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Workshop 1: Setting a new course for carbon removals in the EU

On 29 February, Carbon Market Watch hosted the first in a series of workshops bringing together kindred spirits from academia, business and civil society to talk carbon removals – and hatch a plan for their measured use in the EU

The CO2ol down workshops built upon the interest shown in a letter we submitted to the European Commission that had been signed by 111 signatories that demanded the EU introduce specific and explicit targets for emissions reductions, land sequestration and carbon removals in the EU’s 2040 climate strategy to avoid slowing down decarbonisation and to support a science-based use of removals. The principle of the separation of targets was the framework condition for participation in the CO2ol down workshops. 

Although organised by CMW, our role was to open the doors to discussion with those voices and to co-design a workable policy mix based on shared principles.

Revising the Climate Law

In her welcoming remarks, CMW’s Fabiola De Simone reminded guests that the focus of the first workshop was to revise the Climate Law in the context of the separation targets. In a first introductory session, the key principles and concerns related to carbon removals that had been gathered from a questionnaire sent to participants beforehand were presented.

Key principles included prioritising emissions reduction, the need for separate targets, the role of permanent removals and land-based sequestration. 

In a “writing conversation” exercise, the group selected the principles that should be discussed further in a revised Climate Law. Six sub-groups were then created, with conversation stimulated by balancing the backgrounds and experiences of participants. 

Each sub-group suggested a way to incorporate the key principles in the text of the Climate Law. 

Collaborating on Miro boards, groups discussed and identified the key elements of the Climate Law pertaining to carbon removals that needed updating. After sharing these targets in plenary, groups then debated and drafted textual amendments which were tidied up by a selected editorial group prior to the final workshop.

A small selection of participants were selected to form the editorial group. Their role was to streamline the results of the workshops’ discussion and resolve any possible conflict before draft proposals were presented to plenary.

An enthusiastic and robust discussion was had on day one and clear guiding priorities established. A clear path was mapped out during the session, and ideas would be developed further at the next workshop, which took place physically in Brussels on 21 March 2024.

Participants in alphabetical order

Group 1

Ulriikka Aarnio, Climate Action Network Europe. Aaron Benjamin, Direct Air Capture Coalition. Fabiola De Simone, Carbon Market Watch (Group facilitator). Alice Evatt, University of Oxford. Sebastian Manhart, Carbonfuture/ DVNE. Alex Mason, WWF European Policy Office. Mafalda Salgueiro Antunes, ZERO asts. Harry Smith, UEA. Peter Somerville, University of Lincoln

Group 2 

Aymeric Amand, Sandbag. Alina Brad, University of Vienna. Elisabeth Harding, Negative Emissions Platform. Duncan McLaren, UCLA. Sebastian Osorio, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Marlène Ramón Hernández, Carbon Market Watch (Group Facilitator). Codie Rossi, Clean Air Task Force. Anna Stratton, Climateworks. Erik Tang, Green Transition Denmark. Janek Vähk, Zero Waste Europe 

Group 3 

Moritz Adam, Wetlands International European Association. Bruno Capuzzi ApexBrasil. Sabine Frank, Carbon Market Watch (Group facilitator). Bernardo Galantini, Transport & Environment. Navraj S Ghaleigh, University of Edinburgh. Clemens Kaupa, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Kaisa Kosonen, Greenpeace Nordic. Mark Preston, Bellona Europe. Stefan Schlosser, German association for negative emissions. Gabrielle Walker, Rethinking Removals 

Group 4 

Sofie Defour, Transport & Environment. Julius Lang, Novocarbo. Ennio Prizzi, Bioenergy Europe. David Reiner, University of Cambridge. Felix Schenuit, German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Kristyna Springer, Institute for European Environmental Policy. Julia Teppe, WWF Germany. Despoina Tsiprikidou, Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA). Sam van den plas, Carbon Market Watch (Group facilitator)

Group 5 

Josh Burke, Grantham Research Institute (London School of Economics). William Druet, CCSA (Carbon Capture & Storage Association). Kilian Flade, Institut für Parizipatives Gestalten (Group facilitator). Thomas Gelin, Greenpeace EU. Juliette de Grandpre, NewClimate Institute. Farid Kreh, OXO Earth. Martin Birk Rasmussen, CONCITO. Martin Pigeon, Fern. Carolina Silva, ZERO.

Group 6

Georgia Berry, Patch. Martin Cames, Oeko-Institut. Wim Carton, Lund University. Isabella Corpora, Carbon Business Council. Kate Ervine, Saint Mary’s University. Riccardo Nigro, European Environmental Bureau. Jascha Rohr, Institut für Parizipatives Gestalten (Group facilitator). Wijnand Stoefs, Carbon Market Watch.  Parth Verma, Bakz4ever. Kasia Wilk, Drax Group. 

Editorial Group

Ulriikka Aarnio. Martin Cames. William Druet. Elisabeth Harding. Duncan McLaren. Mark Preston. Felix Schenuit. Julia Teppe


  • Gavin Mair

    Gavin is a member of the communications team. He formerly supported the work of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, and held responsibility for media output and office management for two MEPs prior to Brexit. He is an experienced campaigner, relishing the challenge of communicating for causes that have a social and environmental impact and is motivated by CMW’s mission of holding businesses and governments to account as they move towards essential environmental ambitions and transitions. When not fighting the good fight Gavin can typically be found enjoying live music or attending to his houseplants.

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