New Research Study Exemplifies Collaboration Between EAP & IIASA

Jenna Greene, EAP Student in Nelson Institute, presenting at IIASA during Young Scientists Summer Program 2023

The EAP Program and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have a history of collaborating on impactful research and formalized their partnership in 2022 thanks in part to a generous donation from Wes and Ankie Foell. Wes Foell, EAP co-founder, completed modeling work for IIASA back in the 1970’s, and he hopes to see the collaboration continue growing.

A new paper published in Joule on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) clearly shows the impact of the partnership – the first three authors are EAP Professor Greg Nemet, IIASA Scientist Matt Gidden, and EAP Student Jenna Greene, who also spent this past summer studying at IIASA in Austria. The paper contends that to prevent warming of more than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius as outlined in the Paris Agreement, a massive increase of novel CDR is required. However, the study estimates that only 0.1% of current CDR occurring is from novel CDR with almost all attributed to forestry.

“The scale-up rates needed for carbon removal to meet the 2- and 1.5-degree Celsius targets are within the range of historical experience, even if at the high end,” says Nemet. “We can learn from that experience to facilitate getting carbon removal to climate-relevant scale over the next three decades.”

According to Gidden, “Our study highlights the challenge ahead for developing and deploying novel CDR at scale. It’s vital that we remember this scale up must happen simultaneously to drastically reduce emissions from fossil fuels if we are to keep the Paris Agreement temperature target within reach.”

The study was also released leading up to COP 28, the annual conference convened by the United Nations on mitigating climate change, and the findings are included in the 2023 UN Emissions Gap Report (EGR), an important review informing the status of greenhouse gas emissions for leaders at COP. Gidden served as chapter lead on the EGR while Nemet was a contributing author.

Read the story published on the University of Wisconsin-Madison News page here.