Carbon Dioxide Removal

RMI Is Supporting an Essential New Field

Efforts to reduce emissions — by shifting to clean energy and industries — remain RMI’s top priority to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Yet, based on the best available science, emission reductions alone likely won’t be enough to achieve a 1.5°C-aligned future.

To avoid catastrophic climate change, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that, in addition to slashing emissions, we must remove up to 13 gigatons of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere annually by 2050.

A recent IPCC report makes the need for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) even more explicit: “The deployment of CDR to counterbalance hard-to-abate residual emissions is unavoidable if net zero carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions are to be achieved”.

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is likely to be needed to fulfill three roles that cannot be accomplished by emissions reductions alone:

  • Reducing net emissions during the clean energy transition to avoid overshoot of temperature targets before 2050.
  • Counteracting continued emissions after the energy transition from activities that are very expensive or technically infeasible to reduce emissions, like some forms of agriculture and aviation, to continue avoiding temperature overshoot after 2050.
  • Removing historical emissions after achieving net zero, to address any temperature overshoot that has occurred.

RMI’s approach to scaling CDR to meet this vital need is to catalyze open science, rapid innovation, new markets, and well-considered national- and state-level policies that address the concerns of the scientific community and the communities who have a stake in how CDR is deployed.

On the supply side, RMI supports work that helps implement scientific innovation, helps startup and early-stage ventures succeed, succeed, enriches community engagement, and advances commercial-scale demonstration projects.

On the demand side, RMI works to advance rigorous assessment frameworks, standards, and policy for the emerging CDR marketplace. We also work to identify best-fit solutions for specific geographies and industries.

The foundational pieces below lay out RMI’s approach to ensuring CDR’s responsible development.

Scroll further to see additional research, insights, and articles, and to meet our expert team.

Reality Check: Demystifying the Need for Carbon Dioxide Removal


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This Decade Is Make-or-Break for Direct Air Capture


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RMI has experts with perspectives across CDR solutions, including direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), geochemical CDR, and biomass, in addition to the larger CDR ecosystem. For media and speaking opportunities, please contact