Technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help tackle global warming only have limited potential and more effort should be made to reduce emissions, European scientists said in a report on Wednesday.
Proposals to use climate technologies, ranging from spraying sun-dimming chemicals high above the Earth to capturing and storing carbon dioxide underground, have been gaining more attention as the urgency to act on climate change mounts.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, world governments have agreed to limit global warming to well below 2?C above preindustrial levels, but a large gap remains between nations’ emissions plans and the reductions needed.
The European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, formed from the national science academies of EU members, has reviewed scientific evidence about several options for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with so-called negative-emission technologies.
Examples of such technologies include the direct capture of carbon dioxide and trapping it underground (carbon capture and storage); afforestation and reforestation; land management to increase and fix carbon in soils; and ocean fertilization.
The council, which advises European policymakers, said these technologies have “limited realistic potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere” and not at the scale in some climate forecasts, such as several gigatonnes of carbon each year after 2050.
Their deployment on a large scale would also involve high economic costs and have major impacts on terrestrial or marine ecosystems, the council said in the report.
“Technologies capable of taking out CO2 [carbon dioxide] from the atmosphere are certainly no silver bullet — a point that should drive policymakers to renewed efforts to accelerate emissions reductions,” the report said.
However, the world will need all possible tools to limit warming and some of these technologies can make contributions to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere even now, while further research, development and demonstration might allow others to make a limited future contribution, it added.
Commenting on the report, Andrew Watson, Royal Society research professor at the University of Exeter, said that while some technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could have a role to play in reducing climate change, all have drawbacks making them difficult to use on a large scale.
“So our main focus and best hope for avoiding the worst effects of climate change still needs to be reducing our emissions,” Watson said.
Last week, a leaked draft UN report said there is a high chance that the levels of carbon dioxide removal which might be required to meet the Paris goals might not be feasible due to the required scale and speed of technology deployment.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by