Carbon Net-Zero by 2050: Benefits, Challenges and Way Forward


  • Hemanthi Ranasinghe Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura



In accordance with the Paris Agreement, to which Sri Lanka is a Party to, global temperature rise must be kept well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels and efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5oC above pre-industrial level must be pursued. In response to this, countries who signed the UNFCCC, including Sri Lanka, submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2016 which will come into force during 2021-2030. However, according to Emissions Gap Report 2021 (UNEP  2021), climate pledges combined with other mitigation measures put the world on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7°C by the end of the century which is above the goals of the Paris climate agreement which intended to keep the global temperature rise well below 2°C.  Therefore, in order to address this alarming situation, many countries including Sri Lanka have given pledges to become carbon neutral by 2050. This means that the emissions from economic sectors will be reduced as per the NDC scenario and even beyond while increasing the carbon sequestration.

In this equation, plants play a unique role as they are the only organisms which can absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis function. According to the Third National Communication of Sri Lanka, forests/trees will contribute to 11.5% of the Green House Gas (GHG) emission reduction which is projected by all sectors in the country by 2030. It is required to increase this contribution to a much higher level in order to achieve carbon neutral status. In this context while drastically reducing the deforestation almost to zero, it is required to increase the tree cover in the country including natural forests and trees outside forests which includes home gardens, urban forests and avenue plants, coconut plantations, shade trees in tea lands etc.




How to Cite

Ranasinghe, H. (2022). Carbon Net-Zero by 2050: Benefits, Challenges and Way Forward. Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment, 12(01).



Feature Article