8 Ways to Sequester Carbon to Avoid Climate Catastrophe

GR: Developing and testing atmospheric CO2 capture technology is underway. That, at a cost of perhaps a trillion dollars per year, and other less mechanical techniques for preventing climate-change devastation. At the same time, an immediate end to fossil fuel use is necessary.

Reading this article, one gets the impression that by making a total effort, we could control climate change. Of course, wealthy investors will fund and control the technological efforts. So, we pay them to solve the problem they caused? Perhaps we need to concentrate more  on distributed solutions that people can fund and control. Things like dropping meat from our diet, planting trees, and growing our own food.

Saving ourselves from climate change solves only part of our trouble. The other problems are just as serious and will require equally creative solutions.

The true disaster is the careless and relentless destruction of nature in which human-caused climate change joins farming, fishing, hunting, dumping, and urbanization as an instrument of nature’s destruction.

As we struggle to control our fossil-fuel addiction and begin drawing carbon back from the air, we also need to take all those recommended steps to reduce our population and its impact on the Earth. The outlook is not hopeful, the future isn’t bright, and right now, humanity doesn’t much care. Perhaps that will change during the next few years.

This article contains a useful discussion and explanation of carbon-capture solutions.

“Klaus Lackner has a picture of the future in his mind, and it looks something like this: 100 million semi-trailer-size boxes, each filled with a beige fabric configured into what looks like shag carpet to maximize surface area. Each box draws in air as though it were breathing. As it does, the fabric absorbs carbon dioxide, which it later releases in concentrated form to be made into concrete or plastic or piped far underground, effectively cancelling its ability to contribute to climate change.

“Though the technology is not yet operational, it’s “at the verge of moving out of the laboratory, so we can show how it works on a small scale,” said Lackner, director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at Arizona State University. Once he has all the kinks worked out, he figured that, combined, the network of boxes could capture perhaps 100 million metric tons (110 million tons) of CO2 per day at a cost of $30 per ton—making a discernible dent in the climate-disrupting overabundance of CO2 that has built up in the air since humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest 150 years ago.

“Lackner is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists around the world who are working on ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, capturing carbon from the atmosphere using plants, rocks or engineered chemical reactions and storing it in soil, products such as concrete and plastic, rocks, underground reservoirs or the deep blue sea.

“Some of the strategies—known collectively as carbon dioxide removal or negative emissions technologies—are just twinkles in their envisioners’ eyes. Others—low-tech schemes like planting more forests or leaving crop residues in the field, or more high-tech “negative emissions” setups like the CO2-capturing biomass fuel plant that went online last spring in Decatur, Illinois—are already underway. Their common aim: To help us out of the climate change fix we’ve gotten ourselves into.

“We can’t just decarbonize our economy, or we won’t meet our carbon goal,” said Noah Deich, co-founder and executive director with the Center for Carbon Removal in Oakland, California. “We have to go beyond to clean up carbon from the atmosphere … [And] we need to start urgently if we are to have real markets and real solutions available to us that are safe and cost effective by 2030.” –Mary Hoff (Continue: 8 Ways to Sequester Carbon to Avoid Climate Catastrophe).

Three Years to Safeguard Our Climate

GR: An article published yesterday (June 28, 2017) in Nature presents stern warnings from leading climate scientists. A list of necessary actions accompanies the warnings. The warnings come at a time when the majority of citizens in countries that use the most fossil fuel believe that global warming is a real threat. Is the majority strong enough? Can they convince their leaders to turn away from the riches offered by the leading polluters. Can they do it in three years?

The article below addresses with fossil-fuel emissions. I have to step aside for a moment and point out that there are many other threats. First, climate change is accelerating and may already be out of control. Recent research in the Arctic indicates that methane might have begun an exponential increase that we can’t stop.

Second, the food and water requirements of the human population are already exceeding Earth’s productive capacity. Population displacements and conflicts have begun and can only grow worse.

Third, Earth’s ecosystems are failing due to human impacts. People are cutting and burning the forests, farms are exhausting the soils, and wildlife is disappearing.

However, if people can indeed make the needed changes in fossil fuel use in three years, perhaps they will then go on to tackle the other great problems. Yay people!

“Christiana Figueres and colleagues set out a six-point plan for turning the tide of the world’s carbon dioxide by 2020.

Decarbonizing the world economy will require renewable energy generation from vast solar farms, such as this one in Nevada.

“In the past three years, global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have levelled after rising for decades. This is a sign that policies and investments in climate mitigation are starting to pay off. The United States, China and other nations are replacing coal with natural gas and boosting renewable energy sources. There is almost unanimous international agreement that the risks of abandoning the planet to climate change are too great to ignore.Related stories

“The technology-driven transition to low-carbon energy is well under way, a trend that made the 2015 Paris climate agreement possible. But there is still a long way to go to decarbonize the world economy. The political winds are blustery. President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris agreement when it is legally able to do so, in November 2020.

“The year 2020 is crucially important for another reason, one that has more to do with physics than politics. When it comes to climate, timing is everything. According to an April report(1) (prepared by Carbon Tracker in London, the Climate Action Tracker consortium, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut), should emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, or even remain level, the temperature goals set in Paris become almost unattainable. The UN Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed in 2015 would also be at grave risk.

“That’s why we launched Mission 2020 — a collaborative campaign to raise ambition and action across key sectors to bend the greenhouse-gas emissions curve downwards by 2020 (www.mission2020.global).

“As 20 leaders of the world’s largest economies gather on 7–8 July at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, we call on them to highlight the importance of the 2020 climate turning point for greenhouse-gas emissions, and to demonstrate what they and others are doing to meet this challenge. Lowering emissions globally is a monumental task, but research tells us that it is necessary, desirable and achievable.

“After roughly 1°C of global warming driven by human activity, ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already losing mass at an increasing rate. Summer sea ice is disappearing in the Arctic and coral reefs are dying from heat stress — entire ecosystems are starting to collapse. The social impacts of climate change from intensified heatwaves, droughts and sea-level rise are inexorable and affect the poorest and weakest first.

“The magnitude of the challenge can be grasped by computing a budget for CO2 emissions — the maximum amount of the gas that can be released before the temperature limit is breached. After subtracting past emissions, humanity is left with a ‘carbon credit’ of between 150 and 1,050 gigatonnes (Gt; one Gt is 1 × 109 tonnes) of CO2 to meet the Paris target of 1.5 °C or well below 2 °C (see go.nature.com/2rytztf). The wide range reflects different ways of calculating the budgets using the most recent figures.

“At the current emission rate of 41 Gt of CO2 per year, the lower limit of this range would be crossed in 4 years, and the midpoint of 600 Gt of CO2 would be passed in 15 years. If the current rate of annual emissions stays at this level, we would have to drop them almost immediately to zero once we exhaust the budget. Such a ‘jump to distress’ is in no one’s interest. A more gradual descent would allow the global economy time to adapt smoothly.

“The good news is that it is still possible to meet the Paris temperature goals if emissions begin to fall by 2020 (see ‘Carbon crunch’).

Sources: Stefan Rahmstorf/Global Carbon Project; http://go.nature.com/2RCPCRU

Sources: Stefan Rahmstorf/Global Carbon Project; http://go.nature.com/2RCPCRU

“Greenhouse-gas emissions are already decoupling from production and consumption. For the past three years, worldwide CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have stayed flat, while the global economy and the gross domestic product (GDP) of major developed and developing nations have grown by at least 3.1% per year (see go.nature.com/2rthjje). This is only the fourth occasion in the past 40 years on which emission levels have stagnated or fallen. The previous three instances — in the early 1980s, 1992 and 2009 — were associated with global economic predicaments, but the current one is not(2).” Christiana FigueresHans Joachim SchellnhuberGail WhitemanJohan RockströmAnthony Hobley , & Stefan Rahmstorf (Source: Three years to safeguard our climate : Nature News & Comment)