SELFS: Sustainable integrated pathways for carbon-negative energy, land and food systems

Start Date:


End Date


Funding Body:

Environmental Protection Agency

Principal Investigators:

Professor Hannah Daly


Inadequate climate mitigation efforts will lead to a global overshoot of the 1.5C temperature target. To preserve the Paris Agreement commitments, countries will need to go beyond “net-zero”, into a state where carbon is being drawn down from the atmosphere. “Carbon drawdown” will require profound changes in energy, land and food systems. The SELFS (Sustainable integrated pathways for carbon-negative energy, land and food systems) project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, will develop a new national-level integrated assessment model of energy-land-food systems to explore these possible divergent futures, focussing on Ireland, and draw insights for long-term climate policy.


The overall objective of SELFS is to develop new integrated energy-land-food systems modelling tools and capacity to support long-term climate planning and improve the evidence base for climate policy.

The specific objectives are as follows:

1) to quantify the potential fair level of CO2 emissions Ireland may be required to sequester in the period to 2100 under different global temperature goals, near-term mitigation efforts and non-CO2 emissions trajectories;

2) to review the potential mitigation and carbon sequestration levers specific to Ireland, including both technology and behaviour change, quantifying their total sequestration potential, energy requirement and land use requirement;

3) map the interactions, in particular the potential complementarities and conflicts, between deep decarbonisation and sequestration levers in each of the energy, land and food systems;

4) review global, regional and national modelling approaches to assessing integrated pathways for sustainable land-food-energy systems, including reviewing which interactions are captured in existing Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs)

5) develop a new modelling methodology, SELFS, to downscale global IAMs to a national scale and simulate long-time horizon integrated Sustainable Energy-Land-Food Systems scenarios under a range of demand and technology futures

6) model a range of divergent possible futures for Ireland using SELFS, integrating existing national modelling energy, agriculture and land use modelling frameworks, to inform long-term policy planning for climate mitigation

Acknowledgement and disclaimer

This project is funded under the EPA Research Programme 2021-2030. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

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