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Carbon dioxide removal

“Negative emissions” or “carbon dioxide removal” (CDR) refers to drawing off greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and storing them on land, underground or in the oceans. This could be based on natural processes such as forests and land that act as “carbon sinks” or a variety of technology solutions.

The role of CDR technologies and practices in the climate transition remains controversial, but the world will likely need some level of negative emissions to reach climate neutrality – to deal with the last emissions that are as yet impossible to mitigate. This must happen in a well-regulated, predictable and environmentally safe manner, without distracting from the urgent task to reduce carbon pollution from all sectors of the economy as soon as possible. 

CDR is also high on the EU’s political agenda. The Climate Law makes it legally binding for the EU to achieve a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and carbon removals at the latest by 2050. The 2030 headline climate target allows for up to 225 million tonnes of CDR by 2030. The European Commission has started working on a Carbon Removal Certification Mechanism that should be completed by 2023.

Decision-makers and stakeholders need more information and clarity on the impacts and policy implications of CDR. The “NEGEM”  project aims to analyse the real-world potential, effectiveness and impacts of negative emission technologies and practices (NETPs). 

As one of the NEGEM project partners, Carbon Market Watch seeks to define CDR in a sensible manner, explore governance approaches and provide practical recommendations on policies and governance structures to manage a responsible deployment of NETPs.

For more information on NEGEM, see the project website

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