[CDR] Recent NGO Report on Several Alternative CDR Policy/Political Perspectives -Part 3 #CDR

Ron Larson


I think the thesis behind my report below has many important message for the policy oriented member of this biochar list.   I refer here to two other papers of a policy-politics character. Not so directly petitent - but I can send those easily.

Although the word “biochar" barely appears - I think it directly applies.


Begin forwarded message:

From: Ronal Larson <rongretlarson@...>
Subject: Re: Fwd: [CDR] Recent NGO Report on Several Alternative CDR Policy/Political Perspectives -Part 3
Date: November 8, 2020 at 9:05:41 PM MST


1.   Earlier today I recommended a Levy-Spicer (policy-politics-oriented) paper that should be helpful in promoting CDR options (identity shown at the end of the new #3 material).  This because it was important to what I called #3 - which directly addressees CDR (here using the term NETs).  The details below for this paper #3 are (with my added emphases) for both her abstract and concluding sections.

"Governing the emerging sociotechnical imaginary of a climate-positive Sweden : an exploration of the political discussion on negative emissions technologies as a climate change solution"

Lund Christiansen, Kirstine LU(2020) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20201
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
In recent years, negative emissions technologies (NETs) have gained attention as a strategy to tackle climate change. While the academic debate on NETs has been heated, international and national governance frameworks for regulating and incentivising the technologies largely remain unseen. In this thesis, I add to a growing debate concerning the governance of NETs with an empirical investigation of the development of national-level governance in Sweden. Sweden is an intriguing case, because of its target to become climate-positive after 2045, i.e. remove more carbon from the atmosphere than emitted. Through eleven elite interviews with key actors from the Swedish establishment, I explore what role NETs play in shaping a sociotechnical... (More)rw

RWLA:   Frameworksare not unseen“ here.    She favors “national level governance" .   The ‘'interview“ technique seemed to work.  This seems a well-done exploration on what role NETs play.   

Can anyone identify a similar paper?

2.  RWLB:   To encourage list reading - here is her full final section 8  (pps 31-32) - with my inserted comments.  This hoping to increase readership - because the thesis seems both rare and well thought out.  She is raising CDR management topics I do not recall seeing elsewhere.  Although mentioning mainly one NET approach - it seems applicable to all NETs - certainly to biochar.

8.   Conclusion 

   " NETs as a strategy to deal with climate change has been heavily debated within the scientific community. On the one hand, IAMs increasingly depend on future large-scale deployment of NETs to produce scenarios, where we stay below a 2°C temperature increase. On the other hand, parts of the scientific community have questioned the feasibility of deploying NETs to the extent assumed in IAMs and have argued that the suggestive promise of NETs undermines commitment to substantial emission reductions. Despite this discussion, a reluctant acceptance of NETs as part of the strategies to combat climate change seems to be the new political reality, and a theoretical debate about the ideal and potential governance of NETs has started to emerge.
[RWL1: "Potential governance" applies here to Sweden -  the only country she is addressing.  Throughout she emphasizes “governance” - and detail like this is rare.

     In this thesis, I have contributed to this debate by undertaking an exploratory and in-depth case study of the emerging discussion around NETs in Sweden. From my analysis and discussion, I find that the authority of science and the IPCC plays an important legitimising function for the development of NETs and that especially BECCS plays into a certain national understanding of Sweden as a frontrunner in the fight against climate change.
[RWL2:   "In-depth is always relative;  I think her work qualifies.  Most of on this list can presumably concur that CDR/NETs need no further “legitimizing".  I favor biochar over “BECCS", but can agree that the latter has much greater recognition in policy circles.  I wish however she had mentioned the lead role of Stockholm in biochar adoption and several Swedish recipients of (quite rare) competitive payment for CDR/NET projects.

    Furthermore, NETs development partly supports an imaginary of techno-markets, where technological innovation and market-based policy solutions can ensure climate protection and restoration without compromising current socioeconomic lifestyles. However, a line of disagreement may appear between those favouring more liberal approaches to NETs, where technologies can͕ e.g. be used in industries to balance out emissions, contra those who prefer greater governmental control of the use of NETs.
[RWL3:  The “imaginary” term used here is my reason for introducing the two earlier papers #1 and #2.    There is no mention of the other three Imaginaries; “techno markets was even ignored in Paper #1.    "Techno-Markets" was the Imaginary used to support wind and solar since the early 1970’s.   The term  “balance outis key in her thesis - used to allow continued emissions.   She herself is favoring “government control”.

   In line with the idea of techno-markets, the main governance mechanism to regulate NETs appears to become a reverse auction system, where private actors receive payment for providing negative emissions. Such a governance regime may, however, shift rights and responsibilities in society by abandoning the assumption that the public has the right to a clean environment in favour of an assumption that private actors have the right to receive payment for providing a clean environment. Considering that deployment of NETs at the scale assumed in IAMs will entail substantial costs, if the public is expected to support that "tax money" is allocated to climate recovery through NETs, broader societal discussions need to take place to avoid polarisation. 

[RWL4:  To me, this paragraph covers the most important part of the paper.  I have seen the phrase “reverse auction” previously - but not such a thorough rationale for coming to this option (and ruling out taxes). “Abandoning” the “right to a clean environment” means dropping the rule that “polluters pay”.   “Private actors …..payment” refers back to the "reverse auction" recommendation - using “tax money”.   ‘Polarization” perhaps refers back to the other three climate imaginaries of the Levy paper.  

In this final section, she has not mentioned that a key part of her thesis was interviewing and then analyzing serious interviews with persons she considered key.  This 4th paragraph is where I think we can have the most useful list discussion.

   It remains that even if Sweden develops NETs, it will not necessarily entail the successful limitation of climate change. If NETs are only used to offset continued emissions and not actively used in a climate recovery strategy, reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement will be difficult. However, to be used in a climate recovery strategy requires assigning international responsibility for historical emissions, which may prove only to exacerbate the struggles of current international climate negotiations. Solving this issue is crucial for the effectiveness of NETs as a solution to climate change." 

[RWL5;  An “offset” is clearly not her favorite use of NETs.  “Responsibility” and ’solving" is not a major part of her thesis - but again - not a topic this list has discussed much. -  but needs to.

[RWLC:   I haven’t done justice to Ms Christiansen’s full thesis.  There is much to be learned by all of us as she describes how her eleven respondents take opposite views on a wide range of NETs/CDR policy issues.

Can anyone identify another paper that has covered NET/CDR policy/politics in this way?  She has a fine bibliography of CDR/NET-relevant papers.


On Nov 8, 2020, at 11:48 AM, Ronal Larson <rongretlarson@...> wrote:

List:   cc Dr. Levy

1.  Yesterday,  I included this figure in providing information related to CDR politics that apparently relied extensively on this second “Imaginaries” article.

<Screen Shot 2020-11-07 at 9.42.59 PM.png>

2.  This second article is available (non-fee) at

<snip as no longer being needed>