Why is Carbon Removal Required?

Let's go back in time...

Our planet naturally works to maintain balance between oceans, forests, land and atmosphere – this is the ecosystem that allows us to inhabit the Earth. From 0AD to 1800, this balance meant that CO2 in the atmosphere was relatively consistent.

Then came the industrial revolution, and the way humans interacted with the world changed dramatically. Since then, we’ve burnt significant amounts of fossil fuel, and changed the way land is used through processes like large-scale deforestation. Around half of the emissions caused by human activity have ended up in the atmosphere (1) and caused the planet to warm, disrupting the natural balance. This is known as the greenhouse effect.

What's Next?

Scientists and leaders agree that we must work together to limit global warming to 2 (or even better, 1.5) degrees this century. If we don’t do this, we will dramatically reduce our planet's liveability by increasing our exposure to extreme weather– with far-reaching consequences for the whole planet (2).

The world’s carbon budget, which represents our limit for CO2 in the atmosphere before we compromise the planet's liveability, is fast running out.

What can we do?

To hit these climate targets, we need to both reduce the amount we emit and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

We need to be removing between 10 and 15 billion tonnes of CO2 each year by 2050. To put this in context, all passenger cars in the world emitted around 3.6 billion tonnes in 2018 (IEA, 2018).

With Sourceful Climate we can work together to scale permanent carbon removal technologies. This means they can grow faster and we can hit the planet’s climate targets.

Sources

  1. Global Carbon Budget 2016, Le Quéré et al, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 8, 605–649, 2016, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-8-605-2016
  2. IPCC, 2018: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, H. O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J. B. R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M. I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Press.
  3. C. D. Keeling, S. C. Piper, R. B. Bacastow, M. Wahlen, T. P. Whorf, M. Heimann, and H. A. Meijer, Exchanges of atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 with the terrestrial biosphere and oceans from 1978 to 2000. I. Global aspects, SIO Reference Series, No. 01-06, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, 88 pages, 2001
  4. Macfarling Meure, C. et al., 2006: Law Dome CO2, CH4 and N2O ice core records extended to 2000 years BP. Geophysical Research Letters, 33.
  5. Global Carbon Budget 2020, Friedlingstein et al, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 3269–3340, 2020, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-12-3269-2020