CO2 Removal Hub (CO2RE Hub)

Overview

Funded through the UKRI SPF Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) Demonstrators ProgrammeCO2RE will co-ordinate the Programme and conduct solutions-led research to evaluate a balanced portfolio of economically, socially and environmentally scalable GGR options, with associated policy design, engagement and outreach. This will enable the UK to lead internationally on achieving global net-zero emissions, consistent with the Paris AgreementBacked by seven institutions and led by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, this is the largest GGR programme funded by the UK government to date. 

The challenge and the path ahead

The challenge

Achieving a net-zero emission economy in the coming decades, and potentially net-negative emissions thereafter, is arguably the world’s biggest challenge. The UK has made a strong start, as the first G7 country with a legislative commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.  

Achieving net zero requires dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, but it also requires creating and scaling up a global Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) 

This new effort will need to scale to the multi-billions of carbon dioxide removal globally, and multi-millions in the UK, within a few decades. This is an unprecedented challenge. Key technologies need to fall in cost, business models need to be developed, economic policies and legal and regulatory frameworks need to be put in place in a manner that is socially and environmentally acceptable robust. In the UK alone, this burgeoning industry needs to be capable of removing around 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050.  

Success will require bringing the best and brightest together from many areas, including scholars from multiple academic disciplines. New science, new social engagement, new policies and new business ideas are needed, as is world-leading technological innovation, skills, collaboration and finance.  

The path ahead

UK net emissions. Graph illustrating the current UK emissions (in 2019) compared with emissions in 2050. The amount of emissions are dramatically less in 2050 and there are double the amount of land-based removals of emissions as well as new 'Industrial removals'. Removals from BECCS and DACCS go from zero to the size of current emissions from electricity.

 

Achieving these goals requires and deliver sustainable routes for large-scale Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR), CO2RE will conduct cross-cutting research on the environmental, economic, social, cultural, ethical, legal and governance issues around GGR. We will also co-ordinate across the programme (linking to the demonstrators and programme governance), connect to other relevant programmes nationally and internationally, and commission grants through a flexible fund.

CO2RE will develop a rigorous approach to ensure that GGR techniques are able to develop rapidly, effectively and responsibly, alongside action to reduce emissions. To do this we have three overarching objectives:

  • Supportive policies: Providing a portfolio of robust, implementable and equitable options for policy and governance, supporting bankable business models for sustainable GGR deployment to help achieve UK net zero emissions by 2050.

  • Scalable technologies: Developing a coherent evaluation framework for the Demonstrators and other GGRs, covering lifecycle assessment, economic costs, environmental impact, governance and social perceptions. Accelerating development of promising, globally scalable options and sifting out ineffective ones.

  • Enhanced capacity: Building a GGR research & innovation community by linking initiatives within the Programme and with other national and international programmes. Leveraging additional funding to deliver legacy activities. Developing transparent and robust decision-support processes for key stakeholders and champions to shape and use GGR to achieve net zero.