"Australia’s latest State of the Climate Report
offers grim reading. As if
recent floods weren’t bad enough, the report warns of worsening fire seasons,
more drought years and, when rain comes, more intense downpours. It begs the
question: is it too late to avoid dangerous warming?
At the COP27 climate summit in Egypt some states began to question whether the
target to limit global warming to 1.5℃ this century should be dropped. The
commitment was ultimately retained, but it remains unlikely we’ll meet it.
This means attention is turning to other options for climate action, including
large-scale carbon removal.
Carbon removal refers to human activities that take carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere and store it (ideally permanently) – in rock formations, land or
ocean reservoirs. The more common, and least controversial, forms of carbon
removal are tree-planting, mangrove restoration and enhancing soil carbon.
All forms of carbon removal - including natural and high-tech measures - are
defined as forms of geoengineering. All are increasingly part of the global
Proponents argue carbon removal is required at a massive scale to avoid
dangerous warming. But the practice is fraught. Successfully stripping carbon
from the atmosphere at the scale our planet requires is a deeply uncertain
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics