Removing carbon from the atmosphere is the only way to save the climate: UN report
Sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is the world’s only chance of averting climate change catastrophe, according to a report to be released on Monday.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) document is expected to state that dangerous climate change will only be avoided if large amounts of carbon dioxide are removed from the air, the report said. Times of London.
“Carbon dioxide removal is necessary to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions globally and nationally,” a draft version of the summary report said, according to the Times. If “negative emissions” technologies realize their potential, he continues, they could even reverse global warming.
However, carbon capture technology is far from where it needs to be. Today, 19 operational factories capture just 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, compared to the 36 billion tonnes the world produces each year, according to the report.
The paper also says an urgent and widespread shift in fossil fuels is needed if there is a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Scientists believe that exceeding this threshold will cause significant and irreversible damage to the Earth’s climate.
But the report, commissioned and endorsed by 195 governments, acknowledges that the only “negative emissions” strategy currently in widespread use is planting trees.
Scientists are working on other techniques, including air capture or giant fans extracting carbon dioxide from the air and storing it underground or converting it into jet fuel.
Other possible tactics, The Times reported, include ocean fertilization, a theoretical approach in which nutrients are added to the sea to stimulate phytoplankton that absorb CO2 from the air, and “enhanced weathering.” in which crushed volcanic rock is spread over agricultural land to increase the soil’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
Critics, however, say focusing on negative emissions technology provides a license to “burn now, worry later”.
But proponents of the idea, such as Professor Shaun Fitzgerald, director of the University of Cambridge’s Center for Climate Repair, have argued that simply cutting emissions is not enough to stay within the 1.5 degree Celsius limit. .
He insists on eliminating greenhouse gases as well. “There’s no point in emptying the bath if you keep filling it.”