This journal article highlights the urgency of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to achieve emissions targets, with a focus on the vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It promotes inclusive, grassroots strategies for public engagement and support, using a Dominican Republic coastal project as an example of local and participatory CDR governance.


Meeting global emissions targets is highly likely to require the removal of previously emitted greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, and increasing attention is being paid to novel innovations for carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly at risk from climate change impacts and are therefore important to consider for CDR efforts, both in terms of CDR potential and risks. Grassroots, inclusive frameworks are valuable to advancing our understanding of the social implications of CDR, including valid concerns around efficacy and scalability, and should constitute crucial foundations in establishing the public support to develop, trial and transition novel proposals. This position paper, a collaboration between Vesta and researchers located in the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom, presents a simple model for integrating local ownership, inclusion, and participatory governance of CDR through a case study of the establishment of a coastal enhanced weathering project in the Dominican Republic. This paper argues that the inclusion of actors from the Global South into CDR innovation will strengthen both ethical and governance considerations. Critical discourse around whether researching CDR in a SIDS context raises novel, locally embedded, and pertinent questions about the relationship between CDR and climate change adaptation. Conducting social science research to gauge understandings of climate change and public perceptions, while opening pathways for participation in project development, provides insight into and potentially addresses these emergent inquiries. Participatory, deliberative, and localized governance approaches may influence public perception in communities subject to climate change vulnerability, and evidence of its implementation would help to inform strategies to develop more ethical CDR solutions aligned with climate justice principles.


Harry Hilser, Lia Hiraldo, Cheyenne Moreau, Andrea Draiby, Emily Cox, Grace Andrews, Lewis Winks and Nathan G. Walworth

Publication details

Hilser, H., Cox, E., Moreau, C., Hiraldo, L., Draiby, A., Winks, L., Andrews, M.G., Walworth, N.G, 2024. Localized governance of carbon dioxide removal in small island developing states. Environmental Development 49, 100942.