European carbon removal specialists steps in to help Indian projects

A team of European carbon removal specialists launched an initiative on Tuesday to assist Indian businesses in developing projects that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to combat global warming. The Amsterdam-based group, named remove, has previously helped European businesses raise over 220 million euros for carbon dioxide removal projects and will now accept applications from Indian startups.

Successful applicants will gain access to remove’s network of experts and international buyers and may also be eligible for additional funding. “We have now found the model that works,” said Marian Krueger, remove’s co-founder. “We believe this is a global problem and there is tremendous potential in other geographies beyond Europe.”

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) includes a variety of interventions that sequester emitted CO2, such as reforestation and air filters. Indian projects are expected to focus on biochar—charcoal produced from burning organic matter—and “enhanced weathering,” which involves spreading materials like basalt across land to absorb CO2.

Researchers estimate that 7-9 billion metric tons of CO2 need to be removed annually to keep temperature rises below the crucial 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold, up from the current 2 billion tons. According to a consultancy, the CDR market could grow from $2.27 billion in 2023 to around $100 billion by 2030 if growth barriers are addressed.

CDR projects are more costly than conventional CO2 reduction methods, and their success will depend on carbon markets. Demand for CDR credits is currently limited to a few philanthropic buyers on the voluntary market, including the U.S. federal government, Microsoft, and Google. “We all know we will need carbon removal down the line—the pot of gold at the end is very big, but right now… it really is a matter of survival until we finally hit the point where the market finally materializes,” Krueger said.

The European Union is currently exploring options to include CDR credits in its emissions trading system. “We are going to need this to become far more mainstream than it currently is,” said Steve Smith, a CDR expert at Oxford University. “I think that is going to have to involve governments stepping in to create the conditions for it to become mainstream.”

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