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Schwingshackl, Clemens; Obermeier, Wolfgang A.; Bultan, Selma; Grassi, Giacomo; Canadell, Josep G.; Friedlingstein, Pierre; Gasser, Thomas; Houghton, Richard A.; Kurz, Werner A.; Sitch, Stephen and Pongratz, Julia (2022): Differences in land-based mitigation estimates reconciled by separating natural and land-use CO2 fluxes at the country level. In: One Earth, Vol. 5, No. 12: pp. 1367-1376

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Anthropogenic and natural CO2 fluxes on land constitute substantial CO2 emissions and removals but are usually not well distinguished in national greenhouse gas reporting. Instead, countries frequently combine natural and indirect human-induced CO2 fluxes on managed land in their reports, which diminishes their usefulness for designing policies consistent with climate mitigation targets. Here, we separate natural and land-use-related CO2 fluxes from national reports in eight countries using global models to improve the assessment of attribution of terrestrial CO2 fluxes to direct anthropogenic activities. In most investigated countries, the gap between model-based and report-based CO2 flux estimates is reduced if natural and indirect human-induced CO2 fluxes on managed land are considered. Further examinations show that remaining differences are linked to country-specific discrepancies between model-based and report-based estimates. Separating natural and land-use-related CO2 fluxes at national scales supports a fair burden sharing of climate mitigation across countries and facilitates the assessment of land-based mitigation ambitions.

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