Members of the Carbon Removal Working Group (CRWG) first came together at the Wingspread Conference Center in Wisconsin in September 2018. The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy (ICRLP), which is housed within the American University School of International Service, first organized the three-day retreat and invited national non-governmental organizations working on climate change and related issues to attend.
Because carbon removal is a necessary supplement to emissions reductions in order to keep warming below 1.5C, the goal of the retreat was to promote broader engagement on carbon removal in the environmental community. Participants had the opportunity to learn about different approaches to carbon removal from fellow experts and discuss issues such as policy, research, and advocacy as it pertains to methods of carbon removal. The closed-door space allowed the representatives to work through carbon removal questions and share how their organizations were thinking about them. At the end of the retreat, the participants agreed to create the Carbon Removal Working Group to continue sharing information and coordinating on carbon removal issues.
Over the next two years, the CRWG continued to exchange information and members developed carbon removal work at their own respective organizations. In October 2020, the CRWG was reconvened to capture the moment as the conversation on carbon removal was growing in public and private spheres. The group recognized the importance of the changing political moment and a renewed focus on climate change policy that created a significant role for the group to be influential. As a space to talk through potential carbon removal policies from a diversity of perspectives, the CRWG has the potential to make policy recommendations that are well thought out, as well as suggest principles that can act as implementation guardrails. The CRWG is also actively thinking about how to include more environmental justice voices in the carbon removal conversation.