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Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration (2015)

Chapter: Appendix A: Statement of Task for the Committee

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task for the Committee." National Research Council. 2015. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18805.
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APPENDIX A

Statement of Task for the Committee

The Committee on Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts was charged with the following task:

An ad hoc committee will conduct a technical evaluation of a limited number of proposed geoengineering techniques, including examples of both solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal techniques, and comment generally on the potential impacts of deploying these technologies, including possible environmental, economic, and national security concerns. The study will

  1. Evaluate what is currently known about the science of several (3 or 4) selected example techniques, including potential risks and consequences (both intended and unintended), such as impacts, or lack thereof, on ocean acidification;
  2. Describe what is known about the viability for implementation of the proposed techniques including technological and cost considerations;
  3. Briefly explain other geoengineering technologies that have been proposed (beyond the selected examples); and
  4. Identify future research needed to provide a credible scientific underpinning for future discussions.

The study will also discuss historical examples of related technologies (e.g., cloud seeding and other weather modification) for lessons that might be learned about societal reactions, examine what international agreements exist that may be relevant to the experimental testing or deployment of geoengineering technologies, and briefly explore potential societal and ethical considerations related to geoengineering. This study is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding geoengineering.

This study was sponsored by the U.S. intelligence community, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, and the National Academies.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task for the Committee." National Research Council. 2015. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18805.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task for the Committee." National Research Council. 2015. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18805.
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Page 129
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task for the Committee." National Research Council. 2015. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18805.
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Page 130
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The signals are everywhere that our planet is experiencing significant climate change. It is clear that we need to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from our atmosphere if we want to avoid greatly increased risk of damage from climate change. Aggressively pursuing a program of emissions abatement or mitigation will show results over a timescale of many decades. How do we actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make a bigger difference more quickly?

As one of a two-book report, this volume of Climate Intervention discusses CDR, the carbon dioxide removal of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere and sequestration of it in perpetuity. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration introduces possible CDR approaches and then discusses them in depth. Land management practices, such as low-till agriculture, reforestation and afforestation, ocean iron fertilization, and land-and-ocean-based accelerated weathering, could amplify the rates of processes that are already occurring as part of the natural carbon cycle. Other CDR approaches, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration, direct air capture and sequestration, and traditional carbon capture and sequestration, seek to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and dispose of it by pumping it underground at high pressure. This book looks at the pros and cons of these options and estimates possible rates of removal and total amounts that might be removed via these methods.

With whatever portfolio of technologies the transition is achieved, eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions from the global energy and transportation systems will pose an enormous technical, economic, and social challenge that will likely take decades of concerted effort to achieve. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration will help to better understand the potential cost and performance of CDR strategies to inform debate and decision making as we work to stabilize and reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

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