Political Aspects

As CDR has only recently started to appear in climate policy debates in the EU and Germany, and as marine CDR plays only a minor role in this debate, it is important to evaluate its political/institutional feasibility—as part of a broad set of feasibility dimensions developed in IPCC SR1.5 (IPCC 2018, Section 1 and Section 4). However, this analytical framework has so far been applied almost exclusively to those CDR methods that are also included in Integrated Assessment Models, namely afforestation and BECCS (Forster et al., 2020; Waller et al., 2020). Political feasibility—a factor underrepresented in Integrated Assessment Models—is conceptualized here in an explicitly non-normative way, as the outcome of the combination of motivation and capacity of political actors to achieve a particular outcome (Jewell and Cherp, 2020), such as research, development, demonstration, or deployment of marine CDR options. Climate science knowledge about problems and potential solutions undoubtedly influences both public perceptions and media coverage, each of which are important determinants of political-administrative action. Nevertheless, inherent logics of the political-administrative field often lead to inconsistent decisions and implementation approaches (Geden, 2016). While feasibility assessments in IPCC SR1.5 were primarily at the level of global emission reduction pathways, political/institutional feasibility can only be meaningfully analyzed when specific options are considered in political-institutional contexts within specific timeframes (Jewell and Cherp, 2020). Political/institutional „feasibility boundaries“ must be viewed as dynamic, which allows for the development of hypotheses about how such boundaries might be altered in the future.


Forster, J., Vaughan, N.E., Gough, C., Lorenzoni, I., & Chilvers, J. (2020), Mapping feasibilities of greenhouse gas removal: Key issues, gaps and opening up assessments. Glob. Environm. Change, 63, 10273. http://doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102073

Geden, O. (2016), The Paris Agreement and the inherent inconsistency of climate policymaking. WIREs Climate Change, 7, 790-797.

IPCC, (2018), Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. (Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.).

Jewell, J. & Cherp, A. (2020), On the political feasibility of climate change mitigation pathways: Is it too late to keep warming below 1.5C?. WIREs Climate Change, 11, e621. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.621

Waller, L., Rayner T., Chilvers, J., Gough, C.A., & Vaugahn, N. (2020), Contested framings of greenhouse gas removal and its feasibility: Social and political dimensions. WIREs Climate Change, 11, e649. https://doi.10.1002/wcc.649