Beyond carbon pricing: policy levers for negative emissions technologies

Cox, Emily and Edwards, Neil (2019). Beyond carbon pricing: policy levers for negative emissions technologies. Climate Policy, 19(9) pp. 1144–1156.



This paper explores policies for Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs), in an attempt to move beyond the supply-side focus of the majority of NETs research, as well as the current dominance of carbon pricing as the main NETs policy proposal. The paper identifies a number of existing policies from four key areas - energy/transport, agriculture, sub-soil, and oceans - which will have an impact on three NETs: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), Direct Air Capture (DAC), and terrestrial Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW). We propose that non-climate co-benefits may be valuable in terms of the policy ‘demand pull’ for NETs; in particular, we find that ERW may provide multiple co-benefits which can be mandated through existing policy structures. However, interaction with numerous policy areas may also create barriers, particularly where there is tension between the priorities of different government departments. On the basis of existing and analogous policies from a range of geographical contexts and scales, this paper proposes four options for NETs policy that could be reasonably implemented in the near-term. We also argue that ERW demonstrates the importance of scale and framing, because the policy environment depends on whether it is framed as a soil amendment at local scales or as a climate stabilisation technique at international scale.

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