Supported by TotalEnergies in association with Fondation Tuck

October 18, 2021: CO2 removal and 1.5°C

October 18, 2021, 5-6 pm (CET)


Solène CHIQUIER (Imperial College London)*, Mathilde FAJARDY (University of Cambridge), Niall MACDOWEL (Imperial College London).

The international community aims to limit global warming to "well-below" 2°C and possibly to 1.5°C, but little progress has been made towards a global, cost-efficient, and fair climate action plan to deploy the carbon dioxide removal (CDR) required to reach these objectives. Here, we investigate how a portfolio of CDR solutions — afforestation/reforestation (AR), bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), and direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) — might be deployed to meet the Paris Agreement’s CDR objectives. We find that international cooperation is key for deploying the most cost-efficient CDR pathway — comprised primarily of BECCS (78%) and AR (22%) —, as it allows to take the most advantage of location/national context and time variations, and thus minimise costs. Importantly, the spatio-temporal evolution of this CDR pathway differs greatly from the regional allocation of these CDR objectives — resulting from the responsibility-based burdensharing principle, used here as a proxy for their fair distribution. With limited, or no international cooperation, we find that delivering these CDR objectives proves to be significantly more challenging. Key domestic bio-geophysical resources include geological CO2 sinks, of which the absence, or lack of identification, undermines the feasibility of these CDR objectives, and land and biomass supply, of which the limited availability makes them more costly — specifically when leading to the deployment of DACCS. Moreover, we show that establishing a market for the international trade of negative emissions (NE) achieve simultaneously cost-efficiency and equity in delivering CDR at the Paris Agreement’s scale, by incentivising all nations to meet their share of the Paris Agreement’s CDR objectives whilst making up for the uneven distribution of bio-geophysical resources across the world. Crucially, we argue that there is limited time left to develop a global geopolitical and economic framework, including not only such international NE trading market but also robust institutions to monitor, verify and accredit its efficiency and equity. We conclude that international cooperation in the very near-term is imperative to ensure that the feasibility and sustainability of CDR pathways are not compromised, and that future generations do not bear the increasingly more costly burden of climate mitigation inaction.


Language:  English

Senior reporter: Olivier MASSOL (IFP School)

Junior reporter: Emma JAGU (IFP School, CentraleSupélec)


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