Calling for a distinction between reductions and removals – Climeworks


To maximize our chances of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced at an unprecedented speed over the next decades: CO₂ emissions must decrease by at least 90% by 2050 according to the IPCC. In addition, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solutions are needed to neutralize any residual emissions and thus enable the world to achieve net zero CO₂ by 2050.

In line with what climate science states, Climeworks is calling for a clear and distinct role of CDR, which can be summarized as follows:

  • Besides emission reductions, CDR has an important role to play in the fight against global warming.
  • More importantly, it has a different role to play and should not be substituting emission reductions.
  • Hence, emission reductions and CDR should be clearly distinguished from each other – in climate pathways, target setting as well as in industry standards.
  • A clear distinction is moreover needed in marketplaces and certificates generated from the two activities: whilst they are important and meaningful for the achievement of a net-zero world, credits generated from emissions reductions and avoided emissions should cease to exist, as soon as we have achieved net-zero state. At the same time the world will continue to rely on CDR markets to neutralize residual and historic emissions to maintain net-zero CO₂, and later on realize net-negative CO₂ emissions globally.
  • Further, by explicitly splitting the contributions from emission reductions and removals, moral hazard is addressed, namely the claim that investing into CDR today could distract from emission reductions.


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