E01 Introduction to CDR

This Is CDR E01 An Intro to Carbon Dioxide Removal - explores CDR solutions and contextualizes applications

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Toby Bryce host, Introduces OpenAir and today’s guest: Evvan Morton, PhD, explaining what is CDR and why do it

Dr. Morton studies carbon dioxide removal issues, supports STEM and inclusivity
Graduate of Arizona state, student of Klaus Lochner

Why do CDR, what is it, how does it help climate?
CO2 concentration is rising about 2%/year - now more than in the past few million years. CO2 originates from various industries and burning of fossil fuels, and now the atmospheric capacity is exceeded (bathtub analogy)
As we add CO2 we create a dangerous global warming trend - beyond 1.5 or 2.0C there are high risks to health, food and water security, and economic growth. As we move toward 2.0C all areas are being affected and changes become severe.

The concept in public is that we can simply turn off the CO2 faucet - stop emitting CO2. But that is only part of the problem - the bathtub is already full - the atmosphere will have high CO2 for 1000 years without help. We have to do both: stop emissions and remove CO2

The US has been looking at CO2 as emission issue - a pollutant. But the lifetime of CO2 is much longer than other conventional pollutants. It is a different issue - the natural cycles are insufficient and we must add CO2 removal capacity.
Diagram for routes to remove CO2 - there are various options - forests, soil, biochar, bioenergy, DAC, enhanced weathering, ocean alkalinization, and ocean fertilization for examples.

CDR is not CCS (carbon capture and storage) - but CCS is not an atmospheric removal concept, it is a point source control

Goals: Create solutions to reduce emission as well as reduce existing atmosphere concentrations. We must do waste management - not just stop filling the waste accumulation, but also remediate the accumulation

Biogals.com promotion
Recap by Toby Bryce. Review plan of action points:

  • Ensure good governance - net zero and net-negative targets are essential. CDR is essential. We have to get to net zero by 2050 and be moving toward net-negative - separate goals
  • Public carbon removal service needed - make fossil fuel industries responsible for implementing removals
  • Create national carbon accounting standard - there are varying standards that give different results. We need a consistent approach to avoid loopholes and create inequality of result.
  • Ensure equity - take care of the most-impacted communities for lost industry and for harmed communities from climate impact. Positive impacts should flow to imp[acted
  • Include CDR in international discussions - needs to be in COPs (pre-COP26)
    How does a public service look? A way to create jobs, jobs in front-line communities where needed. Benefits of CDR to improve air quality, and deliver economic benefit. The market can’t necessarily do this.

Global climate policy - there is a global equity issue also. Global north has produced emissions and harms and must take responsibility. The global north should initiate these conversations and provide funds to help international programs: fund knowledge transfer and develop infrastructure (Dr. Buck) - do technology transfers.

We have to do CDR in the global north and not impose burden on the south. But there are technology transfers that can benefit the south.
Audience questions

Moral hazard issue - CDR could curtail emission control? There IS a risk. There must be two targets one for net zero and one for net-negative.
Are there CDR policy initiatives - Not yet.
OpenAir is trying to get state involvement, but there is a lot more to do

Economic feasibility - what is needed in policy and generally? DOE is starting to set good goals. Research is beginning and effort is growing. Costs should come down now.

Permanence of CDR - what is the hierarchy; the accounting standard must account for how well carbon stays out of the atmosphere. Goals have to reflect the permanence.
How far from a carbon tax and is it necessary? We are far from any global carbon tax - it is hardly being discussed. That is something that can be helpful and we need global approach.

There are nascent ideas - various concepts - being debated, not about to implement.
The accounting database is a first step. We need to push this internationally
Why are we thinking of 2050 instead of, say 2030? 2050 “sounds” good. But there is good reason to look at targeting 2030 even though it is soon.

How can students and young professionals get involved? Attend these sorts of webinars and learn. Carbon180 has good information. Read reports. Do grad. School! There are companies doing work. Work ethic is important. We need all kinds of expertises.

There is a CDR primer at OpenAir, visit AirMiners, OpenAir has lively Discord discussion.