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Oxford Study about Carbon Direct Air Capture. Revisiting COP28 Diaries and a January 2023 post.

Today is Thursday, December 28, 2023.

As you probably followed earlier this month, we posted diaries for each and every COP-28 day. Contentwise, very rich.

Today we will elaborate on one of the panels we attended, that we quoted in our "COP28 Diary, 5th December 2023, Carbon Credit Markets Special."

We refer to “Capture de Opportunity: The role of carbon removals in addressing the global stocktake”.

One of the panelists, Ross McKenzie, comenting about the huge challenge of Carbon Direct Removal (CDR) and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BEECS) quoted a figure that raised questions by some of our readers: that 99% of CO2 "is removed by trees".

A few days later, we spoke again with him on purpose of that reference. And his reply was the following:

"Yes the figure is actually 99.9% and the figure comes from Oxford University in a report they published this year."

Indeed. Early this year, in January, Carbon Credit Markets posted "For the first time, Scientists calculate how much CO₂ is being removed from the atmosphere".

Recalling the highlights of the report:

  • For the first time, a new report provides a comprehensive assessment of the current state of global carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

  • 99.9% of current CDR is from conventional methods such as afforestation and 0.1% is from novel methods such as biochar, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), and direct air capture with carbon capture and storage (DACCS).

  • There is a large gap between how much CDR countries are planning and what is needed to meet the Paris Agreement goal.

  • 1,300x more CDR from new technologies – and twice as much from trees and soils – may be necessary to limit temperatures to well below 2°C.

And from our January 2023 post:

"In a study led by University of Oxford, scientists have calculated for the first time that every year, about two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) are being removed from the atmosphere. As a reference ... current CO₂ emissions per year from fossil fuels and cement to be around ... of 36.6 GtCO2 ... This means that successful removal would represent slightly over 5% of what is being emitted. About 99.9% of this CO₂ removal occurs through “conventional means”, such as restoring previously deforested ones, creating new forests, better managing soils and optimize wood usage and products. Basically forests. On the other hand, representing the remaing 0.1%, we have Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), that involves capturing CO₂ from the atmosphere and storing it for decades to millennia on land, in the ocean, in geological formations or in products. Basically carbon capture and storage. Specially in the developed countries - or countries without much land to restore forests - innovation in CDR has expanded substantially, exemplified by R&D, in patents and capacity investment. And CDR has been subject of increasing public attention. Last December, the US Department of Energy committed $3.7 billion (€3.4bn) to finance CO₂ removal projects. The European Union, meanwhile, aims to capture five million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030. And in 2022 we also had news about the "OPEC for rainforests", congregating Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)".

Click here for the Oxford report's portal and at the image below to our January 2023 article, from where you can download CDR data and the report "The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal" (graphs and schemes are great !).

Last but not least, we thank Ross McKenzie for all attention.


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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