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Growing demand for carbon sequestration

COP24: UN Framework on Combating Climate Change

· COP24,news,irina,report,IPCC

In the midst of the the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Combating Climate Change (COP24), we are once again reminded about the urgency and the importance of the work that we do here at BioCarbon.

Here is our synthesis of the Climate-related news in order to equip you for following COP24 with a focus on ecosystem restoration.

The kick-off event started with Sir David Attenborough who said that climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years and could lead to the collapse of civilisations.

Sir David Attenborough speaking at COP24

Image: Sir David Attenborough speaking at COP24

Echoing the landmark UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, he said that urgent and unprecedented changes are needed.

The IPCC report has warned that we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, and we need to drastically cut our emissions in order to mitigate risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. There are reasons for optimism however, as the experts say meeting the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C is affordable and feasible. Moreover this half-degree difference could also prevent corals from being completely eradicated and ease pressure on the Arctic, according to the 1.5C study.

The IPCC maps out four pathways to achieve 1.5C, with different combinations of land use and technological change. Reforestation is essential to all of them as are shifts to electric transport systems and greater adoption of carbon capture technology.

The importance of forests and biodiversity has also been emphasised in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – the world body responsible for maintaining the natural life support systems on which humanity depends.

Irina Fedorenko presenting BioCarbon Engineering at COP24

Image: Dr Irina Fedorenko presenting BioCarbon Engineering at COP24

Pașca Palmer, the executive secretary of CDB, suggested that nature-based solutions – such as forest protection, tree planting, land restoration and soil management – could provide up to a third of the carbon absorption needed to keep global warming within the Paris agreement parameters.

But we have no time to spare. The longer the delay in reducing CO2 emissions towards zero, the larger the likelihood of exceeding 1.5°C, and the heavier the implied reliance on net-negative emissions after mid-century to return warming to 1.5°C. “Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” according to Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

“Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” -Jim Skea

BioCarbon is part of that unprecedented change. Our solution has been designed with planetary scale in mind. Being able to restore ecosystems on industrial scale is crucial for achieving Paris targets. However, people have to be in the centre of any ecosystem.

We can see that there is an emerging challenge to think beyond carbon management to include land restoration in tackling the environmental crisis we face. Building trust between actors in security, ecology and finance across (and within) the various sectors involved in land and security is a critical factor for success in tackling current crisis. A Forum that BioCarbon is involved in is Caux Dialogue on Land and Security is ideally positioned to deliver that trust and contribute to fashioning the alliances for the necessary solution, that combines different actors, technology and puts people in the centre.

“You can get to 1.5C, but not by just by pulling the same levers a little bit harder, because they are being pulled roughly as fast and as hard as we are currently imagining. What we think can be done is massive reforestation. Think of another Brazil in terms of rainforest: you can get to 1.5C” - Ben van Beurden

There are other strong voices to support nature-based solutions. The CEO of Shell, Ben van Beurden, recently said in London “You can get to 1.5C, but not by just by pulling the same levers a little bit harder, because they are being pulled roughly as fast and as hard as we are currently imagining. What we think can be done is massive reforestation. Think of another Brazil in terms of rainforest: you can get to 1.5C”. The US Climate report again echoes the urgency of action based on the current changes already seen in the environment.

The challenge is immense, and the solutions are ready to scale. We are excited for the weeks ahead to be in the centre of the world’s Climate negotiations and we hope that you are following it with enthusiasm too!

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