Climate reparations and carbon removalClimate reparations and carbon removal
Episode #

Climate reparations and carbon removal

Episode #

Climate reparations and carbon removal


Panelists Dr. Holly Jean Buck of the University at Buffalo and Chris Barnard of the American Conservation Coalition join host Radhika Moolgavkar of Nori for this policy-focused episode of Carbon Removal Newsroom.

In April of 2021, Raj Kumar Singh, an Indian energy Minister, said at a UN conference that rich countries need to be net-negative and remove atmospheric co2 to account for historical emissions. While decades of climate diplomacy focused on emissions to come, Singh worked to shift the conversation towards pollution already emitted.

Later last year, journalist and author of popular climate book The Uninhabitable Earth David Wallace-Wells penned Climate Reparations in New York Magazine.

The long-form piece connected the inequitable effects of climate change, more drastically and quickly hitting tropical and global south countries, with the political outcomes made possible by carbon removal technology.

He points out that half of emissions come from 10% of the world’s population and that climate change has already decreased the GDP of some global south countries, while it has increased GDPs in the global North. This dynamic will continue and will widen already stark global wealth inequalities.

Wells reviews the field of technical CDR and finds that while it could present temptation for delay, it also provides revolutionary possibilities if historical emitters are made to pay to remove their pollution.

He calls this ‘climate reparations’ and quotes philosopher Olufemi Taiwo (who coined that term) “It’s just so clear to me that carbon removal is squarely the kind of thing that fits into the reparations framework.”

In this episode, we discuss the Wallace-Wells' piece and zoom in on climate reparations and climate colonialism, defining these phrases in more depth and explaining how these approaches might impact policies and institutions.

We also discuss the idea that carbon removal is not limited by physics, so what is carbon removal scaling limited by?

We round out the episode with the good news and the interesting news of the week, then we bid a warm farewell to our beloved co-host Holly, who will be going on sabbatical for the year. We will miss you Holly and look forward to seeing you back on the show!

--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:


This episode doesn’t (yet!) have a transcript. Check out the rest of our episode list for more climate and carbon removal content.