How Green Cities Could Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere

May 6, 2024 | 0 comments

More than a thousand cities around the world now have “net zero” pledges: they want to emit only as much CO2 into the atmosphere as they can simultaneously recapture. An elaborate meta-study has now summarised the state of knowledge on which methods might be useful and what they could achieve. Conclusion: technically speaking, urban removals of this most important greenhouse gas could add up to one gigatonne (i.e. 1,000 million tonnes) per year by mid-century. The study was conducted by the Berlin-based climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) and published in the journal Nature Cities.

“The potential for carbon removals in cities is significant, but ultimately, it is also limited,” summarises Quirina Rodriguez Mendez, PhD student at MCC and lead author of the study. “From a global perspective, one gigatonne is only around a fifth of the urban CO2 emissions expected for 2050 – urban net zero by the middle of the century is therefore only realistic in cities with particularly ambitious emission reductions. Our survey can support local climate neutrality by shedding light on the range of promising removal strategies available.”

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