Achieving net-zero emissions at the global level, as required to limit warming to 1.5°C, means both rapid emissions reductions across all sectors as well as a scaling-up of carbon dioxide removal (CDR). As a growing number of countries bring forward national net-zero targets, the questions of how much CDR each nation holds responsibility for, whether CDR transfers should be possible under the Paris Agreement market mechanisms, and how this might affect the years in which different countries should achieve net-zero, become increasingly important.
Here we show that, depending on the normative assumptions underlying a CDR burden-sharing system, the adjusted net-zero date for big emitting countries could shift forward by up to 15 years (EU, based on gross domestic product) to 35 years (Russia, based on cumulative per capita emissions) compared with what is modeled domestically in global least-cost scenarios.
This illustrates a challenge of using least-cost model scenarios as a basis for setting and evaluating net-zero targets. We also evaluate the potential risk of carbon loss associated with CDR transfers of such a magnitude, and consider how a discount factor could help address carbon loss risks and contribute to overall mitigation.
Our results highlight the need for clear guidelines to ensure that international CDR transfers do not obscure urgently-needed domestic emission reductions efforts by big emitters, while promoting a fair and equitable distribution of the CDR burden inflicted by insufficient near-term mitigation. We find a separate mechanism or accounting for CDR obligations to be the most promising avenue to deliver on these objectives.
Unabated: the Carbon Capture and Storage 86 billion tonne carbon bomb aimed at derailing a fossil phase out
The climate talks at COP28 have centred around the need for a fossil fuel phase out. Our analysis quantifies the risk posed by restricting a phase out commitment to only ‘unabated’ fossil fuels.
No change to warming as fossil fuel endgame brings focus onto false solutions
The CAT's annual warming estimate has risen by 0.1˚C to 2.5˚C. The estimate is largely influenced by weak existing targets rather than shifts triggered by updated Nationally Determined Contributions.
When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?
The IPCC says peaking before 2025 is a critical step to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach. With emissions set to rise in 2023, this leaves limited time to act. To assess if we can meet this milestone, we look at when global emissions might peak, as well as what we can do to get there in time.
Wind and solar benchmarks for a 1.5°C world
This report presents a detailed methodology for determining the amount of wind and solar capacity that is required for a country to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal. While the focus of the report is the method, it includes illustrative benchmarks for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, South Africa.
A 1.5°C future is possible: getting fossil fuels out of the Philippine power sector
The Philippines is also one of the fastest-growing developing countries: poverty is in decline, access to energy is rising and, with that, demand for energy services. However, fossil fuels still dominate the energy system, accounting for 78% of power generation in 2022. This report sets out what the Philippines government needs to do to get the country’s power sector onto a 1.5˚C compatible emissions pathway, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Production Gap Report 2023
Governments, in aggregate, still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. The persistence of the global production gap puts a well-managed and equitable energy transition at risk.
Emissions impossible: Unpacking CSIRO GISERA Beetaloo Middle Arm fossil gas emissions estimates
This report provides an independent evaluation of the CSIRO and GISERA assessments of the potential greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the exploitation of the Beetaloo fossil shale gas reserves.
Adjusting 1.5°C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information
This study uses an integrated assessment model to explore how 1.5°C pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5°C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment.
Railway development: lessons for the EU
This paper analyses how EU railway policy for a low-carbon future can be enhanced, drawing insights from Japan and Switzerland.
Ramping up energy storage: lessons for the EU
This paper explores how the EU can enhance its policy for a low-carbon future by learning from successful energy storage approaches in California, South Korea, and Australia.