Carbon dioxide removal is an emerging and fast-moving field, with few sources of high-quality information tailored for policymakers and other stakeholders in individual countries. Addressing this knowledge gap is one of Carbon Gap’s core missions, and we are pleased to announce the release of Understanding Carbon Dioxide Removal (French title: L’élimination du carbone atmospherique), a collaboration between Carbon Gap, Zenon Research, and Mines Paristech, to develop French-language carbon removal content that will serve to inform and inspire future commitments to carbon removal by the French government.
The six-page brief provides a general overview of the science of carbon removal, its role in addressing climate change, and the various methods that can safely and reliably remove carbon directly from the air and store it, including forestation, direct air capture, biochar, mineralization, and more. The brief also features a fresh, artistically-inspired visual to showcase the diversity of these methods.
This brief will be the first of many projects to raise the profile of carbon removal within national governments. Across Europe, there is an important role for national policymaking in supporting carbon removal, where even small commitments from early leaders can significantly advance the field and help ensure good governance rules for carbon removal from the beginning. At Carbon Gap, we want to help create and support more champions in governments and national organisations to take up the cause of carbon removal and kick-start a race to the top for new and innovative carbon removal policy.
Though France is already a leader in some areas of climate action, there is not yet any national commitment to carbon removal. Sylvain Delerce, a co-author of the brief and a researcher at The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), highlighted that “Even in very well-educated spheres and among decision makers, there is this belief that France is doing great on the carbon challenge because of the nuclear industry.” This brief helps address that belief, by highlighting the need, challenges, and opportunities of carbon removal.
The need for more carbon removal content in languages other than English was highlighted by the process of preparing the brief. While ‘carbon removal’ has been firmly established as the umbrella term for various methods in English, the same has not yet happened in French and a literal translation is not possible. Following a survey of researchers and advocates in France, the authors decided that ‘elimination du carbone atmosphérique’ (elimination of atmospheric carbon) was the term that most clearly communicated what carbon removal does. This term is also the one used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The report was launched on Tuesday, July 12 with an event hosted in Paris, and attended by elected officials, civil servants, journalists, and climate experts. Programming included the launch of the report, as well as short talks and panel discussion by representatives of the International Energy Agency, Marble Studio, Lowercarbon Capital, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, among others. The full recorded event is viewable below.
Carbon Gap is actively seeking partners in other countries in Europe to bring a version of this brief and other carbon removal content to their jurisdictions, especially partners who bring expertise in communicating effectively with local policymakers and who know what’s needed to make an impact and leave a lasting impression. “This is about European cooperation to access the best policy ideas,” says Eli Mitchell-Larsson, Carbon Gap’s Launch Director. “We can’t have that without bringing into the conversation the people who are having these policy conversations in those countries in their local language.” If your organisation would be interested in partnering with Carbon Gap, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.