A cool photo of our natural Carbon Dioxide Removal factories by Guy Bowden
A cool welcome to the fourth Expedition newsletter of Survivaltech.club!
This week, we will learn about Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) - ways to get the excess CO2 out from the atmosphere.
Some of you may have noticed in Survivaltech.club’s social media that I also launched The Pioneers-interview series this week! In this series, I interview and share the learnings from climate startup founders, investors, and researchers.
Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) means removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it so that it cannot enter the atmosphere for a long time. This long-term storage of CO2 is called sequestration in science.
With CDR, there will be fewer CO2 molecules in the atmosphere. Less CO2 molecules, on the other hand, means that there less infrared radiation (=heat) arriving from the Earth gets absorbed and re-emitted back to the Earth. (For more details or to refresh your memory, see The Expedition #1: Laying the foundations for climate action)
Why is CDR important?
Our humankind needs to start both:
Slashing those greenhouse gas emissions &
Pulling greenhouse gases from the atmosphere (CDR)
Both approaches are necessary to limit global warming to 2℃, not to mention 1.5℃. In no scenario can we treat CDR as a silver bullet for climate change and postpone reducing emissions.
However, we have already emitted so much greenhouse gases that pulling some of them out is necessary. Since 1751, our humankind has emitted over 1.5 trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The IPCC noted in its 2018 report that “all pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on the order of 100–1000 GtCO2 over the 21st century.”
We need to yearly remove 10 Gigatons (Gt) of CO2 by 2050 and then ramp up to 20 Gt of CO2 by 2100 to limit the warming below 2℃ according to UNEP. For 1.5℃, the scale would be significantly larger.
The longer we wait with slashing CO2 emissions, the more critical CDR technologies will become for the survival of our humankind.
Quick note: I like to categorize and draw stuff to make sense of the complex world surrounding me. That’s why I started this mind map in Miro. I will fill weekly when exploring different climate challenges and science-based solutions.
Back to CDRs! Each of the three categories holds multiple possible solutions.
1. Biological solutions
Restoration and forest management
Soil carbon sequestration
Soil amendments and nutrient management
2. Engineered solutions
Direct Air Capture (DAC)
Carbon Capture and Use (CCU)
3. Hybrid Solutions
Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage
Aquatic and terrestrial algae and biological communities