European carbon removal specialists to support new projects in India

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A team of European carbon removal specialists launched an initiative on Tuesday to help Indian businesses develop projects that suck carbon dioxide out the atmosphere and mitigate global warming.

The Amsterdam-based group, called remove, has helped businesses to raise more than 220 million euros ($238 million) to support carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects throughout Europe, and will now accept applications from Indian start-ups.

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Successful applicants will gain access to remove’s network of experts and international buyers, and could 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.”

CDR refers to a wide range of interventions that sequester CO2 that has already been emitted. It includes reforestation and filters that extract carbon directly from the air.

Indian projects are expected to focus on biochar - charcoal produced from burning organic matter - as well as “enhanced weathering”, where materials like basalt are spread across land to absorb CO2.

Around 7-9 billion metric tons of CO2 need to be removed annually to keep temperature rises below the key 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, up from 2 billion tons currently, researchers have said.

The value of the CDR market could rise from $2.27 billion in 2023 to around $100 billion by 2030 if barriers to growth are addressed, a consultancy also said last month.

CDR projects are more expensive than conventional CO2 reduction, and their viability will depend on carbon markets.

Demand for CDR credits is currently limited to a few dozen mainly philanthropic buyers on the voluntary market, including the US 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,” said Krueger.

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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