Headline: Is carbon dioxide removal ‘mitigation of climate change’?

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is often characterized as separate from climate change mitigation. Discussion of CDR governance – despite enjoying growing interest – tends to overlook how key provisions on mitigation apply. Similarly, many climate policy processes have ignored CDR. CDR may have been discursively held separate from ‘mitigation’ due to a partial conceptual overlap with ‘geoengineering’. We unpack how the ‘mitigation of climate change’ – as defined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement – includes CDR as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We point to important implications and opportunities for strengthening governance by enhanced clarity regarding parties’ obligations, principled equitable distribution of removal efforts, prioritization of rapid emissions reductions and careful paths to long-term removals, and a need for considering sustainability and human rights issues in the pursuit of CDR.

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Academic Articles

Honegger, M., Burns, W., & Morrow, D. R. (2021). Is carbon dioxide removal ‘mitigation of climate change’? Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, 30(3), 327-335. doi:10.1111/reel.12401.