Podcast: Carbon Removal Newsroom: Geoengineering vs. carbon removal, and California’s Cement Decarbonization legislation

„This week on Carbon Removal Newsroom[gt], we’re back with a policy-focused episode with panelists Dr. Holly Jean Buck of the University at Buffalo Chris Barnard of the American Conservation Coalition and host Radhika Moolgavkar of Nori. First up, we’re discussing an essay from Harvard professor David Keith in the New York Times titled, “What’s the Least Bad Way to Cool the Planet?” Keith compares Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and geoengineering, pointing out that the two approaches operate on different timescales— CDR will take decades to build up, and longer still to have a significant impact due to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Solar Radiation Management, a type of geoengineering, could be done with today’s technology and theoretically has an immediate cooling effect. There is a lot we don’t know but his ‘hunch’ is that geoengineering would work more quickly, be cheaper, and benefit the world’s hotter regions more immediately. He calls for governments to fund more research into the topic so the two techniques can be more accurately compared. We debate David Keith’s main points and Holly Buck describes the socio-technical systems that might be necessary to deploy geoengineering and larger-scale CDR most effectively. Next, we’re looking at the Cement Decarbonization legislation passed in California that mandates the state’s cement industry to become net-zero by 2045. According to the Climateworks Foundation’s Rebecca Dell, this is the first time any US state has required an industry to eliminate its net greenhouse gas emissions. Cement production is the second-largest emitter of any industry in California, after only oil and gas production, and it also contributes to significant local air pollution. While the greenhouse gas mitigation from this move is notable, this law also has the potential to provide needed policy support to the carbon removal and carbon utilization industries. We discuss the types of incentives that might be most successful in moving the needle on hard to abate emissions, then end the episode with a good news story of the week from Chris— Japan is restarting several aging nuclear reactors in an attempt to meet its carbon emissions goals.“