Carbon removals are never an excuse to keep fossil fuels in play or delay mitigation. They’re an additional measure that enables us to increase climate ambition.
We cannot tackle climate change if we keep burning fossil fuels, period.
Even if we ramped removals up to the maximum extent, It would be impossible to produce enough removals to compensate for continued fossil fuel use.
Negative Headwinds vs Enabling Narratives
Excuse for fossil fuels: “Carbon removals are an excuse for fossil fuel companies to avoid reducing production.”
Limited quantities: Even at scale, carbon removal will be a scarce public good – the volumes will be far too small to compensate for continuing to burn fossil fuels (around 10% of current emissions).
Just more offsets: We’ve seen what happens with offsets. It’s just greenwashing and an excuse for not putting in the hard work to decarbonize.
High quality, high cost: Effective carbon removals are not a greenwashing choice but a requirement to achieve net zero alongside decarbonization. They are also not cheap – indeed decarbonization measures often cost less per tonne than having to buy durable carbon removals.
Net negative: Carbon removal projects are additive to decarbonisation efforts and result in an overall reduction in atmospheric carbon.
Business as usual: “Fossil producers are using direct air capture as greenwashing to cover up business as usual.”
Transition is in progress: “Billions of dollars in investment is not business as usual. They clearly see the writing on the wall, a transition is on its way.”