Simulating the Earth system response to negative emissions

C. D. Jones, P. Ciais, S. J. Davis, P. Friedlingstein, T. Gasser, G. P. Peters, J. Rogelj, D. P. van Vuuren, J. G. Canadell, A. Cowie, R. B. Jackson, M. Jonas, E. Kriegler, E. Littleton, J. A. Lowe, J. Milne, G. Shrestha, P. Smith, A. Torvanger, A. Wiltshire

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Natural carbon sinks currently absorb approximately half of the anthropogenic CO2 emitted by fossil fuel burning, cement production and land-use change. However, this airborne fraction may change in the future depending on the emissions scenario. An important issue in developing carbon budgets to achieve climate stabilization targets is the behaviour of natural carbon sinks, particularly under low emissions mitigation scenarios as required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. A key requirement for low carbon pathways is to quantify the effectiveness of negative emissions technologies which will be strongly affected by carbon cycle feedbacks. Here we find that Earth System Models suggest significant weakening, even potential reversal, of the ocean and land sinks under future low emission scenarios that will hinder the effectiveness of negative emissions technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number095012
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2016


  • climate
  • carbon cycle
  • earth system
  • negative emissions
  • carbon dioxide removal
  • mitigation scenarios


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