Urban Carbon Sinks 5
- General information
ClientEIT Climate KIC
The mitigation of climate change and related adverse impacts on humans and ecosystems requires the use of different strategies to counteract and reduce the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Negative emissions strategies are gaining prominence as it is increasingly obvious that the curtailing of emissions is slow and insufficient in respect to needed outcomes. Negative emissions, drawing carbon down from the atmosphere and ensuring a long-lived storage of carbon has thus attracted interests of many climate actors. In particular, topsoil recovery and carbon sequestration have been assessed to provide large, reliable and low risk options for creating carbon sinks (EASAC, 2018).
Carbon sequestration is an emerging business area in climate change mitigation and a new paradigm for businesses that manage the carbon flows. Whilst industries such as agriculture and forestry are in key role, new practices related to decentralized waste management, topsoil management, green built environment and food production in urban environments hint at the relevance of cities. This is all the more important as progressive cities are by-passing national regulation and positioning themselves as leaders in climate change mitigation (Bulkley, 2013). Moreover, urban mitigation strategies have significant overlaps with key aspects of adaptation strategies such management of surface waters, flooding and urban heat islands.
In overall, creative reexamination of urban practices and spaces for carbon drawdown holds promise for climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, as well as, for the wellbeing of citizens in urban areas. New business and new spatial practices conductive for carbon drawdown nevertheless require better understanding of the carbon flows, measuring and monitoring technology, certification schemes and development of business models. Organization such as ‘Carbon Underground’ and ‘4p1000’ exemplify the need to pull actors together under carbon sequestration and increase general awareness of the potential of negative emissions strategies.
This project was part of the EIT Climate KIC ideation grant on Urban Climate Sinks. The project has aimed to collect understanding on the relevance and means of carbon drawdown in urban areas with a particular eye on citizen involvement and impacts on everyday life. Within Climate KIC, the aimed project contributes to climate-smart agriculture. It also sought to reform food systems by pointing out on the additional benefits of urban gardening, green infrastructures and the management of organic waste in conjunction to carbon sequestration.
The ideation project consisted of background work, expert interviews and two face-to face meeting in the Helsinki regions. It has identified established actors and interest in the field of green area management in the metropolitan Helsinki area and connected actors across organizational domains.