Countries need to work together to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in order to avoid climate change

A system needs to be devised where quotas are fairly allocated and countries that cannot fulfil their obligations allowed to trade with those who can remove CO2.


A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change sees an international group of researchers arguing that even though the Paris Agreement lays out national quotas on CO2 emissions, it does not speak about its removal. According to them, this is something that needs to be urgently addressed.

A report in the Science Daily mentions that the Paris Agreement aims to keep the rise in global temperature below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and follow through with efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

The Paris Agreement goals still remain out of reach, according to the researchers. Image credit: AP

The Paris Agreement goals still remain out of reach, according to the researchers. Image credit: AP

To reach these levels, they need to lower carbon dioxide emissions through increased use of renewable energy sources and removal of CO2 from the atmosphere through reforestation as well as through capture and storage of carbon.

According to the United Nations, the Paris Agreement brings together all nations into a common cause to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

Researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Girona, ETH Zürich and the University of Cambridge who conducted the study say countries need to collectively work to make sure enough CO2 is removed in fairly and in a reasonable way.

According to researchers, this should involve devising a system where quotas may be fairly allocated and countries that cannot fulfil their obligations be allowed to trade with those that have a greater capacity to remove CO2.

Speaking about the study, co-author Dr Niall Mac Dowell said, "Carbon dioxide removal is necessary to meet climate targets since we have so far not done enough to mitigate our emissions. Both will be necessary going forward, but the longer we wait to start removing CO2 on a large scale, the more we will have to do.”

Mac Dowell added that it is important that nations determine how quotas could be fairly allocated and how many countries could meet those quotas through cooperation.

Co-lead author of the study, Dr Ángel Galán-Martín, from ETH Zürich, said that allocating CO2 removal quotas can be done by "incentivising countries to align their future national pledges with the expectations emerging from the fairness principles."

According to the study authors, after quotas have been determined, a system of trading quotas could be established.


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