Good news for people who love carbon dioxide removal (and that’s all of us): our very first episode of This is CDR is now available to watch on YouTube!
This is CDR is an ongoing series of online events to explore the range of carbon dioxide removal solutions that are currently being developed. For our inaugural session, we were lucky to welcome Dr. Evvan Morton (@E_doubleV_PhD), whose research focuses on the effectiveness of U.S. policies governing carbon dioxide emissions. Dr. Morton’s core point is a simple one: If our carbon-saturated atmosphere is like an overflowing bathtub, it’s not enough to turn off the faucet (reduce the amount of carbon we’re emitting); we also have to drain the bathtub (remove the carbon we’ve already emitted). As she notes, even if we completely stopped CO2 emissions tomorrow, we would still feel the effects of high CO2 atmospheric concentrations for at least another 1000 years. So, as important as it is for us to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions, CDR is going to be crucial to any liveable future.
Dr. Morton also suggests thinking about carbon dioxide emissions as a waste management problem. The government regulates production of waste, and companies that create waste are legally obligated to deal with it. (Though maybe not to the degree that they should be!) We could apply the same idea to CO2 emissions; a company could be prevented from dumping CO2 into the atmosphere through the same regulatory structure that prevents them from dumping trash into the ocean. Thinking about CO2 emissions in terms of waste management also makes clear that a lot of jobs could come out of a government embrace of CDR. You can read Dr. Morton’s paper about CDR governance here.
We’re so grateful to Dr. Morton for joining us! Please enjoy the video, and make sure to check back for episode 2 of This is CDR.