Expert conversation: Options for carbon dioxide removal (CDR)

Country-specific perspectives on how to realise negative emissions

With the entry into force of the EU Climate Law, the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 is now legally binding for the EU collectively. Many EU Member States have also set an explicit goal of carbon neutrality nationally (incl. France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia = all for 2050) with several countries now aiming at earlier dates (Finland: 2035; Austria: 2040; Sweden, Germany: 2045).

The term “climate neutrality” implies by definition that a net-zero emission balance is found, between remaining actual emissions and carbon sinks to compensate them. The new EU2030 target is also such a “net” target now – without there being a specific quantitative goal for the sinks element.

This virtual expert meeting discussed the role of both natural and technical options for Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) in the Member States current approaches to reaching climate neutrality. The event brought together experts involved in the preparation and implementation of national long-term climate strategies from Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.

The event featured content inputs from representatives of national governmental institutions of Finland and Sweden – two countries with some of the earliest climate neutrality targets in the world, who discussed their countries’ approaches to develop workable solutions to generate negative emissions:

  • Eva Jernbäcker (Environmental Protection Agency, Sweden) discussed the set up and work of the committee that developed the Swedish strategy for net negative emissions and the details of the resulting strategy and action plan. You can find Ms Jernbäcker’s presentation and the English summary of the Swedish strategy and action plan for achieving negative greenhouse gas emissions after 2045 attached below.
  • Tuomo Kalliokoski (Ministry of Environment, Finland) discussed the various scenarios that are being considered in Finland in order to reach the country’s ambitious target of reaching the climate neutrality by 2035. You can find Mr Kalliokoski’s presentation attached below.

Following the content input, the experts taking part in the event provided insights on the planning for, development and implementation of CDR options from their national contexts. The discussion focused on key challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome for a wider deployment of natural and technical CDR options. The discussed challenges included major uncertainties over actual potentials of the various CDR options, competing demands on land and for the use of biomass, political opposition and general lack of public support as lack of appropriate governance architecture and buy-in from wider government.

Presentation: Swedish strategy for net-negative emissions - Eva Jernbacker, SE Swedish strategy for negative emissions (English summary) Presentation: Finnish perspectives on realising negative emissions - Tuomo Kalliokoski, FI
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Online, Zoom