Carbon removals from nature restoration are no substitute for steep emission reductions| OneEarth | 2022 | Peer Reviewed | Perspective | https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2022.06.002
The role of nature restoration in mitigating the impacts of climate change is receiving increasing attention, yet the mitigation potential is often assessed in terms of carbon removal rather than the ability to meet temperature goals, such as those outlined in the Paris Agreement. Here, we estimate the global removal potential from nature restoration constrained by a “responsible development” framework and the contribution this would make to a 1.5°C temperature limit. Our constrained restoration options result in a median of 103 GtC (5%–95% range of −91 to 196 GtC) in cumulative removals between 2020 and 2100. When combined with deep-decarbonization scenarios, our restoration scenario briefly exceeds 1.5°C before declining to between 1.25°C and 1.5°C by 2100 (median, 50% probability). We conclude that additional carbon sequestration via nature restoration is unlikely to be done quickly enough to notably reduce the global peak temperatures expected in the next few decades. Land restoration is an important option for tackling climate change but cannot compensate for delays in reducing fossil fuel emissions.