Not Using Fossil Fuels is Better Than Technopostivism

Phramacy

The COP26 news coverage has focussed on pledges from counties to cut their emissions (which is good) and on funding for new technologies to suck carbon out of the air (which isn’t so good). Increasingly scientists, ecologists, and activists have been calling out that technical solutions are a distraction from the core problem: we’re burning up fossil fuels. Technology won’t save us, cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero will.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t research carbon capture technologies, rather we should prioritize not putting more carbon into the air in the first place. Leave the oil in the ground, stop all coal consumption, and ban the production of fossil fuel powered engines.

“Simply put, technological carbon capture is a dangerous distraction,” they wrote. “We don’t need to fix fossil fuels, we need to ditch them.”

Despite these groups’ concerns, we’re likely to be bombarded with more good-news climate stories like the coverage accorded to the plant in Merritt and the project in Iceland. And carbon capture, utilization, and storage is a key component of Canada and B.C.’s plans for reducing overall emissions.

The report acknowledges that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s future scenarios allow for the deployment of carbon-capture technologies from the air in achieving the Paris targets.

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COP26 Starts Soon, We Need to Capture Carbon Now

A company in Iceland captures carbon right out of the air and injects into the earth, the operation is a working proof that we can take carbon out of thin air. The carbon capture and storage (ccs) process is one of many options we have as a species to advert our own demise. With COP26 starting next week we not only need to get politicians to enforce policies to help the environment (like cutting market manipulating polices like oil subsidies) but to invest in building ccs solutions.

The Economist magazine (which is incredibly slow in acknowledging the world changes) has a good article exploring the state of ccs and what options we have. There are multiple solutions and we should explore them all.

Without a doubt our focus should be on reducing carbon emissions, but there’s no reason we can’t reduce our carbon output while also looking into capturing it.

The negative emissions is held to offer play two roles in climate stabilisation. One might be seen as balancing the current carbon account. Although most emissions can theoretically be eliminated using technologies that exist now, aviation, shipping and some industrial processes remain hard to decarbonise.Some agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions look as if they will prove recalcitrant. As long as emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases persist, stabilisation will require negative emissions.

The other role for is getting rid of historical excess. As we have seen, the cumulative CO2-emissions budget consistent with a 50-50 chance of meeting the 2°C goal is 3.7trn tonnes. The budget for 1.5°C is just 2.9trn tonnes. With 2.4trn tonnes already emitted, that leaves a decade of emissions at today’s rates for 1.5°C, maybe 25 years for 2°C.

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Carbon-Absorbing Material can Clean the Air

A new material that is inexpensive to produce is also good at absorbing CO2 emissions in the air. Hopefully we’ll see this material being applied to the medians on highways and other places close to planet-damaging carbon emission sources.

Reporting their findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the team (which includes a Nobel laureate in chemistry) descirbes a new solid material based on polyethylenimine that can be used to capture carbon dioxide at the source–be that an industrial smokestack or a car’s exhaust pipe–under real-world conditions where the air contains moisture.

That last part is important. Previous methods of scrubbing CO2 from the air have enjoyed varying degrees of success (usually under controlled conditions), but none has been particularly effective in the presence of humidity. The new material, which is inexpensive and readily available, has shown some of the highest carbon dioxide removal rates of any material ever tested in the presence of humidity.

Read more at Popular Science.

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