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Addressing the Overflow: Carbon Removal’s Role in the Climate Crisis

A beautiful sunset over a calm ocean with vibrant orange and pink hues reflecting on the water.

From the perspectives of Breakthrough Energy (A company founded by Bill Gates in 2015, that aim to accelerate innovation in sustainable energy and in other technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.), Mike Boots, the Executive Vice President, brings to light an often-overlooked but crucial aspect of our climate crisis strategy: the imperative of carbon removal. Through the analogy of an “overflowing bathtub,” he vividly illustrates our current environmental predicament. Our atmosphere is akin to a bathtub, steadily brimming with greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, edging dangerously close to ‘overflowing’ – a metaphor for the escalation to perilous global temperatures.

Here are the key points we gathered from the article:

  1. Carbon removal technologies like direct air capture (DAC) are essential to meet climate goals, but there is concern they may fall off the agenda at COP28.
  2. Some worry carbon removal could provide an “excuse” to keep emitting, but many now agree we need “all tools available” including mitigation, adaptation, and removal.
  3. DAC uses chemical processes to permanently remove CO2 from air. It’s costly but costs expected to fall as deployment scales. Other removal methods like soils/forests have challenges.
  4. Removal critical because even if all countries fully meet net zero pledges, we’ll exceed 1.5C warming. Removal needed to minimize overshoot and bring temps back down.
  5. The COP28 “global stocktake” may downplay removal, which would miss educating on its necessity. Leaders have chance to advance carbon removal progress at COP28.
  6. Article argues we must both mitigate emissions (turn off tap) AND advance carbon removal (mop up floor) to keep planet at safe temperatures. Omitting removal tools risks climate goals.

In summary, makes a case for elevating and advancing carbon removal technologies like DAC at COP28, rather than neglecting their contribution, to give the best chance of meeting global climate commitments.

For a more in-depth understanding of this crucial issue, read the full article from Breakthrough Energy here.