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Review Article

Global potential of biospheric carbon management for climate mitigation

  • Nature Communications 5, Article number: 5282 (2014)
  • doi:10.1038/ncomms6282
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Abstract

Elevated concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), have affected the global climate. Land-based biological carbon mitigation strategies are considered an important and viable pathway towards climate stabilization. However, to satisfy the growing demands for food, wood products, energy, climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation—all of which compete for increasingly limited quantities of biomass and land—the deployment of mitigation strategies must be driven by sustainable and integrated land management. If executed accordingly, through avoided emissions and carbon sequestration, biological carbon and bioenergy mitigation could save up to 38 billion tonnes of carbon and 3–8% of estimated energy consumption, respectively, by 2050.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Philippe Ciais, John Finnigan, Roger Gifford, Pete Smith, Birgit Schulze, Dieter Spiteller, Mike Raupach and Will Steffen for valuable discussions on the topic of this paper and/or comments on drafts leading to this paper. We thank Annett Boerner, http://www.dn.com.au/annett-boerner.html, for helping with the artwork, and Wedodata for producing the negative emissions figure. This synthesis effort is a contribution to the Global Carbon Project (www.globalcarbonproject.org). J.G.C. thanks the support from the Australian Climate Change Science Program.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Oceans and Atmospheric Flagship, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

    • Josep G. Canadell
  2. Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany

    • E. Detlef Schulze

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Josep G. Canadell.

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