A Research Agenda
Committee on Developing a Research Agenda
for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration
Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
Board on Energy and Environmental Systems
Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources
Board on Earth Sciences and Resources
Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology
Ocean Studies Board
Division on Earth and Life Studies
A Consensus Study Report of
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This study was supported by the Department of Energy under contract number DE-EP0000026/DE-DT0012364, the Environmental Protection Agency under contract number EPC-14-005 BASE, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under contract number NA17NOS4600002, the United States Geological Survey under contract number G17AC00434, the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, the Linden Trust for Conservation, and Incite Labs, with support from the National Academy of Sciences’ Arthur L. Day Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-48452-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-48452-9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2018965363
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25259
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration: A Research Agenda. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25259.
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COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR CARBON DIOXIDE REMOVAL AND RELIABLE SEQUESTRATION
STEPHEN PACALA (Chair), Princeton University, NJ
MAHDI AL-KAISI, Iowa State University, Ames
MARK BARTEAU, Texas A & M University, College Station
ERICA BELMONT, University of Wyoming, Laramie
SALLY BENSON, Stanford University, CA
RICHARD BIRDSEY, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA
DANE BOYSEN, Modular Chemical, Inc., Berkeley, CA
RILEY DUREN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
CHARLES HOPKINSON, University of Georgia, Athens
CHRISTOPHER JONES, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
PETER KELEMEN, Columbia University, Palisades, NY
ANNIE LEVASSEUR, École de Technologie Supérieure, Québec, Canada
KEITH PAUSTIAN, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins
JIANWU TANG, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA
TIFFANY TROXLER, Florida International University, Miami
MICHAEL WARA, Stanford Law School, CA
JENNIFER WILCOX, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff
KATIE THOMAS, Senior Program Officer, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
JOHN HOLMES, Director and Scholar, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems
CAMILLA ABLES, Senior Program Officer, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources
ANNE LINN, Scholar, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources
ANNA SBEREGAEVA, Associate Program Officer, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology
EMILY TWIGG, Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board
YASMIN ROMITTI, Research Associate, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate/Board on Earth Sciences and Resources
MICHAEL HUDSON, Senior Program Assistant, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
NOTE: See Appendix B, Disclosure of Conflict of Interest.
BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE
A. R. RAVISHANKARA (Chair), Colorado State University, Fort Collins
SHUYI S. CHEN (Vice Chair), University of Washington, Seattle
CECILIA BITZ, University of Washington, Seattle
MARK A. CANE, Columbia University, Palisades, NY
HEIDI CULLEN, Climate Central, Princeton, NJ
ROBERT DUNBAR, Stanford University, CA
PAMELA EMCH, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, CA
ARLENE FIORE, Columbia University, Palisades, NY
PETER FRUMHOFF, Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, MA
WILLIAM B. GAIL, Global Weather Corporation, Boulder, CO
MARY GLACKIN, The Weather Company, Washington, DC
TERRI S. HOGUE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden
EVERETTE JOSEPH, SUNY University at Albany, NY
RONALD “NICK” KEENER, JR., Duke Energy Corporation, Charlotte, NC
ROBERT KOPP, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
L. RUBY LEUNG, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
JONATHAN MARTIN, University of Wisconsin–Madison
JONATHAN OVERPECK, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
ALLISON STEINER, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
DAVID W. TITLEY, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
DUANE WALISER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
Ocean Studies Board Liaison
DAVID HALPERN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff
AMANDA STAUDT, Director
DAVID ALLEN, Senior Program Officer
LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer
KATHERINE THOMAS, Senior Program Officer
LAUREN EVERETT, Program Officer
APRIL MELVIN, Program Officer
AMANDA PURCELL, Program Officer
YASMIN ROMITTI, Research Associate
RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator
SHELLY FREELAND, Financial Associate
ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate
MICHAEL HUDSON, Senior Program Assistant
ERIN MARKOVICH, Senior Program Assistant/Research Assistant
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This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Ken Caldeira, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA
Michael Celia, Princeton University, NJ
Steve Crooks, Silvestrum Climate Associates, San Francisco, CA
Julio Friedman, Carbon Wrangler LLC, New York, NY
Greeshma Gadikota, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Chris Greig, University of Queensland, Australia
Geoffrey Holmes, Carbon Engineering, Squamish, BC, Canada
Tara Hudiburg, University of Idaho, Moscow
Mark Jones, Dow Chemical Company, Saginaw, MI
Jasmin Kemper, IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, Cheltenham, UK
Jan Minx, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin, Germany
Simon Nicholson, American University, Washington, DC
Phil Renforth, Cardiff University, UK
Herbert (Todd) Schaef, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
Pete Smith, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
Chris Somerville, University of California, Berkeley
Ellen Williams, University of Maryland, College Park
Stephen Wofsy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of
this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Warren M. Washington, National Center for Atmospheric Research Climate and Global Dynamics Division, and Antonio J. Busalacchi, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring Committee and the National Academies.
Humans started adding fossil CO2 to the atmosphere about 300 years ago and accelerated land use emissions by expanding croplands and pastures. The unintended consequence of these activities is a 120 ppm increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2, which is now changing our climate. In response, international action is being taken to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming below 2°C. Most climate mitigation technologies are intended to decrease the rate at which we take additional carbon from fossil fuel reservoirs and ecosystems and add it to the atmosphere as CO2. These include renewable electricity, increased energy efficiency, and carbon capture and storage of emissions from fossil power plants. This report focuses on the reverse: technologies that take CO2 out of the atmosphere and put it back into geologic reservoirs and terrestrial ecosystems. These negative emissions technologies, or NETs, have received much less attention by researchers than traditional mitigation technologies.
The Committee on Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration was created to recommend a detailed research and development plan for NETs that: (1) use biological processes to increase carbon stocks in soils, forests, and wetlands, (2) produce energy from biomass, while capturing and storing the resulting CO2 emissions, (3) use chemical processes to capture CO2 directly from the air and then sequester it in geologic reservoirs, and (4) enhance geologic processes that capture CO2 from the atmosphere and permanently bind it with rocks. These NETs are at vastly different stages of readiness. Some are close to being ready for large-scale deployment, while others require basic scientific research. The committee met six times from May 2017 to February 2018 and, associated with four of these meetings, held open public webinars and workshops that gathered extensive input from scientists across academia, federal and state agencies, industry, and nongovernmental organizations. This input is summarized in five separate publicly available workshop proceedings that document the committee’s information gathering activities and to help inform the public about NETs.
On a final, more personal note, I would like to thank the committee members, who gave so freely of their time and talent, and who were models of interdisciplinary listening and respect. Thanks to the staff of the National Academies of Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), who organized us, improved our writing, and helped us crystalize our thoughts. They worked tirelessly through our workshops and closed sessions, innumerable calls, and many drafts. And thanks to those who presented their research to the committee; your selfless service enriched this report. Finally, thanks to the reviewers who helped to sharpen and focus the report.
Stephen Pacala, Chair
Committee on Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration
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