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ie-nets team contributes to event by the Royal Irish Academy for the recent EASAC report on negative emissions

posted Mar 8, 2018, 7:02 AM by Alwynne Hanna McGeever   [ updated Mar 9, 2018, 2:04 AM by Paul Price ]

The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) provide independent science advise for EU policymakers, based on the expertise of leading scientists in national academies from EU member states, Norway and Switzerland. On February 1st, EASAC released a report entitled ‘Negative emission technologies, What role in meeting Paris Agreement targets?’. The report was written by a group of senior scientists in the area, one of which was ie-nets team member, Prof. Mike Jones. 

The report found that Negative Emission Technologies (NETs) had ‘limited realistic potential’ and are unlikely to be delivered at the scale envisioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s scenarios. This has significant implications for the feasibility for Europe achieving nett emission reductions aligned with the commitments to the Paris agreement and places further urgency on the need for immediate, significant emissions reductions. The findings of the EASAC report (available to download here) support the conclusions of a recent deliverable by the ie-nets research team of a literature review on the potential for NETs in Ireland (available here). We draw similar conclusions that Ireland cannot depend upon future availability of NETs to meet Paris aligned emission targets, and must continue to prioritize reducing national annual emissions.

As part of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA)’s aim to bring academia, industry and government together to address mutual interests, and as a member academy of EASAC, the RIA provided a briefing breakfast event for the EASAC report on Monday, February 26th.The event was well attended by a diverse group of stakeholders from academy, industry, NGOs and government. The event took the format of a brief presentation, followed by an open discussion. ie-nets Co-Principal Investigator, Prof. Mike Jones, delivered the presentation component, summarizing the main findings of the EASAC report and communicating its implications for Ireland. In his presentation Prof. Jones highlighted some of the key uncertainties around different NETs options. Taking the example of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), he discussed issues such as the land area competition and greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing bioenergy crops (fertilizers, transport, etc.) and demonstrated how challenges such as these might prevent a NETs options to achieving truly nett negative emissions. He also applied the report to an Irish context, presenting options to assess the potential capacity of different NETs options in Ireland. After the presentation, attendees discussed the report in an Irish context, raising points about the feasibility, capacity and limits of different NET options for Ireland. There was particular emphasis in the discussion the on the feasibility and capacity of carbon capture and storage off the Irish coast.

As part of this event, ie-nets team members contributed to a briefing paper for the RIA and a blog post, available on the RIA website here.