Trillion-tonne budget means carbon capture is not optional

● By Pro. Myles Allen, University of Oxford ● Agreeing on their fifth assessment report two weeks ago, the 195 member governments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change accepted that to meet their goal of limiting global warming to 2°C, the planetary carbon budget – total carbon emissions released from the dawn of the industrial age – must be limited to one trillion tonnes. But today’s latest report from the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute suggests the governments did not comprehend what this really entails. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are struggling, with five cancelled and seven put on hold in the past year alone. As the IPCC gathered in Stockholm, neighbouring Norway announced the cancellation of their flagship Mongstad CCS project, which would have stripped CO2 from a petrochemical and power plant and injected it into geological formations below the North Sea. We have already burned through more than half of those trillion tonnes of carbon, with at least double the remainder lying in economically viable reserves of fossil fuels, and an energy industry that keeps finding more. Don’t blame the industry. The value of our pensions is based on the assumption that these reserves will be sold and burnt. So limiting carbon emissions to a trillion tonnes means either we accept global warming beyond 2°C, or we develop CCS to use fossil fuels without releasing CO2, or the value of our pensions takes a hit. CCS is often seen as “one of a suite of options” in combating climate change. But once we accept that the world’s fossil energy stores will be used someday (and what right have we to tell the citizens of India in 2080 no to burn their coal?) then the only question that really matters is what fraction of remaining reserves will be captured and stored. If we are to meet the 2°C goal, that fraction needs to be at 50% by mid-century and heading for 100% by 2100 ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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