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Policy brief
Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Carbon Dioxide Removal

Publication | 28 February 2023

In short

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is a type of climate engineering technique, also known as “negative emissions techniques”, that removes atmospheric CO2 and stores it in geological, terrestrial, or oceanic reservoirs.

This policy brief sets out recommendations based on the regulatory challenges related to CDR that were identified in our analysis of EU laws and policies. We address them to EU policymakers and officials involved in the preparation of legislative or policy initiatives related to climate action, climate technologies, climate engineering, geoengineering, carbon removal, and CDR specifically.

To protect and uphold ethical, fundamental rights and sustainability considerations in the research, development and deployment of CDR, TechEthos encourages policy makers to:

  • Clarify the EU’s terminology and rationale for the use of terms, including climate engineering, geoengineering, carbon removal and CDR, and pursue the harmonisation of terms to bring them in line with the terminology of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
  • Clarify what role – if any – CDR has to play in meeting the EU’s legally binding target of net-zero by 2050;
  • Explicitly incorporate EU fundamental rights into policies and decision-making processes governing CDR techniques in the EU;
  • Clarify the legal status of carbon removals and recognise them as distinct from emission reductions;
  • Define the sustainability requirements for CDR, particularly those in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EU Taxonomy Regulation, and the Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) initiative;
  • Pursue greater international collaboration in relation to CDR to promote the standardisation of removal accounting to avoid double counting, and the enforcement of such standards;
  • Review the adequacy of environmental liability regimes in relation to CDR activities in the EU, including research and deployment.

Find out more about each recommendation by downloading the policy brief below.


Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI), Ben Howkins, TRI.

Date of publication

28 February 2023

Cite this resource

Vinders, J., Howkins, B. (2023). Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Carbon Dioxide Removal. Extract from Deliverable 6.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at:


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