The hyping of negative emissions

(EurActiv, 5 Jun 2020) EU lawmaker Jytte Guteland has proposed ambitious EU climate targets, but a cornerstone for reaching them remains shaky, says Kelsey Perlman.

On 4 March, the European Commission presented its European Climate Law, proposing a path for the EU to fulfil its pledge of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The proposal recognises that, as well as cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the EU will have to remove some already in the atmosphere: thereby achieving ‘negative emissions’.

This was at the heart of the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which said that to keep global heating to 1.5°C, negative emissions would be necessary.

Since then, the concept of negative emissions has gained huge traction.

Faced with increasing pressure to deal with the climate emergency, many companies and organisations see them as a “get out of jail” card. They have turned the necessary task of reducing emissions into a search for scalable solutions to mop them up – allowing companies and others to continue polluting practices virtually unabated.

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EurActiv, 5 Jun 2020: The hyping of negative emissions