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Watertown Daily Times | Scientists push for a crash program to scrub carbon from the air

WASHINGTON – With time running out to avoid global warming, the nation's leading scientific body on Wednesday urged the federal…

WASHINGTON – With time running out to avoid global warming, the nation’s leading scientific body on Wednesday urged the federal government to launch a research program focused on developing technologies that can remove solids or carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help slow climate change.

The 369-page report, written by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, underscores an important shift. For decades, experts said that nations could prevent large temperatures to increase mainly by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and moving to cleaner sources like solar, wind and nuclear power.

But at this point, nations have delayed so long in cutting their carbon- dioxide emissions that even a breakneck shift towards clean energy would most likely not be enough. Ifølge en landmark-videnskabelig rapport udstedt af FN-landene i denne måneden, tager ud af en stor del af kuldioxid, der allerede er indlæst i atmosfæren, det kan være nødvendigt at undgå betydelige yderligere opvarmning, selvom forskere ikke har fundet ud af, hvordan man gør det economically, or at sufficient scale.

And we’ll have to do it fast. To meet the climate goals laid down under the Paris Agreement, humanity may have to start removing around 1

0 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year by midcentury, in addition to reducing industrial emissions, said Stephen Pacala, a Princeton climate scientist who led the panel. That’s almost as much carbon as all the world’s forests and soils currently absorb every year.

“Midcentury is not very far away,” Pacala said. “To develop the technologies and scale up to 10 billion tons a year is a frightful endeavor , something that would really require a lot of activity. So the time would have to be now. “

The panel’s members admitted that the Trump administration may not find the climate change argument all that compelling, since the president has disavowed the Paris Agreement. But, Pacala said, it’s probably other countries will be interested in carbon removal. De Forenede Stater kan tage en ledende rolle i at udvikle teknologier som kan være en dag til mange milliarder kroner.

Right now, there are plenty of ideas for carbon removal kicking around. Lande kunne plante flere træer som trækker CO2 ud af luften og låser det i deres træ. Farmers zouden kunnen aannemen technieken, zoals no-to-agriculture, dat zou meer koolstof in de bodem houden. A few companies are building “direct air capture” plants that use chemical agents to scrub trace amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, allowing them to sell the gas to industrial customers or bury it underground.

But, the National Academies panel warned , veel van deze methoden zijn nog steeds unproven of geconfronteerd met ernstige beperkingen. There is only so much land available to plant new trees. Scientists are still unsure how much carbon can be realistically stored in agricultural soils. And direct air capture plants are still too expensive for mass deployment.

In theory, it might be possible to collect wood or other plant matter that has absorbed carbon dioxide from the air, burn it into biomass power plants for energy and then capture De koolstof vrijkomt van verbranding en begraven het diep ondergronds, waardoor in essentie een energiecentrale dat negatieve uitstoot heeft.

Men et potentielt problem med denne tilgangen, den nationale akademiske panelet sagde, at det land som er nødvendigt for at vokse biomasse for disse kraftværker kunne løbe i konflikter med The need for farmland for food. The panel estimated this method may one day be able to remove 3 billion to 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year, but possibly much less, depending on land constraints.

That’s a far cry from the 10 billion to 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide we may need to pull out of the air at the end of the century to limit global warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the recent United Nations report. That figure assumes nations manage to decarbonize their energy and industrial systems almost entirely by 2050.

If nations fail to keep global warming below that 1.5 degree level, the U.N. Report warned, tens of millions more people could be exposed to life-threatening heat waves and water shortages, and the world’s coral reefs could almost disappear.

The National Academies panel recommended a dual strategy. USA kan sette opp programmer for å starte testing og distribusjon av CO2-fjerningsmetoder som ser ut til å gå, for eksempel negative utslipp av biomasseanlegg, nye skogsbehandlingsteknikker eller CO2-landbruksprogrammer.

At the same time, federal agencies would need to

For example, scientists have long known that certain minerals, like peridotite, can bind with carbon dioxide in the air and essentially convert the gas into solid rock. Researchers in Oman have been exploring the potential to use the country’s solid mineral deposits for carbon removal, but there are still major questions about whether this can be done feasibly on a large scale.

In its report, the panel laid out a detailed research agenda that could ultimately cost billions of dollars. Men eftersom CO2-fjernelse kunne “løse en betydelig andel af klimaproblemet,” siger rapporten, disse omkostninger er beskedne. For comparison, the federal government spent $ 22 billion on renewable energy research between 1978 and 2013.

Outside experts hailed the report as a sign that carbon removal is finally becoming central to the discussions about how to tackle climate change.

” We’re moving from the early stage of ‘what is carbon removal?’ To figure out what specific steps can be taken to get these solutions at scale, “said Noah Deich, executive director of the group Carbon180, which recently began an effort to bringing researchers and companies together to help bring carbon removal technologies to the marketplace.

The National Academies panel did, however, warn of one potential drawback of carbon removal research. Det kan skabe en “moral hazard”, hvor regeringer kan føle mindre urgency for at skære deres egne emissioner, hvis de tror at gigantiske karbonvaskemaskiner vil snart spare dagen.

if developed, could only be a part of a global global warming strategy. “Reducing emissions,” the report noted, “is vital to addressing the climate problem.”

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