Carbon Removal: an Annotated Bibliography
My personal CDR reading list
I spent several months at Actuate Innovation doing a deep dive into carbon removal and also working with the great folks at OpenAir Collective on CDR legislation advocacy and research. Given the amount of people who have asked me for resources and the general interest in this space, I wanted to share some of the sources I drew upon to develop my own understanding of carbon removal.
Views expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employers. Also, linking to anything here is not necessarily an endorsement of any content (I will try to provide caveats where necessary). Finally, nothing here indicates my own personal opinion on carbon removal either, this is simply a learning resource for the interested.
Reports and Primers
2022: CDR primer: the authoritative textbook on CDR, the author/editor list is a who’s-who of carbon removal research
ICEF has several deep-dives on different types of carbon removal:
2018: direct air capture (DAC), though this is a bit out of date now
2017: CO2 utilization, though this is a bit out of date now
2022: the National Academy (NASEM)published a research agenda for ocean-based CDR, which presents a useful summary of different techniques and the many remaining research questions for ocean CDR.
2022: NASEM also ran a multi-day seminar series on carbon utilization and infrastructure, which is useful for understanding what you can do with CO2 downstream
2021: Environmental Defense Fund and Woodwell Climate Research Center provide a nice overview of agricultural soil carbon credits
2021: Pecan Street also has a nice research roadmap of the remaining questions for measuring soil carbon
Level 2: Policy, Markets, Infrastructure, Geology
2022: the Department of Energy, in response to Biden’s Executive Order, published a series of reports evaluating supply chains for climate technologies, including one for carbon capture
2013: National Assessment of Geologic Carbon Dioxide Storage
Resources—Results. A bit old, but thankfuly geological caverns don’t update that frequently
2021: White House Council on Environmental Quality releases report on Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage. An excellent introduction to the US permitting bureaucracy and different infrastructure considerations for a “carbon economy”
2021: Congressional Research Servicehas a overview of the 45q tax credit for carbon removal, though its short enough you should also just read the text itself
Subpart RR – Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide is legislation that dictates how the EPA monitors and regulates carbon storage. The EPA website for this is also worth exploring to see projects that fall under this jurisdiction
I’m still lacking in good resources for understanding the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) carbon market (or any existing carbon trading markets), but Environmental Defense Fund has a short 2015 report that was a helpful overview. If anyone has helpful resources in this space, please send them my way and I’ll update this!
2022: “Snapshot of the CDR certifications and standards ecosystem” is a helpful compendium and framework for analyzing all the CDR standards floating around out there.
2022: The most recent IPCC AR6 WG3 report is always good reading to understand the climate space. In particular, chapters 3, 7, 12 have useful parts on carbon removal. The IPCC also put out a youtube seminar summarizing the role of CDR from the most recent report, if you prefer video over text
Looking at some of the early corporate purchasers of carbon removal (Microsoft, Stripe) is also helpful e.g. Microsoft 2021 lessons learned briefing, Microsoft 2022 lessons learned briefing
Carbonware Substack Newsletter is inactive, but has good 2021 posts on carbon markets
“This is CDR” is a who’s-who youtube seminar of carbon removal startups. Definitely subscribe to the channel and start from the beginning of the playlist. You can also attend the seminar live and ask questions
The website Scaling Carbon Removal by Neil Hacker is also a good overview of scaling and financing carbon removal
CarbonPlan is a good non-profit to follow that does great quantitative work on CDR verification. They don’t seem to have a newsletter but their twitter is active and posts whenever a new blog post drops. If anyone reading this has strong data science skills and wants to learn more about carbon removal in a hands-on fashion, you can try to offer your skills here!
Subscribe to the Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Newsletter - an excellent way to stay on top of what carbon removal the DOE is funding
Carbon Curve is a popular substack newsletter/podcast for carbon removal as well, though I haven’t personally followed it
2019: Greg Nemet’s book “How Solar Got Cheap” is a great general example of technology development and industrial policy, but it has a chapter at the end which summarizes the learnings and applies them to direct air capture
CDR Google Group: a good daily international CDR news aggregator, though there is too much content for me to keep up
Openair Collective: an international advocacy and open-source research community (they run This is CDR). They have an active discord as well, which I’m part of. (plug: I run a CDR research seminar with them as well if you want to see me on youtube)
Airminers: another community with a slack and a guided crash course. I’m not actually in this community, but I hear good things, particularly if you’re interested in doing group-based learning or starting a carbon removal startup.
I'd also recommend this publication on the EU ETS which covers the major issues and history quite well: https://carbonmarketwatch.org/publications/eu-ets-101-a-beginners-guide-to-the-eus-emissions-trading-system/