Study Points To Africa And South America As ‘Blindspot’ In Carbon Removal Research

Study Points To Africa And South America As 'Blindspot' In Carbon Removal Research - Carbon Herald
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A recent study highlights the lack of evidence regarding the costs, impacts, and benefits of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) in Africa and South America, where many CDR initiatives are planned.

The review, conducted by a collaborative team from the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, Humboldt University of Berlin, and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, calls for a nuanced understanding of CDR’s complexities and implications to inform effective climate change mitigation strategies.

CDR encompasses a wide array of methods aimed at extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, ranging from reforestation and soil carbon enhancement to advanced technologies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

Despite the crucial role of CDR in achieving global and national greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, the study underscores the disproportionate focus of existing research on Europe, Asia, and the global scale.

“The underrepresentation of Africa and South America in the scientific literature is critical since these regions are considered essential for CDR deployment,” lead author Ruben Prütz said in a note on the review, published by Imperial College London on Monday.

However, existing studies predominantly highlight negative aspects, such as impacts on biodiversity, soil quality, and land use.

Moreover, uncertainties persist regarding the effectiveness and scalability of certain CDR methods, with concerns raised about potential delays in climate action and the shifting of mitigation burdens to other nations, possibly conflicting with international law.

Relevant: Carbon Removals At COP Unveils Interactive World Map Of CDR Projects

Amidst these challenges, the study also identifies positive outcomes associated with CDR, including improvements in soil fertility, crop yields, and biodiversity.

However, the authors stress the context dependency of these benefits, cautioning against simplistic generalizations.

They advocate for further research to comprehensively assess the impacts, side effects, contextual nuances, and implementation modalities of CDR, particularly in regions like Africa and South America.

“Not every removal measure is studied in equal depth and for all countries. Looking at our inventory allows us to direct research attention to start filling these gaps,” Professor Joeri Rogelj, co-author and Director of Research at the Grantham Institute, concluded.

Read more: CDR.fyi Releases Its 2023 Year In Review Highlighting Major Trends In Carbon Removal

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