The effects of carbon dioxide removal on the carbon cycle

David P. Keller, Andrew Lenton, Emma W. Littleton, Andreas Oschlies, Vivian Scott, Naomi E. Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)
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Increasing atmospheric CO2 is having detrimental effects on the Earth system. Societies have recognized that anthropogenic CO2 release must be rapidly reduced to avoid potentially catastrophic impacts. Achieving this via emissions reductions alone will be very difficult. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) has been suggested to complement and compensate for insufficient emissions reductions, through increasing natural carbon sinks, engineering new carbon sinks, or combining natural uptake with engineered storage. Here, we review the carbon cycle responses to different CDR approaches and highlight the often-overlooked interaction and feedbacks between carbon reservoirs that ultimately determines CDR efficacy. We also identify future research that will be needed if CDR is to play a role in climate change mitigation, these include coordinated studies to better understand (i) the underlying mechanisms of each method, (ii) how they could be explicitly simulated, (iii) how reversible changes in the climate and carbon cycle are, and (iv) how to evaluate and monitor CDR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-265
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


  • Climate change
  • Carbon dioxide removal (CDR)
  • Mitigation
  • Carbon cycle
  • Negative emissions
  • Carbon cycle feedbacks
  • Climate feedbacks

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