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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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Why does carbon removal matter?

Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is now an essential component of humanity’s response to climate change. Carbon removal is not, though, a single-shot solution. Emissions abatement -- keeping greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere -- must come first. In addition, not all forms of carbon removal are created equal. 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 abstracts series summarizing important new academic papers, archives recordings from our webinar series our Sustainable Carbon Removal report and our Science Primer on the state CDR science and the accompanying summary.

2nd Annual Conference on Carbon Removal Law and Policy: The Role of Domestic Law in Regulating and Facilitating Carbon Dioxide Removal

This year’s conference is co-convened by the the Institute, the Program in Environmental Policy and Culture at Northwestern University and the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University. The focus will be on the role of domestic law (throughout the world) in the carbon dioxide removal sector. It is our hope to bring together speakers from the corporate, government, NGO and academic sectors to explore lessons learned to date, as well as to discuss interstices in legal and regulatory frameworks, and approaches that can help to streamline governance mechanisms, while protecting the interests of all stakeholders. We will seek to address both procedural aspects of governance, including the role of public engagement, as well as pertinent substantive laws and regulations.

The conference will take place online, on Tuesday, September 27 & Wednesday 28, 2022. Register to attend here.

Learn more by visiting the conference website here

What's New

Project Vesta has engaged the Institute to establish an independent advisory committee to provide assessment and oversight of a proposed field experiment in the Dominican Republic to test an atmospheric carbon dioxide removal approach called “Coastal Enhanced Weathering.”

Learn More

Publication & Project News

Carbon Removal Action Tracker

This tool developed by ICRLP outlines interesting moves regarding, climate action, in aviation, energy, heavy industry, and other harder-to-abate sector, as well as large financial actors and retail companies. It includes companies that have made climate pledges entailing some use of large scale CDR.



Visit the Tracker

Carbon Removal Explainer

Our resource, Explainer: Carbon Removal, details what carbon removal is, why it is important, and the role carbon removal has to play in climate policy. It aims to cover the most important aspects of carbon dioxide removal, define various technical approaches, and serves as a backgrounder and resource. 

Learn more!

Glossary of Key Terms

The Carbon Removal Glossary defines key terminology and acronyms related to carbon removal and explains some of the relationships between the terms.

CDR Terms

Publication Spotlight

Director Simon Nicholson recently published this article in Current History "Carbon Removal to the Rescue?" which looks at the current state of carbon removal approaches and some of the politics that surround them.

Read the Article

Sustainable Carbon Removal

This report explores the sustainable practices that balance environmental, social, and economic goals of carbon removal.

Read the Report

2021 End of Year Report

This report outlines the many accomplishments of the Institute staff and fellows throughout 2021, including publications, projects, events and collaborations.


Read the Report