Net-zero approaches must consider Earth system impacts to achieve climate goals

Zickfeld, K., MacIsaac, A.J., Canadell, J.G., Fuss, S., Jackson, R.B., Jones, C.D., Lohila, A., Matthews, H.D., et al. (2023). Net-zero approaches must consider Earth system impacts to achieve climate goals. Nature Climate Change 13 (12) 1298-1305. 10.1038/s41558-023-01862-7.

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Commitments to net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets now cover 88% of countries’ emissions. Underlying the accounting behind net-zero frameworks is the assumption that emissions can be balanced with removals such that their net climate effect is zero. However, when considering the full climate impacts of CO2 emissions and removals, there are reasons to expect that the two are not equivalent in terms of their climate outcomes. We identify potential contributors to non-equivalence, including impermanence, biogeophysical and non-CO2 GHG effects, and argue that these non-equivalencies need to be accounted for to achieve climate goals. Given key uncertainties about the full climate impact of CO2 removal, it is prudent to prioritize emission reductions over removals.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Integrated Assessment and Climate Change (IACC)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2023 12:54
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2023 12:54

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