CO2RE event on Greenhouse Gas Removal and Innovation

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The event explored NbS case studies such as facilitating the recovery of peatland ecosystems.

The UK Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub (CO2RE) recently held an event to showcase the latest Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) research & innovation, and to highlight its role in effective, sustainable & equitable climate action. Nature-based solutions featured prominently, with a number of speakers highlighting the major contribution they are expected to make in achieving the UK’s net-zero target, and discussion sessions raising concerns around implementation and scalability.

Alongside the potential of large-scale land-use reconfiguration and ecological restoration, GGR demonstration projects are studying some of the specific mechanisms by which nature-based solutions may help mitigate climate change. For example, peatland re-wetting is known to reduce CO2 emissions and ultimately recapture carbon in soils, but also lead to increased production of methane. However, the presence of Sphagnum mosses can significantly reduce peatland methane emissions, and so researchers are exploring how to facilitate the recovery of peatland ecosystems and increase Sphagnum cover.

Many challenges in the widespread deployment of nature-based GGR practices were also raised, however. There were particular concerns around monitoring, reporting and verification: are these measures sufficiently developed to ensure that NbS actually prove beneficial for climate change mitigation and ecosystem recovery, and are not reversed after any payments are received? The potential for ‘greenwashing’ was highlighted, and the difficulties in implementing NbS before baselines and assessment methods are established.

The event revealed clear enthusiasm for NbS in the UK’s climate change mitigation strategy, but also indicated that stakeholders are realistic about the challenges that still need to be overcome, and the necessity of a developing a wider portfolio of removal methods to achieve our emission targets.

Find out more about the UK Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub on the CO2RE website.