4. It takes a village to do carbon removal right
Widespread deployment of technology that sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere will require lots of cross-border cooperation and complex judgments about nations' varying responsibilities, a new peer-reviewed paper concludes, writes Axios' Ben Geman.
The big picture: "Building the global partnership needed for an efficient CDR [carbon dioxide removal] solution will not be easy owing to technical, political, regulatory, accounting and social acceptability challenges. However, potential mutual benefits are large," an analysis in Nature Climate Change states.
Why it matters: Holding global warming greatly in check will demand various methods such as bioenergy with carbon capture, direct air capture machines and large-scale forestation, the paper notes.
- It points to a late 2018 UN scientific review that found holding temperature rise to 1.5°C — the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement — means removing CO2, not just slowing and stopping new emissions.
- "[T]he most plausible and realistic pathways to meet our ambitious climate goals may be through strengthening CDR cooperative actions," it notes.
What they did: The authors of the paper created a global model for assigning nations CO2 removal "quotas" under "responsibility, capability and equality" principles.
What they found: The allocation for different regions, and even nations within those regions, varies — sometimes vastly — depending on which of those frameworks you apply.
- OECD countries would have 38% of the cumulative quotas by 2100 under the "responsibility" filter, 54% under "capability," but only 11% based on "equality."
- By 2100, Asia would have 7% under the "capability" filter, but 43% under the "equality" method of cumulative allotment.
- The United States' quota is roughly twice as high under "responsibility" as it is under "capability."
What's next: "One of the main takeaways from this preliminary analysis is that cooperation will be critical for successful deployment of CDR and so we are keen to further extend our analysis by exploring different mechanisms for cooperation," said David Reiner, a co-author of the paper.