About the Initiative

International efforts to curb the worst impacts of climate change are increasingly focused on negative emissions strategies. These are deliberate activities designed to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, providing a critical stopgap while we decarbonize our energy, transportation, and industrial sectors, and modify our land use practices. But there is much we do not yet understand about the economic, biophysical, and governance dimensions of these approaches and given the growing urgency of the climate crisis, there is a pressing need to fill these knowledge gaps. Developing negative emissions strategies as part of the broader mitigation portfolio increases resilience and helps manage climate risk.

The University of Virginia Environmental Resilience Institute is launching a coordinated research initiative focused on negative emissions to provide global thought leadership in this important area. The Climate Restoration Initiative is bringing together faculty and students from across ground to collaborate on targeted projects with leaders from other academic, government, and NGO institutions. The goal of the Climate Restoration Initiative is to build strong interdisciplinary teams that leverage the university’s research excellence and provide actionable knowledge for climate change mitigation.

Download the research agenda

The Initiative is organized around three broad but overlapping themes that will be critical for the future deployment of negative emissions approaches. These themes are already being explored at the university and so they would leverage existing strength but they would also allow us to build outside collaborations with working groups focused internally on high impact research questions.

Biophysical Dimensions

Activities conducted across terrestrial and marine ecosystems that sequester carbon. Topics include coastal blue carbon, afforestation/reforestation, changes in forest management, uptake and storage by agricultural soils, earth systems and life cycle modeling.

Technological Frontiers

Development of value-add products or processes that can be disruptive in the negative emissions space. Topics can include carbon negative cements, approaches to producing/converting biomass, or separation and catalysis materials.

Economics and Governance

Psycho-social constraints influencing the adoption and institutionalization of pollution curbing strategies. Topics include public policy, organizational development, decision-making psychology, finance, and marketing.