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Alternative pathways to the 1.5 °C target reduce the need for negative emission technologies

Article | 13-04-2018

Mitigation scenarios that achieve the ambitious targets included in the Paris Agreement typically rely on greenhouse gas emission reductions combined with net carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere, mostly accomplished through large-scale application of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and afforestation. However, CDR strategies face several difficulties such as reliance on underground CO2 storage and competition for land with food production and biodiversity protection.

The question arises of whether alternative deep mitigation pathways exist. Here, using an integrated assessment model, we explore the impact of alternative pathways that include lifestyle change, additional reduction of non-CO2 greenhouse gases and more rapid electrification of energy demand based on renewable energy. Although these alternatives also face specific difficulties, they are found to significantly reduce the need for CDR, but not fully eliminate it. The alternatives offer a means to diversify transition pathways to meet the Paris Agreement targets, while simultaneously benefiting other sustainability goals.

Author(s)Detlef P. van Vuuren, Elke Stehfest, David Gernaat, Maarten van den Berg, David L. Bijl, Harmen Sytze de Boer, Vassilis Daioglou, Jonathan C. Doelman, Oreane Y. Edelenbosch, Mathijs Harmsen, Andries F. Hof, Mariësse A. E. van Sluisveld
Publication date13-04-2018
PublicationNature Climate Change
RemarksThis article is available on the publisher’s website via restricted access.