Net Zero or Net Reckless? What is the appropriate role for negative emissions technologies in meeting Canada’s climate targets?

Climate Change
West Coast Environmental Law
Fiona Koza (MSc.), Climate Accountability Strategist
Andrew Gage (LLB), Staff Lawyer
Silvie Harder (Ph.D)

NETs are technologies that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and permanently store it, resulting in the net removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. NETs could potentially have a valuable role in restoring the health of the atmosphere and ‘neutralizing’ emissions associated with essential goods or services for which there is no realistic carbon-free substitute; however, given the risks and limitations of NETs, government regulation should take a cautious approach.

This paper examines the risks and limitations of industrial NETs, including Direct Air Capture (DAC) and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), explores key related questions, and concludes with recommendations to the Canadian government on the use of NETs in meeting climate targets. The recommendations may also be useful to other levels of government that have or are considering net-zero goals.

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