IIASA and the University of Wisconsin Madison's Energy, Analysis, and Policy (EAP) Program have a history of collaborating on impactful research and formalized their partnership in 2022 thanks in part to a generous donation from Wes and Ankie Foell. Wes Foell, EAP co-founder, completed modeling work for IIASA in the 1970’s, and hopes to see the collaboration continue to grow.

A new paper published in the journal Joule on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) clearly shows the impact of the partnership between the EAP and IIASA – the first three authors are EAP professor Greg Nemet, IIASA researcher Matt Gidden, and EAP student Jenna Greene, who also spent this past summer participating in the IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP). The paper contends that to prevent warming of more than 1.5°C or 2°C as outlined in the Paris Agreement, a massive increase of novel CDR is required. However, the study estimates that only 0.1% of current CDR occurring is from novel CDR with almost all attributed to forestry.

“The scale-up rates needed for carbon removal to meet the 2°C and 1.5°C targets are within the range of historical experience, even if at the high end,” says Nemet. “We can learn from that experience to facilitate getting carbon removal to climate-relevant scale over the next three decades.”

According to Gidden, “Our study highlights the challenge ahead for developing and deploying novel CDR at scale. It’s vital that we remember this scale up must happen simultaneously to drastically reduce emissions from fossil fuels if we are to keep the Paris Agreement temperature target within reach.”

The study was also released leading up to COP 28, the annual conference convened by the United Nations on mitigating climate change, and the findings are included in the 2023 UN Emissions Gap Report (EGR), an important review informing the status of greenhouse gas emissions for leaders at COP. Gidden served as chapter lead on the EGR while Nemet was a contributing author.

Find out more about the study on the University of Wisconsin-Madison News page here.

Adapted from an article published on the EAP website. Read the original article here.


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