Infographics: Calculating Carbon Budgets

Image Credit : 
Photo by Chris Pagan on Unsplash
July 12, 2021


Research at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research uses the concept of carbon budgets to estimate the amount of CO2 that the international shipping sector can emit to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This budget can then be subsequently used to calculate Paris-compatible emission trajectories for the sector. This visualisation shows the method used by Tyndall Centre researchers to calculate these carbon budgets.


The concept of bioenergy providing low-carbon energy revolves around the transfers of biogenic carbon between the atmosphere and terrestrial systems: the carbon cycle. Carbon is released to the atmosphere through use of fossil fuels and through degradation of organic materials. Carbon is also captured from the atmosphere and stored within organic materials driven by photosynthesis. At the end of the lifespan of organic materials, the carbon will be both released back to the atmosphere and stored within carbon sinks such as soils. However organic biomass materials are widely used before their end of life, for example to produce furniture. Although at the end of the lifespan of these products, carbon will likely be released back to the atmosphere. Organic materials and products at the end of their life may alternatively be used as fuels for bioenergy processes. Bioenergy produces energy and results in the release of biogenic carbon back to the atmosphere - thus completing the carbon cycle. Bioenergy will be low carbon providing there is a close balance between emissions released to the atmosphere and the carbon stored as biomass materials (plants) grow. Alternatively this carbon may be captured and stored within carbon sinks using BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) technologies. BECCS thus proving a potential opportunity to produce energy and generate a net flow of carbon from the atmosphere to carbon sinks – thus providing a mechanism to reduce atmospheric carbon. 



Research at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research investigates the potential for deep and rapid carbon reductions in the shipping sector. This visualisation describes the four main facets of research carried out by the Tyndall Centre’s shipping group, which includes estimating shipping sector carbon budgets, understanding committed emissions, understanding the context, barriers and opportunities and quantifying solutions.


Wind Propulsion

Research at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research highlights wind propulsion as one potentially underrated short-term solution for tackling carbon emissions in the shipping sector. Wind propulsion refers to installing new-age sails on ships, such as Flettner rotors, to provide energy from the wind. The research shows significant benefits from combining wind propulsion with voyage optimisation, which acts as a satellite navigation system and allows the wind-assisted ship to alter its route to search for beneficial wind. This infographic highlights the carbon savings from both wind propulsion and voyage optimisation calculated on a global distribution of routes from research at the Tyndall Centre.


You can donwload the infographics below: