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The Case for Emissions Phaseout & Atmospheric Carbon Removal

Restoring Energy Balance & Protecting the Climate System

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What Is The Problem?

A certain amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is necessary for life on earth as we know it, but human-caused emissions have raised its concentration well into the danger zone and imposed an energy imbalance on Earth. Once emitted into the atmosphere, a share of such CO2 remains for millennia, continuously warming the planet.
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How Do We Restore Balance?

To restore a habitable climate system, we need to phase out greenhouse gas emissions and remove excess atmospheric CO2. Efforts also should be made to accelerate the removal of excess methane (CH4), another potent greenhouse gas (GHG).
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What Do We Mean?

The phaseout of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) (stemming principally from fossil fuels) and methane (CH4) is often referred to as decarbonization.

Removal of excess atmospheric CO2 is called carbon dioxide removal, and sometimes carbon drawdown.

Together, efforts to remove excess atmospheric CO2 and CH4 may be called atmospheric carbon removal.

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Isn’t Eliminating Emissions Enough?

Halting additional sources of GHG emissions is critically important to protect and restore a viable climate system. But the burning of fossil fuels over the last seven decades, combined with deforestation, has dramatically increased the concentration of atmospheric CO2. Concentrations of other GHGs, including CH4, have also increased. Together, they cause Earth’s energy imbalance and global warming. We must do more than just phase out emissions, even though that is a necessary and difficult first step.

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What Must We Do?

To restore a viable climate system, we must disallow new sources of carbon emissions (and other GHGs), rapidly phase out existing sources, and safely remove excess legacy carbon emissions.

We provide a comprehensive and regularly-updated reference list of methods of carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.

Final Slide
What Is Our Aim?

CPR Initiative was founded with the principle aim to restore and protect a viable climate system for present and future generations.

We work towards and advocate for a phase-out of fossil fuels and their emissions, the phase-out of other GHG emissions, the protection of critical natural carbon sinks (including mature and old-growth forests), and the removal of excess legacy atmospheric carbon.

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What We’re About

Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative is a 503(c)(3) non-profit, public-interest, science-based, advocacy organization that is guided by scientists, legal scholars, and community and religious leaders who share our mission to protect and restore a viable climate system.

Securing our planet’s energy balance at a global average temperature conducive to the continuation of civilization and nature as we have come to know it requires, at minimum, a timely phase-out of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removal of excess CO2 and CH4. Our principal tools include public education, public policy advocacy, and enforcement of the law.

Our Objective

To protect and restore our climate system, so as to enable our children to thrive, we must:

  • Phase out fossil fuel and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
  • Protect and restore vital natural systems, including mature and old-growth forests, and
  • Remove excess atmospheric CO2 and methane (CH4).

This work in earnest – decarbonization of our energy, transportation, agricultural and industrial systems, plus the removal of excess atmospheric carbon – must be commenced without further delay. And those who have profited most from the exploitation of fossil fuels should bear the lion’s share of the necessary costs.

Our Action Areas

  • Climate Science
  • Public Policy
  • Education
  • Environmental Law

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What’s Our Logo All About?

CPR Initiative graphic (2021). GtC/yr annual carbon dioxide emissions.
Data from Friedlingstein et al., Global Carbon Budget 2020.

The burning of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – produces carbon dioxide (CO2), among other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A share of the annual CO2 emissions remains in the atmosphere for centuries, impeding the loss to space of heat that Earth receives from the sun. 

We have enhanced our planet’s greenhouse effect by causing an over-concentration of CO2, methane (CH4) and other human-produced GHG. Over-concentration accounts for Earth’s energy imbalance and in part, the deadly heat, fires, and floods of recent years.

Our logo depicts calculated estimates from the cited source of Earth’s major carbon sinks. Uncertainties in the estimates account for significant year-to-year variation, but on average over the 1959-2019 period we estimate that about 44% of annual emissions remain in the atmosphere, with the ocean taking up approximately 24% and the land approximately 31% of such emissions.

Our logo simply distills that graphic, reminding us to consider the persistent role of the over-concentration of GHGs – and the need to act.