IPCC to assess carbon removal tech

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be assessing the ability and practicality of using technological solutions to carbon removal in a report to be published in early April.

The third instalment of the Sixth Assessment Report, the Working Group III contribution is looking into the progress made in limiting global emissions and the available mitigation options across systems and sectors. It will assess options available for the future in technological, environmental, economic and social dimensions. In particular the IPCC co-chair says the mitigation report will look more closely at ways of removing CO2 that is already in the atmosphere.

"We have a lot more material, this time on carbon dioxide removal. That is, not putting carbon into the atmosphere, but getting it out again," said Prof Jim Skea, from Imperial College, London.

"The report was scoped out to cover the full spectrum of carbon dioxide removal approaches, which vary absolutely hugely, and the carbon dioxide that is removed can end up in very different stores and in very different places. So it was within the scope of the report to cover the whole lot, basically." He added.

The use of technology is controversial. Campaigners have expressed doubts that they can be made to work economically and there are also concerns that technology could be seen as an excuse not to make the major changes in energy production that are needed. But the IPCC say that the situation is now so serious that carbon dioxide removal will be needed in addition to massive cuts in emissions and not as a substitute for them.

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