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Publication: "Assessing the terrestrial capacity for Negative Emission Technologies in Ireland"

posted Mar 27, 2019, 9:10 AM by Barry McMullin   [ updated Mar 27, 2019, 9:22 AM ]
The following article, based on work completed in the ie-nets project, has now been published (21 Jan 2019)

Alwynne Hannah McGeever, Paul Price, Barry McMullin & Michael Bevan Jones (2019) Assessing the terrestrial capacity for Negative Emission Technologies in Ireland, Carbon Management, DOI: 10.1080/17583004.2018.1537516 [Open Access Accepted Manuscript]


Negative emissions technologies (NETs) and their potential role in meeting emission targets is a rapidly growing and contentious area of climate change mitigation research. The literature ranges in scope from general reviews of NETs options to research and development through applied case studies. Within this field, a gap exists in the application of this growing body of research to the unique limitations and opportunities of a specific nation. Ireland is a small developed island nation in the EU with a unique emissions profile, as 32% of the total comes from agriculture due to the high number of cattle. In this study we aim to assess the potential capacity of terrestrial NETs options for Ireland and review the nation-specific context for their deployment. Despite the proportionally high representation of biochar and carbon capture and storage in the international NETs research, in an Irish context afforestation and bioenergy crops are much more established practices and could  readily be considered in possible emission pathways that use NETs. Higher capacities were found for NETs options that are currently unavailable (direct air carbon capture and storage and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage), while options available to deploy at scale (afforestation, soil carbon management and biochar) have capacities limited by saturation of soil carbon stock and have higher risk of reversibility due to impermanence. Hence, while we estimate a reasonable technical capacity for NETs in Ireland, emission reduction remains the highest priority for feasibly meeting a Paris-aligned carbon quota for Ireland.