Insufficient Carbon Removal Plans Jeopardize Paris Agreement Ambitions: Study

Current carbon removal plans are insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature limit. Increased CO2 removal ambition is needed, but global energy demand reduction could improve outcomes. A low-energy demand scenario with less carbon removal scaling and aggressive emissions reductions aligns with ambitious removal proposals. However, sustainability concerns exist with scaling carbon removals, requiring sustainable land management policies.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 04-05-2024 10:03 IST | Created: 04-05-2024 10:03 IST
Insufficient Carbon Removal Plans Jeopardize Paris Agreement Ambitions: Study
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The current carbon removal plans of countries around the world will fall short in limiting the warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees Celsius, set out under the Paris Agreement, new research has suggested.

The researchers pointed out that climate policy regarding removal of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere ''needs more ambition''.

However, if the global energy demand could ''significantly'' reduce, the current carbon removal plans might be closer to achieving net-zero emissions, they found.

''Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods have a small but vital role to play in achieving net zero (target) and limiting the impacts of climate change,'' said Naomi Vaughan of the University of East Anglia, UK, and co-author of the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

''Our analysis shows that countries need more awareness, ambition and action on scaling up CDR methods together with deep emissions reductions to achieve the aspirations of the Paris Agreement,'' said Vaughan.

The international team, led by Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Germany, analysed reports of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) taking yearly measurements since 2010 of the emissions gap -- the difference between what countries pledge versus what is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The researchers found that if national targets were fully implemented, the yearly amount of carbon removed by humans could increase by 0.5 gigatonnes (a gigatonne is a billion tonnes) of CO2 by 2030, and by 1.9 gigatonnes by 2050.

This, however, contrasts with the 5.1 gigatonne increase in the amount of carbon required to be removed in a 'focus scenario', according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report, the researchers said.

The 'focus scenario' is when CO2 emissions are severely cut down to meet net-zero goals by or after 2050, achieving the temperature targets of arresting global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius, as laid out in the Paris Agreement, or at least below 2 degrees Celsius.

Therefore, the emissions gap for the year 2050 is at least 3.2 gigatonnes of CO2, according to the researchers.

They also assessed an alternative 'focus scenario' which assumes a significant reduction in global energy demand. Also derived from the IPCC, the reduced demand is considered to be driven by politically-initiated behavioural changes as the core of climate protection strategy.

The team found that in 2050, this scenario could increase the carbon removed by a more modest amount - 2.5 gigatonnes.

In this scenario, full implementation of the current carbon removal plans of countries would be almost sufficient, with a gap of 0.4 gigatonnes in 2050, the authors found.

''The most ambitious proposals for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) are close to levels in a low-energy demand scenario with the most-limited CDR scaling and aggressive near-term emissions reductions,'' the authors wrote.

The team acknowledged that sustainability issues, such as increased land demand limit the scaling up of carbon removals.

Nevertheless, there is still plenty of room for designing fair and sustainable land management policies, they said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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