Removing atmospheric greenhouse gases

ANU Below Zero Consultation
2 October 2020

How might we fast-track approaches that draw down greenhouse gases at ANU?  

To limit global warming to well below 2°C, ANU will need to not only reduce our existing greenhouse (GHG) emissions but also draw down and store or use greenhouse gases through the development of carbon sinks, an approach known as negative emissions.  

Approaches and technologies that achieve this at scale are still being researched and developed, with several ANU researchers heavily involved. This focus on negative emissions provides us with an opportunity to go above and beyond what other universities have undertaken and establish a leadership position for ANU. 

Approaches could include sequestering carbon into landscapes at scale. To achieve this, ANU will need to own / have access to land that can be used for indefinite carbon sequestration via vegetation and soils. Land managed in this way can also provide a range of ecosystem benefits such as rehydrating landscapes, supporting wildlife and even providing opportunities for regenerative agriculture.  

Another approach is capturing carbon and using it to create building materials and other products. This requires the development of technologies that use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in conjunction with renewable energy to produce high value, recyclable goods as part of the circular economy (Carbon Capture and Utilisation). These building materials can then be used to construct new facilities and appliances on campus, storing carbon for the long-term. 

Consultation ran from 8 September - 20 October 2020.  A report on the consultation will be released in November 2020 and you can view a recording of the online workshop here