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A Primer On Carbon Dioxide Removal

A Primer On Carbon Dioxide Removal

Update: 2021-03-23


Carbon Dioxide Removal is an industrial-scale strategy to hold climate change in check. Five experts weigh in on CDR’s potential, challenges and moral hazards.


The global effort to slow the pace of climate change will require that two basic strategies be implemented on a massive scale. The first strategy is well known, and involves shifting away from today’s fossil-fuel dependent energy system, and toward a future where nearly everything will run on electricity produced by zero-carbon resources.

The second part of the effort to combat climate change has, until recently, attracted relatively less attention. Carbon dioxide removal is the process of removing carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere. CDR can be used to offset some of today’s CO2 emissions, and might some day even be able to turn back the clock, by lowering the concentration of atmospheric carbon to levels that existed on an earlier, less hot Earth. CDR will be a key part of any plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of this century, as the United States, the European Union, and a growing number of countries have proposed to do.

In the podcast, five experts discuss CDR in its many forms, from cutting edge technologies to fundamental nature-based processes, and explore the complex, industrial-scale undertaking that will be required to remove CO2 at scale. The guests, whose research is available in the newly published, online CDR Primer, also look at potential moral hazards, equity challenges and unforeseen consequences of carbon dioxide removal.

Erica L. Belmont is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wyoming.

Jeremy Freeman is Executive Director at CarbonPlan

Noah McQueen is a Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania

Peter Psarras is research assistant professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania

Toly Rinberg is an Applied Physics Ph.D. Student at Harvard University

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A Primer On Carbon Dioxide Removal

A Primer On Carbon Dioxide Removal

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy