New AtlanticistSep 20, 2023
Carbon removal is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce the risks of overshooting global warming targets
By Mahmoud Abouelnaga, Raul Brens Jr.
Carbon dioxide removal technologies offer a crucial pathway to achieving net-zero emissions and minimizing the extent and duration of any overshoot.
Raul Brens Jr. is the acting senior director and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center. In this capacity, he holds responsibility for directing the center’s science and technology research, strategy, program development, and policy implementation. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, Brens had a career in academia and the public sector, focusing on science and technology policy, research, and development, as well as social- and health- policy issues.
Brens has made significant contributions to public policy efforts in the United States and Australia, particularly in projects aimed at assisting vulnerable social groups and utilizing emerging technologies in science and technology initiatives to combat climate change and address other societal challenges. Previously, he served as an international affairs advisor to the under secretary and chief scientist at the US Department of Agriculture, working on international science and technology research, development, and research security. He also worked as an American Association for the Advancement of Science science and technology policy fellow at the US Department of State, where he focused on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear-energy matters. Brens has led large-scale projects focused on bridging data divides within the government of New South Wales, Australia, and across different levels of government, earning recognition from the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disability.
At the outset of his career, Brens conducted interdisciplinary research in earth and atmospheric sciences as a research scientist. His work included research and development in Australia’s agricultural sector, specifically in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. Alongside his extensive academic achievements, Brens is fluent in Spanish. He holds a PhD and a master’s degree in geosciences and geochemistry. Additionally, he completed a bachelor’s degree with a dual major in earth sciences and history, with a focus on international relations.