The role of carbon removals in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement

According to a new report commissioned by the Swedish Energy Agency, carbon removal is required in the near-term to reduce climate overshoot.

Countries, companies, and stakeholders across the world are looking at investing in carbon removal projects both nationally and internationally. For instance, Sweden and Switzerland recently took the first steps towards establishing an international market for carbon removals under the Paris Agreement framework, signing a declaration of intent. At COP28 in Dubai in December 2023, the countries announced a pilot project to test the rules for international carbon markets in the field of carbon removal technologies.

Carbon removals to balance and compensate for a climate overshoot

Achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement requires – first and foremost – rapid and radical emission reductions. To keep the increase in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees, the world needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. But by then, some greenhouse gas emissions will likely remain in certain hard-to-abate sectors. These remaining emissions will need to be balanced by carbon removals, and if we temporarily exceed the temperature target, global net-negative emissions will be required to compensate for the overspent carbon budget. Thus, carbon removals have a key role in contributing to the goals of the Paris Agreement, the authors of a new report commissioned by the Swedish Energy Agency state.

The report addresses, among other things:

  • Best practices in implementing and scaling carbon dioxide removals
  • Four scenarios contrasting carbon removals and emission reductions
  • Ways to address risks associated with carbon removals
  • Recommendations for future policy

Read the report The role of carbon dioxide removal in contributing to the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement