It’s time to remove carbon from the atmosphere. but how?

The ambiguity of how these international exchanges operate makes it extremely difficult to agree on even net zero Means. “Defining net zero, nobody has the weakest idea,” says Janos Pazstor, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Management Initiative. In general, a zero-zero country would have to add and remove the same amount of carbon to the atmosphere, he continues, “but what that means, how you measure it, how you show it, remains to be seen.”

More importantly, these experts say, aiming from scratch is not a low enough target. We’ll have to remove some of the carbon that’s already in the atmosphere. “We will almost certainly get through 1.5 in the next few decades,” Hausfather says. So the only way to get back to 1.5°C is to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. There’s pretty much no other way to do it.”

“The truth is we didn’t do what we should have done 30 years ago, which is reduce our emissions back then enough that we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in today,” Pazstor agrees. “It is now too late to simply reduce emissions.”

Carbon Capture Technologies

The US government seems to have gotten the message: On Tuesday, the White House announced carbon negative shot (a play on “Moon Shots”), an initiative to accelerate the development of decarbonization technologies. in a new way Report, the White House acknowledges that some industries will stubbornly resist decarbonization — think manufacturing and rail transport. The report says: “For this reason, CO2 removals2 from the atmosphere will be critical to enabling the United States to reach net zero by 2050 and achieve net negative emissions thereafter. “

Carbon capture technologies come in two main types. Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, means capturing and storing emissions from fossil fuel power plants. Carbon dioxide removal, or CDR, involves self-contained machines that suck in air and pass it through membranes that pull in carbon dioxide.2. (This technique is also called live air capture.) Essentially, capture and storage methods would isolate the emissions a country is currently producing, while air removal methods would isolate old emissions already in the atmosphere.

But what happens with that CO2 Once it is captured? One option is to dissolve it in water – sort of like the world’s largest cup of soda – and pump it underground into highly reactive basalt rock, which absorbs carbon and lock it away. captured carbon dioxide injection2 Underground is a fairly permanent solution. (Unless it’s a super volcano Blowing all that stuff into the sky.)

Another option is to convert it to jet fuel And cargo ships. Both are parts that are difficult to decarbonize in the transportation industry, given the size of the machines. This strategy isn’t actually carbon-negative, but carbon-neutral: Carbon is pulled out of the air, burned again, and returned to the atmosphere. It’s better than drilling for more fossil fuels, and it reduces the demand for new fuel sources, but it’s still not an overall reduction.

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