With recent research highlighting that average global temperatures may exceed the 1.5oC target as quickly as 2026, it's becoming apparent that reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to be enough to prevent dangerous climate change.
To maintain a safe climate, we also need to explore how we can remove these gases from the atmosphere (negative emissions). Importantly, all Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios which limit warming to 1.5 oC (and most which limit warming to 2 oC) require implementation of negative emissions technology (NET): methods which sequester GHGs from the atmosphere.
At present there is limited funding for research seeking to develop appropriate technologies and policy options for successful implementation. Given this research need, and the present gap in research on the topic, there is likely to be significant future interest in this space.
Research needs include the development and advancement of technologies for removing greenhouse gases, studies on the effectiveness of the technologies, and ethics, policy and political implications; all of which contribute to the exploration of effective and practicable negative emissions technologies to limit future warming to agreed upon, safe, levels.
As policy and political interests build in this space over time, existing research strengths and capacities will need to be directed toward developing an informed, sensible, and innovative perspective on negative emissions. The ANU Climate Change Institute is facilitating a process of connecting researchers to identify opportunities to address the complex dimensions of this challenge.