The capture of CO2 has very limited utility, say European experts who warn against the temptation of depending on carbon capture as the main measure to affect climate change.
Falling into this climate temptation is quite easy. “Thinking that the technology will come to the rescue if we can not reduce greenhouse gases enough can be an attractive vision,” admits Thierry Courvoisier, president of the Scientific Academic Advisory Committee of the European Academies.
But creating “unrealistic expectations” about these technologies could have irreversible consequences “for future generations,” writes the Swiss astrophysicist in an Easac report.
Courvoisier refers to the fight against “climate change” and, in particular, the so-called negative emission technologies – basically, capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store them to control global warming.
The Paris Agreement, the international pact that guides the fight against climate change, was set as the goal that the average increase in the temperature of the planet in 2100 is below the two degrees and as far as possible.
For this, it establishes that “a balance between anthropogenic emissions” and “absorption” of greenhouse gases will have to be achieved through “sinks” in the second half of the century.
In other words, the door was opened to these negative emission technologies as a tool to achieve the Paris objectives.
But Easac, which is made up of the national science academies of EU members, has analyzed the potential impact of these technologies through a special report, prepared by 12 researchers, and rejects that they can play a fundamental role:
“these technologies offer only a limited realistic possibility of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and not on the scale envisaged in some climate scenarios. “
Although the report recognizes the future role of these techniques, it adds that “not at the levels necessary to compensate for insufficient mitigation measures”.
That is, governments cannot compensate with the capture of CO2 cuts in emissions that they do not do, basically, in their energy sector, which accounts for around 80% of the carbon dioxide emitted.
When a State ratifies the Paris Agreement, which was signed in the French capital in 2015, it must submit national plans for cuts in its emissions.
But those on the table, which cover the period between 2020 and 2030, are not enough to achieve the objective of two degrees.
The UN estimates that, by 2030, global emissions would have to be around 40 gigatons per year; However, when applying the national commitments of the signatories of the agreement it is estimated that, by that date, the world will be hovering around 55 gigatons.
European experts say that this gap will increase over the decades and the so-called “carbon budget” – the amount of greenhouse gases that humanity can emit from here to the end of the century – will be quickly depleted.
That’s where the negative emission technologies would come into play to remove gases that have been expelled from the atmosphere.
Easac concludes that, with the current level of knowledge, these technologies will not be able to “save” the day.
They warn that the implementation of these measures of capture of carbon dioxide on a large scale will involve “high economic costs and probably cause important impacts on terrestrial or marine ecosystems.”
The study also warns that in the scenarios planned by the IPCC – the group of scientists that analyze climate change under the umbrella of the UN – negative emission technologies play an important role, though now, they have been proven to be almost useless.
In fact, they maintain that in 344 of the 400 scenarios posed by the IPCC in which the world has the possibility of meeting the two-degree goal, it is assumed that large-scale CO2 capture will be necessary.
Easac’s study, therefore, concludes that governments must “focus on rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions” and revise upwards, as established in the Paris Agreement, their commitments every five years.
In sum, so-called carbon capture technologies will not only be insignificant in avoiding the much-paraded climate disaster, which has been proven to be a hoax but enacting these technologies will have a negative impact on the global economy as well as terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
These technologies should be immediately abandoned and substituted with real scientific analysis. Climate science must now take a detour from fitting political discourse and concentrate its efforts on developing real solutions, not costly, profit-driven initiatives. After all, the so-called climate crisis has been already debunked.