Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) refers to approaches that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. CDR encompasses a wide array of approaches, including direct air capture (DAC) coupled to durable storage, soil carbon sequestration, biomass carbon removal and storage, enhanced mineralization, ocean-based CDR, and afforestation/reforestation. CDR does not refer to point source carbon capture for the fossil fuel or industrial sector. Paired with simultaneous deployment of mitigation measures and other carbon management practices, CDR is a tool to address emissions from the hardest to decarbonize sectors—like agriculture and transportation—and to eventually remove legacy CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.
The world faces an urgent need to stop the increase of atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels and their devastating impacts of climate change. Given limited progress on rapidly cutting global GHG emissions—or mitigation—over the past several decades, CDR is now recognized as a critical component for achieving ambitious climate goals like a net zero GHG economy by 2050. To achieve these goals, FECM envisions the deployment of diverse CDR approaches to facilitate gigatonne-scale removal by mid-century, with rigorous analysis of life cycle impacts and a deep commitment to environmental justice.