- Nidal Abu Murad
- BBC – World Service
If the world is to avoid the ill effects of climate change, net greenhouse gas emissions must be close to zero by 2050, which means removing as much carbon from the atmosphere as we pay into the atmosphere. This is the opinion of leading United Nations scientists who have warned that we are heading for a two degree rise in global temperature, which could make life difficult for many parts of the planet.
Scientists say natural solutions, such as planting trees and technologies such as carbon capture and storage, will be key to avoiding the catastrophic effects of climate change. But for some environmentalists this is not the right way to go.
What is carbon capture and storage?
Natural solutions to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through simple and inexpensive ways to reduce carbon dioxide include planting carbon sequestration methods in the soil from planting trees.
Since the 1970s, new, faster technologies known as carbon storage technologies have emerged.
“There are many options, and it’s very common to capture carbon dioxide from fossil fuel – powered industrial sources. Energy Company.
The process involves injecting emissions into an absorption compound containing a solvent. Carbon dioxide collects and other gases are released.
Scientists use heat to separate solvents from carbon dioxide. The solvent is then recycled and the pure carbon dioxide is stored deep underground in rock caves.
“Another way to capture carbon dioxide is to remove it directly from the air,” he adds.
However, it is stored in deep geological systems to stay away from the carbon cycle that contributes to the warming of the planet. “
License to extract more oil
But some environmentalists are skeptical. They worry that the quicker solution is to focus on fossil fuel emissions instead of reducing carbon emissions.
In 2021, the Global Climate Organization, Global Witness, conducted research to assess whether technology would help achieve the 1.5 degree Celsius goal of preventing global warming.
Their conclusion is that “global emissions reductions cannot be trusted to be on schedule, but it can also be used to extract more oil,” said Dominic Eagleton, senior campaigner for Global Witness.
In his opinion, “the best way to stop emissions is to stop burning fossil fuels.”
Piera Patrizio, a climate researcher at Imperial College London, says: “Some environmentalists believe that the money spent on increasing carbon sequestration should be used to accelerate the use of clean energy.
“But given the deadline we have, decarbonization is inevitable, and it’s unrealistic to think we do not need carbon storage technologies.”
The “inevitable solution” to achieving net zero
Scientists argue that CCS remains a key component of the transition to a world without fossil fuels, until we have access to large-scale renewable energy sources. They backed up their argument, citing the most recent IPCC document released earlier this month.
“For the first time in April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended the use of technology to eliminate carbon dioxide,” said Patricio.
Some solutions to reduce emissions in heavy industries such as steel, cement and chemicals suggest that emissions can only be reduced by advanced technologies such as carbon dioxide capture and storage.
“These processes often require high temperatures,” says Samantha McCallough of the International Energy Agency. “And a quarter of industrial emissions are caused by chemical reactions that cannot be avoided by switching to alternative fuels.”
Planting new forests or reclaiming old forests can be very beneficial to the environment. But according to Patricio, “some are not effective for a long time”.
“The tree’s ability to separate carbon is temporary because when it matures, it stops removing carbon until it protects the entire forest,” he explains.
“Technology removal methods avoid this problem,” he says. “With CCS, carbon dioxide is stored permanently in geo storage sites.”
CCS lawyers also point out that in some countries, investments in all forms of clean energy are not available. For those with high emissions of fossil fuels, carbon capture and storage may be necessary.
“We have locations where there are significant emissions from many sectors, such as refining, steel, cement, or energy.
Still modern and expensive
“The technology is still new, and our job is to create ventilators that remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it permanently on the ground,” said Christoph Butler, founder of ClimWorks, the first commercial plant to directly absorb carbon dioxide. Wind.
Unlike utilities directly linked to fossil fuel sources, ClimWorks filters the air around its plant.
“We’ve in Iceland but what we do affects CO2 levels everywhere.”
“CO2 capture and storage captures emissions before they enter the atmosphere. What we do captures what is already in the sky,” Bettler added.
Direct air capture is not controversial as it has no direct contact with pollutants.
According to ClimWorks, the facility is powered by renewable energy sources, making it a sustainable carbon capture solution.
But as with any emerging technology, it is not clear how effective it will be until it is widely disseminated.
For now, it is subject to speculation and there are questions about its feasibility and expansion potential.
“The main challenge of carbon capture technology is its cost,” says Samantha McCulloch. “Significant investment is needed not only in capture facilities, but also in planning and investing in CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. We have seen progress, but we are still in the early days.”
Proponents of CCS say the old carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere by 2030 or 2040, even if it upgrades our energy systems and reduces new emissions.
Experts point out that this is the historic carbon that needs to be pulled.
The discussion is also about priorities. Should we focus on renewables in the short term or should we invest more in capturing carbon first? Some believe the two should go hand in hand.
“Didn’t CCS green our planet anyway? The portrayal of those who support its use as rejecting biodiversity is not true, we really care,” said Patricio of Imperial College London.
McCulloch explains that the International Energy Agency’s latest analysis of carbon sequencing prioritizes an approach that considers “full-scale options to be used all at once.”
“Getting us on the path to net zero carbon by 2050 requires a promising change in how we use, transport and produce energy, which is why the world needs full-scale solutions that include renewables, energy efficiency, increased deployment of hydrogen technologies, and carbon sequestration. In this regard, it plays an important role.
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