Carbon Gap, a not-for-profit independent research and advocacy launched at COP26 in Glasgow, has called on UK and European governments to lead on supporting and scaling up techniques to remove carbon directly from the air (usually referred to as carbon removal), alongside immediate emissions cuts.

Carbon Gap wants to shine a spotlight on the need to accelerate progress on carbon removal and the unique opportunities for European governments to lead in this crucial sector. This includes developing standards, investing in research 

and innovation, and providing deployment incentives. Carbon Gap also advocates for increased ambition to reach net-zero targets faster and begin delivering net-negative emissions, in order to address historical emissions already in the atmosphere. 

The new organisation is funded by leading climate philanthropies, including the Quadrature Climate and Grantham foundations, and does not take funding from any corporate actors in order to ensure independence and objectivity. 

“Carbon removal is essential, and while it isn’t a substitute for emissions cuts, it cannot wait. I’m proud to be supporting Carbon Gap to drive carbon removal policy in Europe. Taking climate change seriously requires significant government action, and Carbon Gap will be a leading voice for how carbon removal can begin to scale quickly and responsibly,” commented Baroness Bryony Worthington, lead author of the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act. 

Carbon Gap points to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scenarios for keeping warming below 1.5°C, which show that billions of tons of carbon dioxide need to be removed from the atmosphere cumulatively before 2050, and on a continuing basis after 2050. More recent analysis from the Energy Transition Commission showed the need for 220 billion tons of cumulative CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere and stored by 2050, the equivalent to five to six years of today’s emissions. Given increased recognition of carbon removal’s role in achieving climate targets and the increased urgency for action, Carbon Gap believes carbon removal will move from the periphery of the climate debate to join emissions reductions as another major pillar in achieving our climate goals. It expects to see a focus on carbon removal at COP27 in Egypt in 2022. 

Carbon Gap’s intends also that its policy work will also focus on ensuring that the carbon removal industry is a lever for economic development and global climate justice.