Being able to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is crucial to meet climate objectives. Of the 116 models that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) analyzes to chart the economically optimal paths towards the Paris goal, 101 assume “negative emissions”. No scenario can keep heating below 1.5 ° C without GHG removal.
Climate scientists, such as Gideon Henderson of the University of Oxford, have been discussing negative emission technologies (NETs) with economists and policy experts since the 1990s, but, until now, politicians have ignored largely the problem, preferring to focus on reducing current GHG flows in the atmosphere.
This situation is not a short-term game. The best thing would be if we could solve the secret of climate change easily .
Resolving the secret of climate change is not easy
In the long term, ignoring the need for negative emissions is complacent at best. The IPCC’s medium model involves absorbing a total of 810 billion tons of CO2 by the year 2100, equivalent to approximately 20 years of global emissions at the current rate. To have any hope of achieving this, preparations for large-scale mining should begin in the 2020s.
Modelers prefer NETs that use plants because they are a proven and true technology, and they tend to incur “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage” (BECCS for its acronym in English). In BECCS, plants fed by crops that can be burned for energy have their CO2 emissions injected into the deep geological strata, so they are not released into the atmosphere.
This technology has been around for a while; Some scenarios for the future generation of energy depend to a large extent on this. Currently, there are only 17 carbon capture and storage (CCS) programs large enough to get rid of around 1 million tons of CO2 per year. The promotion of the CCS is a struggle mainly because it doubles the cost of dirty power plants, whose fumes scrub.
Other forms of electricity with low emissions are much cheaper. However, despite the generation of bioenergy, the CCS does something that other forms of generation can not and that solves the secret of climate change. The carbon that the plants serve as fuel was originally taken from the atmosphere and sent to the rocks below, making it a negative emitter.