Meeting the challenge of climate change by reaching net zero carbon emissions will require rapidly scaling up new, sometimes as yet untried, measures to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. These greenhouse gas removal (GGR) techniques and technologies need to reach a scale that enables many countries to achieve net negative emissions after 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.
But recent accusations of wide scale ‘phantom credits’ being sold in the voluntary carbon offset markets call into question the ability of unregulated markets to scale up GGRs in a robust and sustainable way. While the carbon credits in question are not specifically GGRs, these scandals indicate the risk of undermining confidence in this industry at a time when it needs grow fast.
Green Alliance’s report explores issues around using GGRs to reduce climate impact, while minimising sustainability risks such as the possibility they could accelerate biodiversity loss in some cases. We proposed the UK needs a new Office for Carbon Removal to oversee the effective governance and regulation of this industry.
On Thursday 22 June 2023, this event discussed what the government should be doing to build confidence in the GGR industry, including how it can avoid scandals in offsetting markets, and whether the government should have a more active role in shaping and steering them. Is it necessary to decide which sectors of the economy can use GGRs and which just should do more to reduce their emissions to net zero?
The panel discussion was followed by an audience Q&A.
- Chair: Dr Caterina Brandmayr, director of policy and translation, Grantham Institute, Imperial College London
- James Elliott, senior policy adviser, Green Alliance
- Dr Steve Smith, executive director, Oxford Net Zero and CO2RE
- Donna Rourke, head of ESG and sustainability, BNP Paribas Real Estate