#1 | The case for carbon removal

#1 | The case for carbon removal

Contents: introduction, guest appearances, further reading, transcript, sources, credits

"The need is irrefutable. It's scientific fact. We need carbon removal" (Sophie Purdom)

If you're reading this, you've probably considered a certain question at some point in your life. It's the same question that puzzles the mind of many others, from activists to artists, businesses to busy parents: how do we heal the damage we've caused - and are still causing - in our planet's climate?

Step one - Plan A - has to be stopping our greenhouse gas emissions. But even if we managed to do that tomorrow (if only), we would still have an almighty mess to clean up.

And that's where carbon removal comes in.

When we started making this series, we didn't know much about carbon removal, so our first questions were naturally: why do we need it, and why now?

In this first episode, hosts Emily and Tom explore the case for carbon removal.


Want to delve deeper now you've listened to the show? Look no further than the list below of articles, podcasts and other resources. They helped us to learn more about the case for carbon removal, and we think you might like them too...

Our Reading List & Sources

NamePublisherPublishing/Release DateSourceSummaryTag(s)Type
Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction
MIT Technology Review
July 8, 2021
CriticismCorporate pledges
Five rules for evidence communication
November 19, 2020
A comment article in Nature, offering quick tips and experience from evidence communication. In short: inform, not persuade; offer balance, not false balance; disclose uncertainties; state evidence quality and inoculate against misinformation (i.e. "prebunking" - address concerns or potential misunderstandings directly).
Evidence communication
Nan Ransohoff and Ryan Orbuch, Stripe Climate Team
My Climate Journey
September 4, 2020
A conversation with two key members of Stripe's climate team, who are responsible for the company's negative emissions commitment made in 2019.
Corporate pledgesPolicyOffsetsEconomics
Carbon Capture Projects Map
Third Way
July 18, 2018
Map of all active (operational, planned etc) carbon capture projects in the world. Good overview of what's going on where. Correct as of mid-2018.
A Matter of Degrees: Cleaning up the carbon mess
A Matter of Degrees
November 19, 2020
An exploration of different ways that we can remove carbon from the atmosphere. A great place to start on your carbon removal journey.
Carbon Removal Mechanisms
Carbon Plan
July 24, 2020
This article provides a very useful introduction to the carbon cycle, and how the carbon removal mechanisms discussed in the series interact with it. In particular, the distinction between avoided emissions and negative emissions is worth paying attention to.
Carbon cycleOverview
Removing CO2 from the atmosphere won't save us
The Conversation
December 7, 2015
An article from two climate scientists, explaining why we must prioritise emission reductions over carbon removals. Published during the Paris climate conference in 2015.
CriticismScaling up
Carbon removal academy (free course)
John Sanchez
November 30, 2020
Academy with articles, videos and other useful resources split into different chapters. The Carbon Removal Academy is a useful course for getting up to speed with all things carbon removal.
From tree planting to CO2-sucking machines: How could ‘negative emissions’ help to tackle the climate crisis?
The Independent
February 10, 2021
A good overview of negative emissions in general, including the challenges faced by each NET
Without carbon capture, the world can't meet its climate targets
January 10, 2021
We need to take CO2 out of the sky
Ryan Orbuch
February 22, 2020
A carbon removal 101, written by a non-specialist after a few months of learning. Useful for understanding different measurements of CO2, and for accessing his own reading list for "negative emissions"
OverviewMeasuring CO2
Carbon Removal Glossary
Foresight Transitions
March 1, 2021
This spreadsheet provides definitions for well over 100 phrases associated with carbon removal.
Public perceptions of carbon dioxide removal in the United States and the United Kingdom
July 1, 2020
A study of public perceptions of CDR in the UK and US - lots of interesting findings to dig into, including outlining some of the objections that the public may raise to the use of CDR.
Public perceptions
Academic Journal
Intro to 10 'negative emission' technologies
Carbon Brief
April 11, 2016
A whistle-stop tour of 10 major techniques to remove GHGs from atmosphere, along with a helpful diagram and set of explanations.
Carbon Dioxide Removal Primer
Various authors
January 1, 2021
A summary of all things carbon dioxide removal related, written by several experts in the field. An invaluable resource, available as a book or freely available online.
Negative Emissions source materials
May 1, 2020
A link to applications completed by different CDR projects for support as part of Stripe's negative emissions commitment
Corporate pledgesOverview
The Earth's Carbon Cycle: animated diagram
Robert Rohde
May 22, 2019
Really nice video of the cabron cycle and how it has changed since pre-industrial era
Carbon cycle
Greenhouse gases must be scrubbed from the air
The Economist
November 16, 2017
An early introduction to the need for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere, for hard-to-abate sectors. Uses the example of Sweden's decarbonisation pledge.
Carbon removal permanence calculator
Carbon Plan
December 9, 2020
This calculator estimates the upfront costs needed to make a temporary carbon removal strategy permanent over time, and allows comparisons with more permanent techniques.
Carbon cyclePermanenceEconomics
We need to talk about carbon removal
October 1, 2018
The positive allure of negative emissions
August 9, 2019

Want the episode in text form? Click the arrow below.



The Carbon Removal Show is a Restored.cc and Cofruition production. We are sponsored by Patch. Here's who made this episode happen:

  • Emily Swaddle & Tom Previte - co-hosts
  • Ben Weaver-Hincks - producer
  • Henry Irvine - researcher
  • Sam Floy & Patrick Carter - project managers
  • Mercy Barno - editor
  • Sam Carter - music producer

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get updated when a new episode is released including links to all of the research that have gone into our work

The Carbon Removal Show

by Restored.cc

A better future is possible