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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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In the Paris Climate Agreement, countries agreed to keep global warming since pre-industrial times below 2 °C and ideally below 1.5 °C, requiring major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We investigate the regional effectiveness of lowering methane emissions from human activities, (re)afforestation, and growing bioenergy crops. Methane reduction always helps, especially for major methane-emitting regions. However, the preferred land-management strategy and its effectiveness is more variable.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2020-24
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2020-24

  17 Jun 2020

17 Jun 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Regional variation in the effectiveness of methane-based and land-based climate mitigation options

Garry D. Hayman1, Edward Comyn-Platt1, Chris Huntingford1, Anna B. Harper2, Tom Powell2, Peter M. Cox2, William Collins3, Christopher Webber3, Jason Lowe4,5, Stephen Sitch2, Joanna I. House6, Jonathan C. Doelman7, Detlef P. van Vuuren7,8, Sarah E. Chadburn2, Eleanor Burke5, and Nicola Gedney9 Garry D. Hayman et al.
  • 1Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, U.K.
  • 2University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QF, U.K
  • 3University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6BB, U.K.
  • 4University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, U.K.
  • 5Met Office Hadley Centre, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, U.K
  • 6Cabot Institute for the Environment, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1SS, U.K
  • 7Department of Climate, Air and Energy, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), PO Box 30314, 2500 GH The Hague, Netherlands
  • 8Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS, the Netherlands
  • 9Met Office Hadley Centre, Joint Centre for Hydrometeorological Research, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, U.K

Abstract. Scenarios avoiding global warming greater than 1.5 or 2 °C, as stipulated in the Paris Agreement, may require the combined mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions alongside enhancing negative emissions through approaches such as afforestation/reforestation (AR) and biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). We use the JULES land-surface model coupled to an inverted form of the IMOGEN climate emulator to investigate mitigation scenarios that achieve the 1.5 or 2 °C warming targets of the Paris Agreement. Specifically, we characterise the global and regional effectiveness of land-based (BECCS and/or AR) and anthropogenic methane (CH4) emission mitigation, separately and in combination, on the anthropogenic fossil fuel carbon dioxide emission budgets (AFFEBs) to 2100, using consistent data and socio-economic assumptions from the IMAGE integrated assessment model. The analysis includes the effects of the methane and carbon-climate feedbacks from wetlands and permafrost thaw, which we have shown previously to be significant constraints on the AFFEBs.

Globally, mitigation of anthropogenic CH4 emissions has large impacts on the anthropogenic fossil fuel emission budgets, potentially offsetting (i.e. allowing extra) carbon dioxide emissions of 188–212 GtC. Methane mitigation is beneficial everywhere, particularly for the major CH4-emitting regions of India, USA and China. Land-based mitigation has the potential to offset 51–100 GtC globally, but both the effectiveness and the preferred land-management strategy (i.e., AR or BECCS) have strong regional dependencies. Additional analysis shows extensive BECCS could adversely affect water security for several regions. Our results highlight the extra potential CO2 emissions that can occur, while still keeping global warming below key warming thresholds, by investment in regionally appropriate mitigation strategies.

Garry D. Hayman et al.

 
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Garry D. Hayman et al.

Data sets

CMIP5 GCM-based monthly patterns of local meteorological change, per degree of mean land warming, for driving the IMOGEN impacts model E. Comyn-Platt, G. Hayman, C.; Huntingford, S. Chadburn, E. Burke, A. Harper, W. Collins, C. Webber, T. Powell, P. Cox, N. Gedney, and S. Sitch https://doi.org/10.5285/343885af-0f5e-4062-88e1-a9e612f77779

Garry D. Hayman et al.

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Short summary
In the Paris Climate Agreement, countries agreed to keep global warming since pre-industrial times below 2 °C and ideally below 1.5 °C, requiring major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We investigate the regional effectiveness of lowering methane emissions from human activities, (re)afforestation, and growing bioenergy crops. Methane reduction always helps, especially for major methane-emitting regions. However, the preferred land-management strategy and its effectiveness is more variable.
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