Greenhouse 

gas removal

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  • Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) refers to anything that removes and sequesters previously emitted greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

  • GGR is distinct from emissions reduction technologies, which reduce the entry of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

  • A very diverse range of GGR technologies have been proposed, at many different stages of technology development.

  • Recent estimates suggest that even in a scenario of hugely ambitious efforts to reduce emissions, the UK would need to remove and sequester around 90 million tonnes of CO2 every year by 2050. This is mostly to compensate for sectors which are difficult to completely decarbonise, such as aviation and agriculture.

  • GGR proposals differ in how long they can sequester CO2 for. The most advanced techniques, such as planting trees, can only store CO2 for a short amount of time. Techniques which can deliver long-term, large-scale removals are at an early stage of development. The risk of technology failure means that cutting emissions needs to take priority.

  • Developing new innovations ethically and effectively requires consideration of societal issues early on. GGR should not be seen as simply an engineering challenge. Many people are concerned that GGR merely treats the symptoms of the problem, not the cause, and that it could divert attention away from climate mitigation.

  • GGR at the scale required for the UK will require multiple £ billions worth of investment per annum, estimated at 1-2% of total tax revenues by 2050. The lack of an economic incentive to scale up these technologies is a major barrier

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