Carbon removals needed plus rapid decarbonization to limit global warming to 1.5°C, says new report from the Energy Transition Commission United States – English United States – English United States – English

The report confirms that all sectors of the economy can and must decarbonize by mid-century with deep emissions reductions in the 2020s. Halving coal use and ending 70% of deforestation by 2030 are particularly important priorities. But even given the fastest possible emissions reduction trajectory, the world will need at least 70 to 220 Gt of carbon removals by 2050 to limit cumulative net emissions to a level consistent with the goals. globally agreed climate conditions.

These removals could be achieved through a combination of natural climate solutions (such as reforestation and improved soil management), technical solutions (e.g. using direct capture of CO from the air2) and hybrid solutions (such as bioenergy plus carbon capture and storage). NCS solutions will dominate in the early years but carry measurement and ongoing risks that must be carefully managed; Technical solutions are currently much more expensive, but costs can and should be reduced over time.

A feasible scenario suggests that from near zero today, removals could reach 3.5 Gt per year by 2030 and could provide about 165 Gt of cumulative sequestration over the next 30 years.

A portfolio approach to CDR

No single CDR solution can be deployed in large enough volumes to provide the emissions suppressions required, and each involves different costs and risks. A portfolio approach is therefore necessary, with solutions playing essential and complementary roles.

Initially, the bulk of investments should be focused on reforestation and the provision of other NCS, alongside early support for scaling up technical and hybrid solutions. In the 2030s and 2040s, the portfolio is expected to move towards hybrid and technical solutions as these new technologies evolve, reducing costs and increasing availability.

Close the gap

Removals will only take place if someone pays for them. A massive increase in financial support from governments and businesses is needed to expand the moves in the coming decades. Currently, funding for phasing out emissions is very limited, less than $10 billion per year, with voluntary carbon markets providing only 10 megatonnes (Mt) per year of emissions removals. This equates to less than 0.1% of global emissions.

“Unless we scale up carbon dioxide emissions quickly and at scale – closing the gap in ambition and funding between today’s minimum level and what we need – it will be impossible to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This is neither nor nor – deep decarbonization or carbon dioxide removals. Both are essential, quickly and on a large scale, if we are to avoid enormous damage to people around the world,” urged Adair TurnerChairman of the Energy Transitions Commission.

Support c. 3.5 Gt/year of extractions in 2030 could require annual payments of more than 200 billion dollars / year. Over the next three decades, the sequestration of 165 Gt could require payments of approximately $15 trillion, equivalent to about 0.25% of world GDP projected over this period. In contrast, the required investment in clean energy is around 1.5% of GDP over the same period.

Government and corporate actions

Voluntary carbon markets will play an important role in scaling up CDR, but even with ambitious projections they are likely to reach only a third of the required volume by 2030. Further action will be needed with the government support through the creation of markets (eg emissions trading systems), through direct financing and purchase of removals, and by redirecting agricultural subsidies and funding for nature restoration.

In turn, companies should support by fulfilling their obligations in compliance markets (e.g. the EU Emissions Trading Scheme). In addition, highly ambitious companies should choose to commit to science-aligned 1.5°C pathways to reduce emissions, with any remaining emissions fully offset via carbon credits. Fundamentally, the type of carbon credits companies buy should move away from today’s focus on emission reductions, towards removals.

Government-business collaboration can create the right conditions for CDR. Specifically, building supporting infrastructure (e.g., renewable energy, CCSU), accelerating innovation (e.g., weathering improvement), and providing training in areas such as improved waste management practices. lands. Additionally, risks need to be managed by governments and regulators investing in monitoring and verification technologies and standardizing best practices.

Nigella garnishBritain’s top climate action champion, said: “In addition to rapid and deep decarbonisation, governments and businesses must work together, now, to develop an ambitious and diverse portfolio of CDR solutions. COP27this is essential to fulfill the commitments made in Glasgow and maintain 1.5°C alive.”

the Watch out for the gap: How Carbon Dioxide Removals Must Complement Deep Decarbonization to Keep 1.5°C Alive report constitutes a collective vision of the Energy Transitions Commission. ETC members agree with the general thrust of the arguments made in this report, but should not be taken as agreeing with all conclusions or recommendations. The institutions to which the commissioners are affiliated have not been asked to formally endorse the report.

To read the full report, visit:

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For a full glossary of terms, please see the full report. The following terms are used in the press release:

  • Carbon budget (the remaining carbon budget indicates the amount of CO2 that could still be emitted while keeping warming below a specific temperature level) and;
  • Sequester (the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide)

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SOURCE Energy Transitions Commission

Teresa H. Sadler