Several organizations including the Carbon Business Council, Negative Emissions Platform, Carbon Gap, Openair Collective, and the Direct Air Capture Coalition have signed an open letter to the European Parliament ITRE Committee calling for the inclusion of carbon dioxide removal in the Net-Zero Industry Act of the EU, highlighting its critical role for achieving Europe’s net zero goals.
The letter states that the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) provides a great opportunity to promote greater climate ambition worldwide and support nascent technologies that are fundamental in achieving global emissions reductions. However, the text in the policy proposed by the Commission falls short by not including carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies in the definition of the net zero technologies that will benefit from the regulation.
As the letter explains, the omission is paradoxical as the deployment of carbon dioxide removal across the EU is considered crucial to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and negative emissions thereafter.
Carbon removal technologies include nature-based and engineered technologies that actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere thus taking care of historic and unavoidable emissions that are currently present in our atmosphere, warming it and that would otherwise take centuries to be naturally sequestered.
The letter signed by the organizations highlights the scientific case behind carbon dioxide removal stating that in its sixth assessment report published last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it is specified that net zero is impossible without CDR. The IPCC states that if the world aims to reach net zero globally, humans will have to remove at least 10 billion metric tons of CO2 per year by 2050. Currently, the world is removing 2 billion metric tons of CO2 per year but only 0.1% comes from highly-durable and permanent CDR which impedes its efforts.
According to the letter, the Net-Zero Industry Act proposes beneficiaries as technologies with a TRL of 8 or more under the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Technology Readiness Level (TRL) system. The organizations warn that including only technologies that are currently ready to deploy and scale quickly could hinder innovation and unnecessarily impede the pace of advancement of carbon removal efforts.
“With new CDR technologies continuing to undergo constant innovation and development, it is imperative that the NZIA make clear provisions to support technologies with a lower-TRL that would help shape the trajectory of the EU not only in the present but also for the foreseeable years ahead,” the letter explains.