We Need to Draw Down Carbon—Not Just Stop Emitting It
Carbon removal is no substitute for reducing climate pollution. But it is now a necessary tool to keep temperatures in check.
The report warns against the idea that removal can be a "silver bullet" and avoids the need for fast and steep cuts from fossil fuels to keep Paris Agreement goals within reach. But removal is a badly needed tool in the toolkit, even as mitigation — that is, preventing emissions — does by far the most work in climate-friendly energy pathways.
It's needed for a suite of reasons including the difficulty of fully decarbonizing some industrial sectors, even over decades; CO2 isn't the only planet-warming gas to worry about; even zeroing-out emissions can prevent more warming but "the only way to permanently reverse warming is through carbon removal." The authors warn against "stigmatizing" removal over fears it takes the pressure off emissions cutting. This could delay needed investment.