Countries are relying on forests and soil to absorb their remaining carbon – it’s a risky way to reach net zero
(The Conversation, 6 Mar 2023) Countries are betting on forests and soils to mop up their remaining “difficult-to-decarbonise” emissions to achieve their climate targets. More forests and better soils are good for nature and for adapting to climate change, but this strategy may prove a risk to the global goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Substantial emission cuts across the global economy are required to stay on course with global temperature targets. Reaching net zero, however, will also involve removing CO₂ from the atmosphere and storing it, a process known as carbon removal.
The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claimed that carbon removal will be “unavoidable” for balancing out the continued emissions from “difficult-to-decarbonise” sectors, such as aviation and agriculture. In our new paper, we examined how governments plan to pursue carbon removal in their national climate strategies.
We examined all national climate strategies published in English before 2022, totalling nearly 4,000 pages across 41 strategies. We found that the majority did not estimate how much of their emissions would be difficult to decarbonise in 2050.
The Conversation, 6 Mar 2023: Countries are relying on forests and soil to absorb their remaining carbon – it’s a risky way to reach net zero