A new report issued by the Energy Transitions Commission suggests the need for a $15 trillion investment in carbon removal to limit global warming over the next 30 years.
The report describes how carbon dioxide removals (CDRs) used in combination with other global decarbonization efforts may give the world a “50/50 chance” of reversing climate change and keeping global warming limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The London-based think tank has come up with an estimate of 70 to 220 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 will need to be removed from the atmosphere between now and 2050 to meet climate goals.
This can be achieved with the help of a mix of technological solutions, such as direct air capture (DAC), and nature-based climate solutions, such as regenerative agricultural practices and reforestation.
Hybrid solutions, such as the combinations of carbon capture and storage (CCS) with bioenergy, were also mentioned in the report.
As per the scenario described by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETR), CDRs have the potential of increasing from near zero right now to 3.5 Gt per year by 2030.
This could bring cumulative carbon sequestration up to 165 Gt of CO2 by 2050.
The cost of the matter is estimated to be in the realm of $15 trillion, which amounts to about 0.25% of the projected global GDP for the same period.
ETR chair Adair Turner stressed the importance of using both CDRs and deep decarbonization, as it is not a question of ‘either or’.
Both types of efforts were described as essential and urgently necessary if we are to prevent the devastating effects of the climate crisis in the very near future.
Turner also emphasized the need for more investment to scale CO2 removal rapidly in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
As a means of advancing this process, he mentioned the crucial role that voluntary carbon markets will have to play, although they will likely only help reach a third of the required 2030 volume.