How Low Can We Go? The Implications of Delayed Ratcheting and Negative Emissions Technologies on Achieving Well Below 2 °C

  • Matthew Winning
  • Steve Pye
  • James Glynn
  • Daniel Scamman
  • Daniel Welsby
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 64)


Pledges embodied in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) represent an interim step from a global “no policy” path towards an optimal long-term global mitigation path. However, the goals of the Paris Agreement highlight that current pledges are insufficient. It is, therefore, necessary to ratchet-up parties’ future mitigation pledges in the near-term. The ambitious goals of remaining well below 2 °C and pursuing reductions towards 1.5 °C mean that any delay in ratcheting-up commitments could be extremely costly or may even make the targets unachievable. In this chapter, we consider the impacts of delaying ratcheting until 2030 on global emissions trajectories towards 2 °C and 1.5 °C, and the role of offsets via negative emissions technologies (NETs). The analysis suggests that delaying action makes pursuing the 1.5 °C goal especially difficult without extremely high levels of negative emissions technologies (NETs), such as carbon capture and storage combined with bioenergy (BECCS). Depending on the availability of biomass, other NETs beyond BECCS will be required. Policymakers must also realise that the outlook for fossil fuels are closely linked to the prospects for NETs. If NETs cannot be scaled, the levels of fossil fuels suggested in this analysis are not compatible with the Paris Agreement goals i.e. there are risks of lock-in to a high fossil future. Decision makers must, therefore, comprehend fully the risks of different strategies.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Winning
    • 1
  • Steve Pye
    • 2
  • James Glynn
    • 3
  • Daniel Scamman
    • 2
  • Daniel Welsby
    • 1
  1. 1.UCL Institute for Sustainable ResourcesLondonUK
  2. 2.UCL Energy InstituteLondonUK
  3. 3.MaREI Centre, Environmental Research InstituteUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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