NET-RAPIDO: Negative emission technologies: readiness assessment, policy instrument design, options for governance and dialogue
The project will consider the potential contributions of negative emission technologies (NETs) to limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C or 1.5°C.
It will address the tension between ambitious temperature targets and possible reliance on untested, yet potentially necessary, technologies in international climate policy. The project will do so by providing detailed quantitative and qualitative insights on readiness and options for developing coherent international governance arrangements, ensuring environmental integrity as well as sustainable development. It will break new ground in addressing questions of economic feasibility and necessary levels of support, and will develop possible practical approaches to incentivize private sector investments.
This research will be accompanied by a continuous stakeholder and public engagement process. This will recognize the novelty of these technologies, including the worrying nature of some of the options, while carefully identifying what are the most crucial areas of concern in this field. The process will involve researchers, NGOs, policymakers, and industry, leading to a creative learning process about the real-world implications of large-scale NETs deployment.
The objective of the Paris Agreement (PA) is to stabilize the climate system at a global warming of well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels; ideally limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Stabilization requires reaching a balance of sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) and sinks, as noted in PA Article 4. Current global GHG emissions projections and mitigation scenarios suggest that without a serious deployment of so-called “negative emissions technologies” (NETs), such as Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and Direct Air Capture and Storage (DACS), the drastic emissions reductions required to reach these temperature goals are unlikely to be achieved
However, NETs are highly controversial: The abatement costs of the majority of available technologies are high and they typically exhibit a low level, or complete absence, of co-benefits. Possibly the most contentious aspect is the largely unexplored prospect of risks and side effects following deployment, particularly if certain NETs are to be deployed at the scales anticipated under the 1.5 to 2°C mitigation scenarios. It is also unclear if, and how exactly, NETs are compatible with the policy structure of the PA, including the feasibility of their governance and mobilization at the international scale. Nevertheless, some countries are already taking first steps in to prepare for a possible deployment of NETs.
The overarching aim of this project is to seek to address the tension between ambitious temperature targets and impending reliance on untested yet apparently necessary technologies in international climate policy. It will document scientifically sound and balanced research-anchored recommendations, and use this body of work to facilitate a well-informed dialogue between relevant stakeholders, so that they can objectively and pragmatically consider NETs in the context of international climate policy.
Project objectives and goals
The project’s overarching objective is to create a clear understanding of opportunities, challenges and risks of negative emission reduction efforts based on an informed analysis and proper discussion amongst relevant stakeholders. More specifically the project aims to:
- Assess major prospective negative emission technologies (NETs) through a multi-disciplinary approach involving economics, engineering and political science with regards to their technical maturity, GHG reduction costs and potential barriers for implementation. This assessment will be done over two time scales (towards 2030 and 2050), and case studies will be undertaken, focusing on key NETs technologies.
- Define elements of a potential governance framework required in order to manage and mobilize the deployment of NETs, ensuring environmental integrity and avoiding any negative side-effects. The project will build on the Paris Agreement (PA), the central treaty of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the years to come, as its guiding international climate policy initiative and will make suggestions for a NETs governance framework.
- Evaluate how to engage and stimulate action for NETs from the private sector both on the international and national level. A focus will be on modalities and procedures for designing market mechanisms (Art. 6) and design of climate finance approaches to mobilize private sector investment into NETs, differentiating into NET providers and NET users.
- Create a common language and increase key stakeholders’ understanding of the implications of large-scale deployment of NETs. This process will actively facilitate mutual learning processes, especially in regard to the impact on energy systems and other dimensions of sustainable development. The project will also facilitate understanding of governance needs at the international level under the PA and discussion of possible guidelines for the (non -) application of NETs, that draws on the best available scientific knowledge and stakeholder views.