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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

New Supervisory Body for Paris Agreement Article 6.4 mechanism considers Removals

The first meeting of the newly-appointed Supervisory Body for Article 6.4 was just held, over 4 days from the 25th to the 28th July. This is a very important part of the Paris Agreement, as it will create a new mechanism for international cooperation based on projects and carbon credits.


To quote the UNFCCC, "The Article 6.4 Mechanism is designed to incentivize the private sector to implement mitigation activities across the world in a range of sectors and technologies. These will allow for the development of carbon credits that can be transferred internationally and used in other countries to meet aims of NDCs, other international mitigation initiatives such as by the International Civil Aviation Organization, or in voluntary markets for social and cooperate responsibilities. Article 6.4 allows broader accessibility of developing countries to [carbon] markets".


Being its first meeting, much focus was on governance and key principles in developing methodologies in the future. However, they also had a specific agenda item on Removals, i.e. techniques to take CO2 from the atmosphere. They have a mandate from COP26 to provide to COP27 recommendations on removals, including on monitoring, reporting, accounting, reversals and avoidance of negative environmental and social impacts. I followed this Removals agenda item to assess their needs for technical information on engineered removals such as DACCS, BECCS and enhanced mineralisation (as IEAGHG are covering these in our technical work programme).


The Supervisory Body were provided an information paper and presentation by the UNFCCC Secretariat. I noted that there were some unnecessary uncertainties and gaps in knowledge in this paper and presentation, particularly around permanence and reversals, and the previous work by the CDM on CCS. However, what surprised and concerned me most were immediate and multiple calls for engineered removals to be not considered by the Supervisory Body in favour of nature-based removals instead. I was pleased that this was not agreed at this time by the whole Supervisory Body. After much discussion, the Supervisory Body agreed to set up a small working group from its members to provide draft high-level recommendations to its next meeting, with the UNFCCC secretariat to provide an information note with technical information on these aspects for each removal technique. For the potential range of removal techniques this is obviously a large amount of information and it is not clear to me how this will be drawn together.


As engineered removals such as DACCS, BECCS and enhanced mineralisation are in the scope of IEAGHG's technical programme, with recent reports which should be helpful to inform bodies such as the UNFCCC, as well as our experiences in developing CCS accounting mechanisms, we will aim to provide our impartial technical knowledge to this 6.4 Supervisory Body process going forwards.


More information can be found on the 6.4 Supervisory Body website 1st meeting of Article 6.4 Supervisory Body | UNFCCC and New Supervisory Body Ready to Help Unleash Potential of Carbon Markets | UNFCCC .

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