- Actions like introducing beavers and replanting mangroves can also help protect humans from the impact of climate change
Following calls this week from Japanese businesses for their country to set a net-zero emissions target by 2050, and the UK government seeking formal advice on its own net-zero target, Christian Aid has released a report examining the various options for creating negative emissions.
Like the waste hierarchy of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ resources, including energy, should be ‘used less, used more efficiently, used sustainably’. Rapid emission cuts are essential as a priority but even with these, it’s likely that some negative emissions will be needed.
With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change setting out the need for the global economy to go net-zero by 2050 to limit warming to 1.5C, Christian Aid’s report shows that the potential for natural solutions are much better than the science fiction of geoengineering.
Report author Dr Kat Kramer, Christian Aid’s global climate lead, said: “The move to a net zero world by 2050 is gaining momentum as we realise how vital it is to limit global warming to 1.5C.
“The search for ways to create ‘carbon sinks’ that generate negative emissions is growing. The idea of putting mirrors in space or spraying the atmosphere with reflective aerosols gets attention but these are largely expensive science fiction fantasies.
“What we need is a renewed relationship with nature. Restoring ecosystems, especially peatlands and native forests, has the potential to create significant benefits for the climate without using our atmosphere as a school laboratory.”
Restoring natural ecosystems not only helps reduce atmospheric carbon, it can also help humans adapt to climate change. The reintroduction of beavers, because of the dams they create, is a natural way to slow rivers and reduce flooding, while replanting mangroves can act as a natural storm barrier in the Tropics.
The full report can be accessed here