Suck CO2 out of the air is vital to prevent climate change…even if we all give up driving and flying, warns UN
- Scientists warn of irreversible damage if global warming rise exceeds 1.5C
- Everyone giving up driving and flying may no longer be enough to avoid the crisis
- Fossil fuel switching is needed to keep global warming below 1.5 cC, report says
Technology that sucks carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be key to preventing climate change, a UN report concludes today.
Even a massive switch to renewables and giving up driving and flying may no longer be enough to avert a crisis.
Global warming is already 1.1°C higher than pre-industrial levels and scientists warn of irreversible damage if it exceeds 1.5°C.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report says an urgent shift in fossil fuels is needed to have a chance of keeping warming below this level.
Global warming is already 1.1C higher than pre-industrial levels and scientists warn of irreversible damage if it exceeds 1.5C
Excerpts from a draft of the report’s executive summary stated, “Carbon dioxide removal is necessary to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions globally and nationally.”
If “negative emissions” technologies realize their potential, she says, they could even reverse global warming.
But the report, commissioned and endorsed by 195 governments, acknowledges that the only “negative emissions” strategy currently being deployed is planting trees.
Scientists are working on other techniques, such as direct air capture, where fans extract carbon dioxide and store it underground or convert it into jet fuel.
However, the 19 direct air capture plants in operation capture only 10,000 tons of CO2 per year, against 36 billion tons emitted annually.
Other techniques include ocean fertilization, a theoretical approach in which nutrients are added to the sea to stimulate phytoplankton – microscopic organisms – which absorb CO2, and enhanced weathering, in which crushed volcanic rock is spread on agricultural land to increase the soil’s ability to absorb CO2. .
However, activists believe that by emphasizing negative emissions technology, one gets a license to “burn now, worry later”.
Even a massive shift to renewables and everyone giving up driving and flying may no longer be enough to avert a crisis.