The Importance of Emissions Removal - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

The Importance of Emissions Removal

April 22, 2022

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The International Panel on Climate Change recently published a report detailing the current outlook on the global climate crisis. Among the takeaways of this nearly 3,000 page document is the importance of emissions removal in the effort to avoid the full force of this crisis. In this post, we discuss carbon removal practices and why they are receiving renewed attention, plus look forward to some pioneer technologies in the field. 


IPCC Report Findings

The International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) April report confirms one critical fact about carbon removal: it is absolutely necessary to achieve net zero Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Essentially, what this means is that simply curbing emissions is not enough to slow climate change; emissions need to be actively pulled from the atmosphere to reduce the global oversupply. 

Emissions removal is also key long term. This is true especially in dealing with “hard-to-abate emissions,” which come from industries that are critically important to the global economy, but do not yet have emissions-free alternatives. Steel production, aviation, and certain other heavy industries are examples of sources of hard-to-abate emissions. As demand for these industries continues –indeed likely increases– proactive emissions removal will be decisive. 

The IPCC report also stresses the importance of diversity in carbon removal efforts. Naming twelve methods in the document, there are countless other ways in which carbon emissions can be stored. Having an array of such methods will be helpful for removing emissions in different climates and settings, as well as in areas with particular needs. 


What is emissions removal?

Emissions removal methods, put simply, intake carbon dioxide from the atmosphere around them and store it for generations to come. Emissions removal is not to be confused with emissions reduction. While reducing emissions entails taking steps to limit emissions from current or future industries or lifestyles, emissions removal captures carbon that has already been emitted into the atmosphere. 

Let’s go a little further…


Examples of emissions removal

As mentioned, there are many ways in which carbon emissions can be removed from the atmosphere. Here are just a few highlights: 

  1. Climeworks’ Direct Air Capture

Climeworks, a Switzerland based company, has an innovative technology that captures carbon dioxide with industrial fans. The carbon is then mineralized into a solid, so that it can be stored for good. Their machines can be thought of as giant, modular air purifiers! 

  1. Ecoera’s Biochar

Swedish headquartered company Ecoera has the technology to convert atmospheric carbon into valuable agricultural biochar. Not only does this method remove emissions from the atmosphere, but actually improves the health of the crops the biochar is placed on. 

  1. Running Tide's Kelp Forests

Based in the Northeastern United States, Running Tide specializes in removing carbon from the ocean. Capitalizing on the power of ocean tides and gravity, Running Tide captures CO₂ using kelp microforests, then sinks the carbon into the deep ocean where it can be stored for generations.


Where do we go from here?

Technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are already in their early stages of operation. To meet the demand presented to them by the IPCC report, however, emissions removal projects need support. 

Emphasizing environmental concerns to local political and industrial leaders is one great way to advance sustainability efforts. Curbing your own emissions with eco-conscious lifestyle swaps, is another way to pitch in. Looking for easy, everyday ways to be more sustainable? Neutrl is here to help!


In conclusion

The 2022 IPCC report is clear: investment in the growth of emissions removal technologies is now necessary to avoid a future that suffers from extreme global heating. Building a diverse and adaptive portfolio of these technologies, such as the three discussed, needs to be a priority in the years to come. Taking democratic action and personal accountability are two ways to get the ball rolling in support of sustainable action. 

FAQ

Want to learn more?
Emissions Removal FAQs

What is emissions removal?

Emissions removal (also known as carbon dioxide removal or CDR) pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and stores it long term. There are many forms of emissions removal.


What is direct air capture?

Direct air capture is one form of emissions removal, in which carbon dioxide is filtered directly from the atmosphere through industrial filtering machines.


What are other examples of emissions removal?

Biochar production, ocean fertilization, reforestation, and ocean alkalinity enhancement are all forms of emissions removal.


What are hard-to-abate emissions?

Hard-to-abate emissions come from industries the global economy relies on heavily but do not yet have sustainable alternatives. These industries include air travel and steel production.!

Sources:

IPCC Full Report 

UN Summary of IPCC Report