The Social Life of Carbon Dioxide Removal
Dr Rebecca Elliott (Department of Sociology) and Dr Don Slater (Department of Sociology)
Sociology of Climate Change; Anthropocene; Science and Technology Studies; Material Culture
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assumes that alongside the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, between five and ten percent of emission will not be avoidable and therefore will need to be balanced out with carbon dioxide removal. Besides enhancing the uptake of so-called natural carbon sinks such as forests and oceans, additional sequestration and sinking efforts will be necessary to reach any of the pathways for remaining below two degrees of global warming by 2050. These climate change mitigation efforts lead to different cultures of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) evolving around various methods from ocean alkalinisation to direct air capture and building with biomass.
In my research project, I investigate how these cultures configure climate change mitigation and imagine societal transformation – from the promises of technological solutions to the reconfiguration of human-environmental relationships in the Anthropocene. Drawing on qualitative data from the two fields of building with biomass and direct air capture with carbon storage, I study how different mitigation strategies lead to different social realities.