New Report Says Cities Have A Key Role To Play In Carbon Removal

New Report Says Cities Have A Key Role To Play In Carbon Removal - Carbon Herald

Cities and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) haven’t been mentioned that often together, with most of the attention in the industry going towards specific technologies or harnessing natural solutions. But a report authored by XPRIZE Carbon Removal, Global Carbon Removal Partnership, and South Pole says cities are uniquely positioned to have an outsized impact, should the right mechanisms be put in place.

If we look at the source of global CO2 emissions, we can see that around 70% come from urban envrionments. This is what the “City CDR Initiative” focuses on, as it pinpoints two main goals – building capacity for cities to advance CDR and creating a coalition of cities that adopt a variety of approaches involving emission removals.

Are cities a sleeping giant for carbon removal?

The beginnings of the initiative stem from a specific European city, according to one of the report’s co-authors, Christiaan Gevers Deynoot: “The start was several years ago when South Pole was commissioned by the city of Amsterdam to prepare a report investigating the potential for carbon removal in and around the city area. The national government had just increased its 2030 emission reduction target, and the city was lookig for ways to reach that goal and it realized that one of the ways to do this was through carbon removal.”

Research identified that biogenic emissions were contributing over 1 million tons of CO2 to the city’s total, representing low hanging fruit in terms of emissions that can be removed and stored in a measurable way.

The “Pathways to Net-Zero Cities: The Role of Cities in Advancing Carbon Removal” report is expected to serve as a baseline and provides a deep dive on the six pathways cities have at their disposal to develop CDR.

Source: ‘Pathways to Net-Zero Cities: The Role of Cities in Advancing Carbon Removal’

These six directions – the city as a strategizer, regulator, service provider, innovator, funder or convener – can be supported with different sets of tools that advance carbon removal. Working examples for each of them are provided in the report. Each city has its own particularities, not only in terms of their capacity to act, but also in terms of the potential for different CDR project types, according to Gevers Deynoot.

He also adds that “CDR policy shouldn’t be a vertical, but a horizontal. CDR projects […] should be designed with a view towards maximizing co-benefits like city greening, addressing heat stress and improving air quality,” making the case that the winning formula is to position removals as something city administrators can use to achieve other existing priorities.

Project developers and cities

The report also explores the other side of the equation – the specific projects that provide the “supply” side of carbon removal. A variety of examples of City CDR are given across the spectrum of carbon removal approaches, from direct air capture in Flagstaff, Arizona to ocean restoration in Miami and Yokohama.

XPRIZE Carbon Removal also asked carbon project developers participating in its competition about their perspective on developing projects in tandem with cities. Questions like “How are cities involved in advancing your solutions today?” and “What policy or regulatory support could cities provide to help advance your solution?” unveiled a clear trend – developers want cities to be more active in supporting CDR deployment.

Source: ‘Pathways to Net-Zero Cities: The Role of Cities in Advancing Carbon Removal’

A subsequent report will look at identifying the nature of different project value chains and how to facilitate their development in cities across the globe. This will be part of the next steps for the City CDR Initiative in which co-authoring organizations like the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and C40 Cities will work together with XPRIZE Carbon Removal, South Pole and the Global Carbon Removal Partnership to tackle questions around GHG accounting, cross-policy links and ultimately building capacity.

You can find the full 50-page report here.

Read more: South Pole Announced New Validated Emissions Reduction Targets

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