What is Sustainable Carbon Removal?

Recent reports and scientific assessments, including the UN’s Emissions Gap Report and the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5˚C from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have placed a spotlight on carbon removal. Large-scale carbon removal now seems an essential tool, in tandem with mitigation, to meet ambitious climate goals. Early discussions surrounding carbon removal tended to be polarized: supporters viewed the technology as a means to reverse climate change and critics voiced concerns over false promises and possible human rights violations associated with food insecurity and land grabs.

The challenge, therefore, is to scale up carbon removal while managing the social and environmental impacts of such technologies. In other words, the challenge is ensuring carbon removal is sustainable. Good governance will enable societies to implement carbon removal in ways that are economically viable for current generations while preserving social justice. With this in mind, the Institute works to provide societies with the tools they need to make carbon removal ecologically restorative, economically viable, and socially just, with an ultimate goal to identify or design governance mechanisms that promote sustainable carbon development across various scales.