Carbon dioxide should be removed from the air and stored underground as part of a range of much-needed actions to combat global warming, a landmark report by UN scientists advised.
The latest review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) are “probably necessary” to ensure that any “temperature excursion” beyond the maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels needed to limit climate change required, was “temporary”. The guardreported environmental correspondent Fiona Harvey.
However, the UN panel “also recognizes that they are not a substitute for ending our dependence on fossil fuels now,” she added.
Countries around the world “are planning far too many new coal plants, gas installations and other fossil fuel infrastructure to stay within the carbon budgets needed to meet the 1.5 degree target,” said The Guardian’s Harvey .
But the United Nations climate panel said the only long-term solution is to phase out coal, but CCS can help “neutralize emissions from new power plants”.
CCS is the process by which harmful carbon from “concentrated industrial emissions is captured at their source, preventing them from entering the atmosphere in the first place,” explains The IndependentEnvironmental correspondent Harry Cockburn. The gas is then “liquefied” and pumped underground for long-term storage at locations such as depleted oil or gas fields.
CSS has “been discussed for two decades,” said The Guardian’s Harvey, but “currently has little use.”
Another similar technology is also being developed. The process, known as greenhouse gas removal (GGR) or carbon dioxide removal (CDR), “involves the removal of carbon from the atmosphere by chemical means,” Harvey wrote.
According to The Independent’s Cockburn, “There is a consensus that investment and use of these technologies must scale up rapidly to achieve the impact needed to meet the goals of Paris climate agreement Insight”.
However, critics have suggested “that industries and processes that already emit greenhouse gases could, or are already using, the burgeoning technology as a sort of ‘prison-free card’,” he added. Skeptics reportedly fear that companies and political leaders “may focus their future carbon reduction targets on installing or investing in GGR or CCS technology.”
Fixed for the future?
the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported last November that strengthening climate targets and new investment incentives are “providing unprecedented momentum for CCS, with plans for more than 100 new plants to be announced in 2021”.
These new technologies “will play an important role in achieving net-zero goals, including as one of the few solutions to tackling emissions from heavy industry and removing carbon from the atmosphere,” the Paris-based intergovernmental organization said .
CSS was also supported by Robert Gross, Professor of Energy Policy at Imperial College London and Director of the UK Energy Research Centre. “Not only do we need net zero, we need to start removing CO2 from the air,” he told The Guardian.
“We cannot do one in place of the other, but we have reached the point where it is likely that humanity will need to do both to avoid dangerous climate change.”
As interest in CCS grows, some critics have claimed that “most carbon capture and reuse systems actually increase emissions”. New scientist reported.
Research has found that carbon capture technologies typically “emit more carbon than they remove,” said the magazine, which pointed out that such “projects, which have attracted billions of dollars in investment, will not do much to meet the Paris Agreement’s emissions targets.” reach”. .
Current efforts to roll out CCS are also “dwarfed by the magnitude of the challenge” of tackling emissions, he said Sky news‘ Business and data editor Ed Conway. The UK “is littered with pilot projects that have fallen by the wayside,” reported Conway, who questioned whether the technology could “deliver on its promise.”
The Independent’s Cockburn pointed out that even the world’s largest direct air capture machine at Iceland’s Orca plant “is capable of capturing just 4,000 tonnes of CO2 a year – a tiny fraction of global emissions, which total 31.5 billion tons in 2020”.
Still, “many governments plan to rely heavily on still-developing carbon capture technologies or planting trees on vast expanses of land to offset emissions.” Time reported.
However, the IPCC has repeatedly warned that “they should not be viewed as a substitute for reducing fossil fuel consumption,” the magazine added.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/environment/956334/what-is-carbon-capture What is carbon capture and storage?