About the Project

About the Project

About the Project

Stopping global warming requires net greenhouse gas emissions to fall to zero and remain at zero thereafter. Put simply, all emissions must either cease, or be completely offset by the permanent removal of greenhouse gases (particularly carbon dioxide – CO2) from the atmosphere. Almost all analysis concludes that reducing emissions rapidly enough to remain within a 1.5°Celsius carbon budget is practically impossible. Consequently, to limit global warming to 1.5°Celsius above pre-industrial times, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to net-zero as soon as possible, and then CO2 must be permanently removed from the atmosphere to bring the total mass of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere below the 1.5° Celsius carbon budget.

This task is as immense as it is urgent, requiring an “all of the above” approach. The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia developed the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) framework, recognising and valuing all emissions reduction options. The Circular Carbon Economy builds on the well-established concept of the “three Rs” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – adding a fourth R, “Remove”. ‘Remove’ includes measures which remove CO2 from atmosphere or prevent it from entering the atmosphere after it has been produced such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) at industrial and energy facilities, bio-energy with CCS (BECCS), Direct Air Capture (DAC) with geological storage, and afforestation.

Developed jointly by Columbia University’s SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy and the Global CCS Institute, the Circular Carbon Economy: Keystone to Global Sustainability Series assesses the opportunities and limits associated with transition toward more resilient, sustainable energy systems that address climate change, increase access to energy, and spark innovation for a thriving global economy.



This research was overseen by an Advisory Committee of eminent individuals from government, academia and industry with deep expertise across technology, policy, economics and finance relevant to climate change. The guidance of the Advisory Committee has been invaluable in developing this work.

Advisory Committee for the Circular Carbon Economy: Keystones to Global Sustainability Series

Mr. Brad Page, CEO, Global Carbon Capture & Storage Institute (Co-Chair)

Mr. Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, CTO, Saudi Aramco (Co-Chair)

Dr. Stephen Bohlen, Acting State Geologist, California Department of Conservation

Ms. Heidi Heitkamp, Former Senator from North Dakota, U.S. Senate, United States of America

Mr. Richard Kaufmann, Chairman, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

Ms. Maria Jelescu Dreyfus, CEO, Ardinall Investment Management

Dr. Arun Majumdar, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy and Stanford University

Dr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Former Deputy Director General/CEO of International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Mr. Adam Siemenski, President, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC)

Prof. Nobuo Tanaka, Former Executive Director, International Energy Agency (IEA) and Distinguished Fellow, Institute of Energy Economics Japan