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Policy Brief ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Clim. | doi: 10.3389/fclim.2019.00004

Beyond ‘Net-Zero’: A case for separate targets for emissions reduction and negative emissions

  • 1Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • 2Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

• Targets and accounting for negative emissions should be explicitly set and managed separately from existing and future targets for emissions reduction.
• Failure to make such a separation has already hampered climate policy, exaggerating the expected future contribution of negative emissions in climate models, while also obscuring the extent and pace of the investment needed to deliver negative emissions.
• Separation would help minimise the negative impacts that promises and deployments of negative emissions could have on emissions reduction, arising from effects such as temporal trade-offs, excessive offsetting, and technological lock-in.
• Benefits for international, national, local, organisational and sectoral planning would arise from greater clarity over the role and timing of negative emissions alongside accelerated emissions reduction.

Keywords: Negative emissions technologies (NETs), Carbon trading, Offsetting, Target-setting, climate policy

Received: 01 May 2019; Accepted: 07 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 McLaren, Tyfield, Willis, Szerszynski and Markusson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Duncan P. McLaren, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom, d.mclaren@lancaster.ac.uk