acknowledges the generous supprot of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for thier support of this project.

Why does carbon removal matter?

Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is now an essential component of humanity’s response to climate change. The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy works to find carbon removal’s appropriate forms, scales, and applications. 

To learn more about the basics of carbon removal, see our Fact Sheets, Introductory Explainer, Glossary of Key Terms, and Why Talk About Carbon Removal? report.

Other resources include our blogour accessible abstract series summarizing important new academic papers, archives recordings from our webinar series and our Sustainable Carbon Removal report, and our Science Primer on the state CDR science and the accompanying summary.

Institute Resources

Carbon Removal Action Tracker

The Institute has relaunched our Carbon Removal Corporate Action Tracker. This is a tool designed to track and highlight the progress of private sector companies in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions through carbon removal solutions. This is an ever-evolving resource, and will be updated as new commitments are released and current pledges become more detailed.


Notable Media Publications

Co-Director Wil Burns was recently featured in the an llluminem article "TOP 10 Most Read Thought Leaders in Climate Change" which highlights his extensive contributions to the ever evolving field of carbon removal.

Carbon Removal Explainer

This important resource details what carbon removal is, why it is important, the role carbon removal has to play in climate policy, co-benifits & and concerns, and breaks down CDR technologies and practices.

Read the entire Carbon Removal Explainer here.



CDR Bibliography

The Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Bibliography is an ongoing project of the Institute. We add somewhere between 5-10 citations every day to the database, and it currently includes more than 12,150 citations.

Learn more and access this resource here.

2022 End of Year Report

Please see our 2022 End of Year Report which includes fellow publications, Institute updates, and projects completed in 2022.

Notable Academic Publications

Senior Fellow David Morrow has co-authored a recent publication in Annual Review of Marine Science "Sociotechnical Considerations About Ocean Carbon Dioxide Removal" that identifies the sets of considerations that need to be included within robust assessments for Ocean CDR decision-making.