Climate change is one of the most pressing concerns of the 21st century. But when it comes to tackling climate change, a new study from Cogent Economics & Finance exploring the benefits of carbon flux monitoring is a timely reminder that setting targets is just the beginning.
Now that the Paris Agreement has decreased the level of carbon emissions deemed acceptable, the need for a decarbonised energy sector is greater than ever. Although technology exists to monitor actual carbon fluxes globally, the systems currently used to do it are expensive at a time when public financial resources are stretched. In pursuit of this, clean technologies must be supported while fossil fuels are penalised, yet uncertainty in the price of carbon makes it difficult to set caps and impose financial penalties. It also makes it challenging to create a stable, socially desirable investment environment that fosters carbon-neutral technologies.
To that end, this article investigates the many ways in which better observation of actual carbon fluxes can aid environmental policy, economic investment and informed decision-making. The study found that better monitoring systems could bring significant cost savings and other benefits, thereby encouraging investors and paving the way for achieving ambitious climate change targets.
The study is the result of a collaboration of researchers from several institutes, namely the International Institute for Systems Analysis, the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, The Inversion Lab, Lund University, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Comenius University, Lviv Polytechnic National University, the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC Foundation) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry. The authors come from a variety of academic backgrounds, exploring topics in economics, mathematics, remote sensing, forestry, physics, biogeochemistry, integrated assessment of climate change and climate change mitigation.
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