Raimi: "The influence of learning about CO2 removal on support for mitigation"

August 31, 2017

A new article by Victoria Campbell-Arvai, P. Sol Hart, Kaitlin T. Raimi, and Kimberly S. Wolske, The influence of learning about carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on support for mitigation policies, appears in the August 2017 edition of Climatic Change.


Large-scale interventions aimed at addressing global climate change are increasingly at the center of scientific and policy debates. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR), the removal and storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using biological or chemical processes (Smith et al. 2015), is one such emerging approach. A wide range of CDR strategies has been proposed, varying from biology-based approaches such as reforestation to emergent technologies like direct air capture and sequestration (National Research Council 2015). While CDR strategies differ in terms of their deployment readiness, costs, and potential tradeoffs, they share a common goal of increasing negative emissions and achieving a net reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentrations (van Vuuren et al. 2013).

Policymakers, researchers, and the lay public have expressed concern, however, that further development of CDR strategies may create a sort of moral hazard: if people perceive the problem of climate change to have been solved, they may no longer feel the need to support carbon dioxide emissions reductions from fossil fuel use and agricultural processes (Keith 2013; Anderson and Peters 2016). Given this growing interest in CDR, we investigated whether learning about CDR would reduce or augment public support for other types of climate mitigation action. Due to the political polarization surrounding climate change, we also tested whether political ideology moderated this relationship.