Why do we need carbon removals?
According to current science, such as the IEA (International Energy Agency) and the latest report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), carbon removals are critical to addressing climate change. Reductions in emissions are essential, but not sufficient to stay below the 1.5 degree. Therefore, it becomes clear that both emission reductions and removals are needed to meet the Paris Agreement. Additionally, carbon removals can be seen as a chance to store historical emissions from the atmosphere. We will need billions of tons of carbon removals between now and 2050 to limit global warming.
The GHG Protocol Removals Guidance
Because companies play a critical role in achieving these goals, in September 2022, the draft for pilot testing and review of the “Land Sector and Removals Guidance” was published. This Guidance builds upon existing GHG Protocol standards. It explains, among other topics, how companies should account for and report carbon removals.
Requirements for accounting and reporting carbon removals
„CO2 removals are classified according to both the sink (which transfers CO2 from the atmosphere to non-atmospheric pools) and the carbon pool where the removal is stored (which keeps CO2 or carbon out of the atmosphere).“ (Removals Guidance Part 1, p. 86)
According to the Guidance, companies shall meet the following five requirements:
- Traceability (to ensure companies have visibility to the specific pools where carbon is stored)
- Ongoing storage monitoring (to detect any future net carbon stock losses, if they occur, from the carbon pools storing the removed CO2)
- Reversals accounting (to ensure that that the climate impact of carbon losses from previously removed CO2 is accounted for, reported as an emission or reversal in future inventories and used to track progress towards targets)
- Primary data (to ensure accuracy and representativeness of quantified carbon stock changes based on primary data specific to the relevant carbon pools so as not to overestimate removals)
- Uncertainty (to meet minimum uncertainty levels and to use conservative assumptions where uncertainty is high)
For companies, reporting removals is optional, but if they do so, companies shall account for and report removals based on their sink process (i.e., biogenic or technological sinks) and storage pool (i.e., land-based storage, product storage, or geologic storage). Additionally, companies shall account for scope 1 removals and scope 3 removals (if applicable) based on annual net carbon stock changes occurring in the reporting year using accounting methods defined by the Guidance.
After the pilot testing and review phase, the Guidance will be finalized in 2023.
How DFGE can support
If you and your company want to make an impact and catch up on climate action and disclosure, then you could get in contact with one our experts at DFGE via mail () or phone (+49 819 29973320). Together with us you will take the next step with a carbon footprint calculation, the conceptualization of an impactful climate strategy or guidance on CSR reportings and ratings like CDP and EcoVadis.