Research Topic

Carbon Sink Accounting, Certification and Trade

About this Research Topic

To mitigate climate change, the active withdrawal of CO2 from the atmosphere is needed on top of rapid decarbonization. From 2030 onwards, 2.7 to 8.5 billion tons of carbon (10 – 31 Gt CO2) have to be stored on average every year. This requires the formation of massive carbon sinks in the terrestrial biosphere including soils, vegetation, materials, sediments and/or underground deposits. To meet the 1.5° goal of the Paris Agreement, the creation of carbon sinks has to commence now, not in a distant future. To date, the methods that are safest, fastest to implement and best compatible with the SDGs are storage in the form of standing biomass, stable soil organic matter, carbonates and pyrogenic carbon. However, non of these C-sinks can be considered permanent because all are subject to more or less rapid build-up and degradation phases. Therefore, C sinks need to be assessed dynamically along storage times.

To quantify and trade the sustainable storage of carbon in the terrestrial system, a secure, efficient and transparent assessment, certification and trading system is mandatory. The objective of this Research Topic on carbon sinks is therefore to develop and establish the scientific baselines for a time-dependent accounting of carbon sinks including carbon losses over time through degradation, decomposition, volatilization, leakage or combustion as well as carbon expenditures during processing and transportation to actual sink sites. Moreover, as the degradation processes of terrestrial carbon are not only a function of time, the interdependency with climatic and geologic conditions need to be modelled. This accounting includes also the potential negative effects of a storage solution implementation, like the losses of old carbon stocks. The goal of this Research Topic is to establish the scientific baselines for it.
After establishing these accounting guidelines, a second step would consist in turning these storage actions into financial products, like carbon-sink leasing or carbon sink futures. These products need to be defined in terms of geography, sustainability, co-benefits for ecosystem services, and socio-economic context, to cite a few. The second goal of this Research Topic is to clarify the frame of these financial products.

This Research Topic aims to gather scientists with a wide scope of expertise to develop the framework for dynamic carbon sink accounting, certification and trade. The range of disciplines includes geoscience, agronomy, ecology, climate science, geomicrobiology, oceanography (in regard to sediments and carbon feedbacks), economy, policy. Articles can be original research, techniques, reviews, or synthesis papers. The overarching goal is to provide policy makers with a new series of reliable tools and methods to encounter climate change and fulfill the Paris agreement. Areas to be covered should include, but are not limited to:
• Negative Emission Technologies;
• Organic, mineral and pyrogenic carbon stability in earth systems;
• Carbon farming, including agroforestry;
• Ecosystem service, biodiversity, and SDGs;
• Dynamic global vegetation modeling;
• Global carbon cycle modeling; and
• Quantitative finance.


Keywords: negative emissions, pyrogenic carbon, soil organic matter, biochar, mineral weathering


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

To mitigate climate change, the active withdrawal of CO2 from the atmosphere is needed on top of rapid decarbonization. From 2030 onwards, 2.7 to 8.5 billion tons of carbon (10 – 31 Gt CO2) have to be stored on average every year. This requires the formation of massive carbon sinks in the terrestrial biosphere including soils, vegetation, materials, sediments and/or underground deposits. To meet the 1.5° goal of the Paris Agreement, the creation of carbon sinks has to commence now, not in a distant future. To date, the methods that are safest, fastest to implement and best compatible with the SDGs are storage in the form of standing biomass, stable soil organic matter, carbonates and pyrogenic carbon. However, non of these C-sinks can be considered permanent because all are subject to more or less rapid build-up and degradation phases. Therefore, C sinks need to be assessed dynamically along storage times.

To quantify and trade the sustainable storage of carbon in the terrestrial system, a secure, efficient and transparent assessment, certification and trading system is mandatory. The objective of this Research Topic on carbon sinks is therefore to develop and establish the scientific baselines for a time-dependent accounting of carbon sinks including carbon losses over time through degradation, decomposition, volatilization, leakage or combustion as well as carbon expenditures during processing and transportation to actual sink sites. Moreover, as the degradation processes of terrestrial carbon are not only a function of time, the interdependency with climatic and geologic conditions need to be modelled. This accounting includes also the potential negative effects of a storage solution implementation, like the losses of old carbon stocks. The goal of this Research Topic is to establish the scientific baselines for it.
After establishing these accounting guidelines, a second step would consist in turning these storage actions into financial products, like carbon-sink leasing or carbon sink futures. These products need to be defined in terms of geography, sustainability, co-benefits for ecosystem services, and socio-economic context, to cite a few. The second goal of this Research Topic is to clarify the frame of these financial products.

This Research Topic aims to gather scientists with a wide scope of expertise to develop the framework for dynamic carbon sink accounting, certification and trade. The range of disciplines includes geoscience, agronomy, ecology, climate science, geomicrobiology, oceanography (in regard to sediments and carbon feedbacks), economy, policy. Articles can be original research, techniques, reviews, or synthesis papers. The overarching goal is to provide policy makers with a new series of reliable tools and methods to encounter climate change and fulfill the Paris agreement. Areas to be covered should include, but are not limited to:
• Negative Emission Technologies;
• Organic, mineral and pyrogenic carbon stability in earth systems;
• Carbon farming, including agroforestry;
• Ecosystem service, biodiversity, and SDGs;
• Dynamic global vegetation modeling;
• Global carbon cycle modeling; and
• Quantitative finance.


Keywords: negative emissions, pyrogenic carbon, soil organic matter, biochar, mineral weathering


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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