Results of the 2. State of CDR Report

State of CDR report

The report ‘State of Carbon Dioxide Removal is now being published for the second year in a row. In it, numerous researchers – including many from the CDRterra programme – provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of CO₂ removal worldwide. The 2024 report finds that around 7 to 9 billion tonnes of CO₂ per year will need to be removed by mid-century from the atmosphere if the world is to meet the 1.5°C Paris Agreement target. The authors stress that reducing emissions is the primary way to achieve net-zero, but Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) has a critical role to play. The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford led the preparation of the report, and it was supported by the CDRterra consortium CDRSynTra, among others.

The authors incorporated sustainability criteria including multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into their analysis, and their final figure for a “Paris-consistent” range of CDR was assessed based on these.

Currently just 2 billion tons per year are being removed by CDR, mostly through conventional methods like tree planting. Novel CDR methods – like biochar, enhanced rock weathering, direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – contribute 1.3 million tonnes per year, less than 0.1% of the total. Methods which are effectively permanent account for only 0.6 million tonnes per year – less than 0.05% of the total.

A diverse range of CDR methods must be rapidly scaled up to address climate change in line with the Paris Agreement, say the authors. CDR has undergone rapid growth in research, public awareness and start-up companies. Yet there are now signs of a slowdown in development across multiple indicators.

While investment in CDR research and start-ups is going to an increasing variety of novel methods, few of these methods are currently targeted in government policies and proposals to scale CDR, which accounts for just 1.1% of investment in climate-tech start-ups. “Given the world is off track from the decarbonisation required to meet the Paris temperature goal, this shows the need to increase investment in CDR as well as for zero-emission solutions across the board,” says Dr Steve Smith, member of the CDRterra international advisory board of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.

The report notes that CDR companies have high ambitions which, taken together, would drive CDR to levels consistent with meeting the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. However, the authors say these ambitions have little ground for credibility at present and depend on a much stronger set of policies than currently exists.

The report urges governments to implement policies that will increase demand for carbon removals. These should include the embedding of CDR policies into countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (climate action plans under the UNFCCC) and developing better monitoring, reporting and verification systems for CDR. At present, much of the demand for CDR is coming from voluntary commitments by companies to buy carbon removal credits.

Dr Steve Smith comments:
“There are some encouraging signs in the growth and diversity of CDR research and innovations. But these are tempered strongly by sparse and precarious long-term demand. Governments have a decisive role to play now in creating the conditions for CDR to scale sustainably.”

CDRterra researcher Dr Oliver Geden: Deploying a diverse CDR portfolio is a more robust strategy than focusing on just one or two methods

Dr Oliver Geden, CDRterra researcher from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, comments:
“Deploying a diverse CDR portfolio is a more robust strategy than focusing on just one or two methods. Research, invention, and investment in start-ups show diversification across CDR methods. However, current deployment and government proposals for future implementation are more concentrated on conventional CDR, mainly from forestry.”

Matthew J. Gidden, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIASA, comments:
“It is clear that delaying crucial emissions reductions only exacerbates needed mitigation in the future to limit warming well below 2°C, but there are limits to the role sustainable CDR can play the longer the world delays.”

The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal report

The annual State of Carbon Dioxide Removal report is a combined effort of over 50 international experts. It is the world-leading scientific assessment of how much carbon dioxide removal will be needed to limit climate change, and whether or not the world is on track to deliver.

The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal report was devised and convened by CDRterra researchers Oliver Geden and Jan Minx as well as Matthew J. Gidden (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIASA), William F. Lamb (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, MCC), Gregory Nemet (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Stephen M Smith. Each are leading academics in the field of CDR, lead investigators within major CDR assessment projects, and IPCC authors.

The following CDRterra researchers are also involved:

  • Prof Dr Julia Pongratz, CDRterra spokesperson from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich
  • Dr Felix Schenuit from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin (currently no longer with CDRterra)
  • Prof Sabine Fuss, Ingrid Schulte, Dr Sarah Lück and Dr Tim Repke from the Mercator Research Institute on Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in Berlin
  • and Dr Jessica Strefler from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

The project was supported by the CDRterra consortium CDRSynTra, of which the researchers mentioned are members.

Defining CDR

CDR involves capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it durably on land, in the ocean, in geological formations or in products. Examples include reforestation, biochar, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS). Some means of storage are longer-lasting and less vulnerable to reversal than others.


CDR is not the same thing as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). To count as CDR, a method must capture CO2 from the atmosphere. While some CDR methods such as BECCS and DACCS will use the same CO2 transport and storage infrastructure as CCS, CCS usually refers to a set of industrial methods for the capture of CO2 from fossil sources.

Click the green button to download the State of CDR report (PDF, 16 MB)