EEMI Holds Workshop on Carbon Dioxide Removal and Negative Emissions Technologies

Presentation

On Monday, October 30, the Environmental & Energy Management Institute conducted an invitation-only workshop for non-governmental organizations from the environmental, development, natural resources and human rights communities. The event was held in the Lehman Auditorium in the Science and Engineering Hall. 

The event focused on the potential role of carbon dioxide removal technologies, sometimes characterized as a form of “climate geoengineering,” as a climate response measure.  Climate Geoengineering may be required to meet a stringent temperature goal (+2C) or ambition (+1.5C) as identified in the Paris Climate Agreement. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and negative emission technologies (NETs) constitute the only known methods to keep global mean temperature within these bounds.

It has been estimated that 87% of the integrated assessment models incorporated into the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contemplate large-scale use of such technologies, especially Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), to hold worldwide atmospheric temperature increases to below 2C.

This meeting explored a range of bioenergy technologies with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and the engineering, science, technology, ethical, and policy dimensions of other geoengineered solutions to climate change. The event provided a forum for NGOs to develop ideas and positions in anticipation of growing interest and action on this topic, particularly at the COP-23 that was held in Bonn, Germany the following month (November 2017).

Because many experts dispute the potential effectiveness of such technologies and express concerns about their potential costs and adverse impacts at both the national and transboundary levels, interest in the meeting exceeded capacity and attendance at the event had to be capped. The livestream of the discussions also drew a wide audience.

 A highlight of the event was the luncheon address by Dr, James E. Hansen of the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program at the Earth Institute of Columbia University. Dr. Hansen spoke on “Energy, Climate and Policy: Status and Prospects.”

​Organizers, speakers, panelists, and activity leaders included:

  • Dr. Rachael Jonassen, Director, Greenhouse Gas Management, Environmental & Energy Management Institute, The George Washington University
  • Dr. Simon Nicholson, Co-Executive Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, School of International Service, American University
  • Dr. Wil Burns, Co-Executive Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, School of International Service, American University
  • Dr. Katharine J. Mach, Senior Research Scientist, Stanford University Earth System Science; Director, Stanford Environment Assessment Facility
  • Dr. Elisabeth Graffy, Professor of Practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University
  • Dr. Dan Sanchez, Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 
  • Tim Searchinger, Esq., Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School, Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Program
  • Dr. David Babson, Technology Manager, Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), U.S. Department of Energy
  • Ms. Kelly Stone, Senior Policy Analyst, ActionAid USA
  • Mr. Andrew Jones, Co-Director, Climate Interactive

SEAS Dean David S. Dolling provided introductory remarks and welcomed the guests to the GW campus.

Video recordings of the proceedings are available for viewing on the EEMI website at https://eemi.seas.gwu.edu/carbon-dioxide-removalnegative-emissions