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Is carbon dioxide removal ‘mitigation of climate change’?

Wil Burns's picture
Visiting Professor, Environmental Policy & Culture Program, Northwestern University

Dr. Wil Burns is a Visiting Professor in the Environmental Policy & Culture Program at Northwestern University. Prior to this, he was the Founding Co-Director of the Institute for Carbon...

  • Member since 2020
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  • May 28, 2021
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Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is often characterized as separate from climate change
mitigation. Discussion of CDR governance –despite enjoying growing interest –tends
to overlook how key provisions on mitigation apply. Similarly, many climate policy
processes have ignored CDR. CDR may have been discursively held separate from
‘mitigation’ due to a partial conceptual overlap with ‘geoengineering’. We unpack
how the ‘mitigation of climate change’ –as defined in the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement –includes CDR as defined by
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We point to important implications
and opportunities for strengthening governance by enhanced clarity regarding parties’
obligations, principled equitable distribution of removal efforts, prioritization of
rapid emissions reductions and careful paths to long-term removals, and a need for considering sustainability

and human rights issues in the pursuit of CDR.

Discussions
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 1, 2021

What are the types of human right issues that most need highlighting? 

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