An independent report by the University of Oxford, published on Thursday, estimates that two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere annually. However, this is done mainly by trees, despite the rising costs of new technology.
The report is the first to assess the CO2 reductions the world has achieved, and the amount still needed.
According to the Paris Agreement, new technologies are estimated to remove 1,300 times more carbon dioxide by 2050 and twice as much from trees and soil to keep pre-industrial temperatures below two degrees Celsius.
“CO2 removal is rapidly moving up agendas,” said report co-author Steve Smith, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford who spoke to Reuters. But he said that despite growing interest and investment, “there are major gaps in information.”
Until now, practically all efficient CO2 removal has been accomplished through soil improvement and tree planting. Global investments in new CO2 removal rates have grown to $200 million between 2020 and 2022, and public research and development have grown to $4 billion since 2010.
Although most countries do not currently plan to use CO2 removal to meet their 2030 short-term climate goals, many consider it an integral part of their 2050 net-zero approach.
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