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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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Third Annual Conference on Carbon Dioxide Removal Law & Policy: Carbon Removal Deployment: Law and Policy from Planning to Project - Recordings Available

The Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University held it's Third Annual Carbon Dioxide Removal Law & Policy Conference online on November 9, 2023.  

Carbon dioxide removal developments have been unfolding at a lightning pace in the past few years, with the field rapidly emerging from the largely notional to a stage where it’s poised to begin making a substantive contribution to battling climate change. This year’s conference theme, Carbon Removal Deployment: Law and Policy from Planning to Project, sought to capture the stage where we find ourselves in the context of the roles of law and policy in the field.

Watch the recording of all sessions here.

ICRLP webinar series - Scrubbing the Skies: The Role of Carbon Dioxide Removal in Combating 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 a number of recent publications:

"Broaden Research on Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement to Better Characterize Social Impacts

"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 support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for their 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 recently co-authored an article in llluminem "The Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty and its Implications for marine-based carbon dioxide 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.