As the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Makes it clearIt is clear that the 2020s must be a Decade of transformationIf we want to have any chance of achieving these goals, Paris Agreement.
Carbon capture and storageCCS (carbon capture and storage) is widely expected to play a major role in this transformation, helping to reduce carbon emissions around the world. However, CCS may be overlooked. SolutionsThis focuses on reducing energy demand and making it more sustainable. Behavior changesThis puts sustainability first.
Global greenhouse gas emissions must fall quickly in the next years, in line with the goals of the Carbon Law, a relatively simple equation developed by scientists to achieve decarbonisation: halving emissions by 2030, then continuing to halve them every decade until 2050 to reach a level that can be stored by “natural carbon sinks” such as forests, pastures and peatlands.
Current strategies to cut emissions quickly have been proven successful Inadequat. Many governments are now looking to CCS technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide (CO₂) released by burning fossil fuels and other industrial processes. CCS also includes systems that capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels. capture CO₂Directly from the atmosphere or from burning organic matter (BECCS).
CCS could be a crucial technology to reduce emissions in certain sectors. CCS is a technology that can reduce emissions in certain sectors, such as cement production. 8% of global CO₂ emissions. Of this, 60% are “process emissions”, meaning they can’t be avoided, even if fossil fuels stop being used in the cement manufacturing process entirely. CCS can capture this carbon.
CCS, however, has been StrugglingIt was difficult to get the project off the ground. More than 80% of projects fail due to complex infrastructure and lack of support. It could be dangerous to rely too heavily on CCS.
Together, we’ve mapped greenhouse gas emissions across six sectors – energy, industry, buildings, transport, food, and agriculture and forestry – to assess whether existing SolutionsAll inclusive Circular business models, renewable energytech Low-carbon heating and cooling systems, can eliminate emission without the use of CCS.
We found that if solutions that don’t rely on CCS were implemented within Carbon Law guidelines, global emissions could be cut from 54 billion metric tonnes in 2020 to 34 billion metric tonnes in 2030.
With the accelerating developmentBy 2030, the energy sector could have a reduction of three billion tonnes due to renewable energy. The Sector buildingsAutomation of energy consumption and retrofitting buildings can reduce emissions by five million metric tonnes by 2030. And electric vehicles, digital vehiclepooling services and remote meetingPlatforms could reduce transport sector emissions by another 3.5 billion tonnes.
What’s more, adding nature-based solutions such as managing cattle grazingAnd rebuilding forestsThis could reduce emissions quickly by preventing soil degradation and could also add 9.1 million metric tonnes of capacity to carbon-sinks. For example, creating “Food forests” – layered forests with crops built in – could sequester up to one billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.
If we manage to put these plans into practice, we’d be able to achieve net zero emissionsCCS will be significantly reduced in the coming decades. But that’s only half of the story.
Over the past decade, renewables have seen their costs drop dramatically. Solar and wind power are now the most affordable forms of electricity in most regions of the globe. However, economic models have struggled with keeping up with the pace of change and sometimes use unrealistic renewables costs. New researchNeil Grant and his colleagues examine what happens when cost assumptions are changed to reflect the incredible progress made over the past decade.
We found that cheaper renewables reduce the demand for CCS technologies, with CCS’s economic value falling by 15-96% between 2050 and 2050. This effect is not uniform across sectors.
For example, while cheap renewables slash the value of CCS in electricity and hydrogen production by 61-96%, CCS remains valuable in cement production and CO₂ removal, where its value only falls 15-36%. It seems like targeting CCS where it’s most needed could be a better strategy: less “spray and pray”, more “select and perfect”.
Models of a Future with low carbonThey must decide how to spread the effort to combat climate change over the next century. They often use “Get Discounts” to achieve this. Discount rates determine how a dollar’s worth of action today – for example, a dollar spent installing a wind turbine – compares to a dollar’s worth of action in the future.
A higher discount rate means it’s cheaper to spend the dollar in the future, creating an incentive to delay that action. Many models still use discount rates as high as 4-5%. This leads to a tendency to do less now – and compensate for it later.
Neil’s Research shows that when lower discount rates of 1% are used – to reflect the importance of future generations’ wellbeing – the value of CCS plummets across sectors. The value of CCS is particularly important. BECCSThis is more than half. This means that BECCS, although still useful, is much less valuable.
While capturing carbon will be essential in tackling the climate crisis, it shouldn’t be used to delay action now. Since large-scale carbon capture may be dangerous, we should update our models to better reflect the future needs of future generations.
Neil Grant received funding from NERC under Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP.
Avit K.Bhowmik has not disclosed any affiliations other than their academic appointment.