New National Academies Report: Negative Emissions Technologies Must Play a Stronger Role in Mitigating Climate Change

Nov 2, 2018

Continuing with the climate change discourse galvanized by the publication of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) has released its own report pushing for stronger use of technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the air. The report calls for “negative emissions technologies” (NETs) to play a larger role in siphoning CO2 out of the air and sequestering it in efforts to mitigate climate change.

“Negative emissions technologies are essential to offset carbon dioxide emissions that would be difficult to eliminate and should be viewed as a component of the climate change mitigation portfolio,” said Stephen Pacala, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University and chair of the committee.  “Most climate mitigation efforts are intended to decrease the rate at which people add carbon from fossil fuel reservoirs to the atmosphere.  We focused on the reverse – technologies that take carbon out of the air and put it back into ecosystems and the land.  We determined that a substantial research initiative should be launched to advance these promising technologies as soon as possible.”

The report explains that there are already four land-based NETs that are ready for deployment: reforestation; changes in forest management; changes in agricultural practices that enhance soil carbon storage; and bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration. These technologies are competitively priced with other emissions mitigations strategies, however they also each come with their own set of downsides. The report also examines direct air capture and coastal blue carbon as two additional NETs with strong potential capacity to remove carbon, but explains that these two technologies are currently limited by high costs.

To read the report in full, click here: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25259/negative-emissions-technologies-and-reliable-sequestration-a-research-agenda