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Earth Day: Solutions to climate crisis can be found in Leeds – Tom White

Earth Day: Solutions to climate crisis can be found in Leeds – Tom White

Today’s Earth Day, a global movement for environmental protection, comes just over two weeks after the publication of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which outlined in no uncertain terms the stark reality of the climate crisis we are all facing.

The report – by the United Nations’ body for assessing the science related to climate change –stressed the urgency of the fight against climate change.

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IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea, stated: “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F).” Adding that: “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

Susie Gray, from the Edinburgh Science Festival team, stands in the Firth of Forth at Portobello in Edinburgh, holding a giant black and red Earth to highlight the climate emergency and rising sea levels ahead of Earth Day on Friday April 22, 2022. Picture date: Thursday April 21, 2022. PA Photo. Photo credit: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The amount of CO 2 being generated and released into the atmosphere is currently at an inhuman, unimaginable scale.

A complex problem created by over a century of unsustainable practices, we need a raft of measures to limit and reverse the impacts of climate change.

But there is a ray of hope.

The rate of growth in average annual global greenhouse emissions has slowed from those during 2010-2019 when they were at their highest levels in human history according to the IPCC.

Their report pointed to improvements in energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated deployment of renewables as some of the steps taken in the right direction.

Yet much more remains to be done.

The actions we take – or don’t take – at this point will determine the future of our planet.

When we think about CO 2 levels, we often think about energy production – the need for renewable energy sources is undeniable.

But there are certain, essential, products – such as glass, cement and steel – that cannot currently be manufactured without generating carbon dioxide.

These sectors are also the most significant contributors to CO 2 globally.

The industrial sector must be decarbonised if we are to achieve net zero, and carbon capture technology can – and needs – to play a role in creating a decarbonised world.

Carbon capture itself is often the focus of debate with questions of economies of scale often being a major critique.

The answer lies in new, next-generation carbon capture technologies.

C-Capture owns a world-leading chemical processes technology for carbon dioxide removal and was founded in 2009 as a spin-out from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leeds.

Our unique, innovative solution uses 40 per cent less energy than currently available technologies, so has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of carbon capture to a tipping point that makes if affordable globally.

It is also environmentally benign and robust enough to withstand the aggressive flue gases created by industries that are difficult to decarbonise – which are two other major advantages that break barriers to the adoption of carbon capture technology.

Based on fundamentally different chemistry to current commercially available technologies, our technology does not rely on the use of amines and so offers a safer and less expensive alternative.

C-Capture’s carbon capture technology is suitable for a wide range of applications – even challenging, hard to abate industries – including glass, cement, waste to energy, power stations, steel, aluminium and coal, offering these industries a credible route to decarbonisation

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The solutions are out there, but investment is needed to demonstrate the capabilities of next-gen clean technologies to enable them to scale up and be deployed. Supporting the race to net zero and stabilising global temperature.

The overall message for Earth Day 2022 is ‘Invest in Our Planet’. Encouraging everyone – governments, businesses, society – to accelerate solutions to climate change and build a sustainable future for us all.

This message should be ringing loud and clear in everyone’s ears.

The time for climate change debate is over. The time for action is now.

Tom White is CEO of Leeds-based C-Capture, developers of chemical processes for the removal of carbon dioxide.

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