Impacts of Land-Based Greenhouse Gas Removal Options on Ecosystem Services and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Smith, P. et al. , 2019. Annual Review of Environment and Resources

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Abstract

Land-based greenhouse gas removal (GGR) options include afforestation or reforestation (AR), wetland restoration, soil carbon sequestration (SCS), biochar, terrestrial enhanced weathering (TEW), and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). We assess the opportunities and risks associated with these options through the lens of their potential impacts on ecosystems services (Nature’s Contributions to People; NCPs) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We find that all land-based GGR options contribute positively to at least some NCPs and SDGs. Wetland restoration and SCS almost exclusively deliver positive impacts. A few GGR options, such as afforestation, BECCS, and biochar potentially impact negatively some NCPs and SDGs, particularly when implemented at scale, largely through competition for land. For those that present risks or are least understood, more research is required, and demonstration projects need to proceed with caution. For options that present low risks and provide cobenefits, implementation can proceed more rapidly following no-regrets principles.

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