The recent IPCC Working Group I report summarized the state of our climate in stark terms: We are on a disastrous climate pathway and immediate action is required to avoid a climate catastrophe.
There may have been a time in the past where removing legacy emissions from the atmosphere was not necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but that is not the case today. The IPCC WG1 report concludes with high confidence that some carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is essential to keeping temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. The IPCC finding is broadly consistent with earlier scientific studies, including the National Academies and the UK Academy of Engineering.
As more attention turns to CDR as a potential solution to complement mitigation efforts, there is considerable work to be done to scale carbon removal strategies effectively and equitably. Carbon removal’s promise must be balanced with current limitations and developed in a way that supports environmental and climate justice priorities. For this, philanthropy can be a pivotal partner to private, public, and civil actors working to catalyze collaborative, inclusive approaches to carbon removal.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s climate commitment supports the responsible development of carbon removal. It is important that more resources are directed toward better understanding the opportunities and challenges associated with taking legacy carbon dioxide out of the air. As a grant recipient, we will use the funding to support research on scaling equitable carbon removal solutions as well as helping community-led, grassroots organizations engage on carbon removal.
ClimateWorks’ Carbon Dioxide Removal Program supports research and engagement on several natural, ocean, and technological climate solutions. Learn more about the program here.