Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration

cdr2Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) techniques that aim to remove and sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere have been identified as an important part of the portfolio of responses to climate change. These approaches have been garnering new attention as the international community has identified lower thresholds for global temperature increases, which can only be accomplished with net negative carbon emissions to the atmosphere. However, many of these CDR technologies are not yet viable in terms of cost and scalability, and any potential risks that deployment of these techniques would entail are not fully understood. The proposed study would aim to develop a detailed research and development agenda needed to assess the benefits, risks, and sustainable scale potential for carbon dioxide removal and sequestration approaches; and increase their commercial viability.

Statement of Task

Collaborating Boards at the Academies

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Ocean Studies Board

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources

Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

Board on Energy and Environmental Systems

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study to:

  1. Identify the most urgent unanswered scientific and technical questions needed to:
    1. assess the benefits, risks, and sustainable scale potential for carbon dioxide removal and sequestration approaches; and
    2. increase the commercial viability of carbon dioxide removal and sequestration;
  2. Define the essential components of a research and development program and specific tasks required to answer these questions;
  3. Assess the costs and benefits of such a research and development program to the extent possible in the timeframe of the study.
  4. Recommend ways to implement such a research and development program.

cdr1The list of CDR approaches to be examined would include land management, accelerated weathering, bioenergy with capture, direct air capture, geologic sequestration, blue carbon approaches, and other approaches deemed by the study committee to be of similar viability.

Relevant Academies Resources

Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration

Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation

Novel Approaches to Carbon Management: Separation, Capture, Sequestration, and Conversion to Useful Products–Workshop Report

Climate Change at the Academies website

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