Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stock-take 2018: Rapid emissions reductions would keep CO2 removal and costs in check

29.03.2018

Rapid greenhouse-gas emissions reductions are needed if governments want to keep in check both the costs of the transition towards climate stabilization and the amount of removing already emitted CO2 from the atmosphere. To this end, emissions in 2030 would need to be at least 20 percent below what countries have pledged under the Paris climate agreement, a new study finds – an insight that is directly relevant for the global stock-take scheduled for the UN climate summit in Poland later this year.

Removing CO2 from the atmosphere through technical methods including carbon capture and underground storage (CCS) or increased use of plants to suck up CO2 comes with a number of risks and uncertainties, and hence the interest of limiting them.


“Emissions reduction efforts in the next decade pledged by governments under the Paris climate agreement are by far not sufficient to attain the explicit aim of the agreement – they will not keep warming below the 2-degrees-limit,” says Jessica Strefler from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), lead-author of the analysis published in Environmental Research Letters.

“To stabilize the climate before warming crosses the Paris threshold, we either have to undertake the huge effort of halving emissions until 2030 and achieving emission neutrality by 2050 – or the emissions reductions would have to be complemented by CO2 removal technologies. In our study, we for the first time try to identify the minimum CO2 removal requirements – and how these requirements can be reduced with increased short-term climate action.”

+++At least 5 billion tons of CO2 removal per year throughout the second half of the century+++

It turns out that, according to the computer simulations done by the scientists, challenges for likely keeping warming below the threshold agreed in Paris would increase sharply if CO2 removal from the atmosphere is restricted to less than 5 billion tons of CO2 per year throughout the second half of the century. This is substantial.

It would mean for instance building up an industry for carbon capture and storage that moves masses comparable to today’s global petroleum industry. Still, 5 billion tons of CO2 removal is modest compared to the tens of billion tons that some scenarios used in climate policy debates assume. Current CO2 emissions worldwide are more than 35 billion tons per year.

“Less than 5 billion tons of CO2 removal could drastically drive up the challenges of climate stabilization”, says co-author Nico Bauer from PIK. “If for instance this amount of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) was halved, then the annual CO2 reduction rates between 2030 and 2050 would have to be doubled to still achieve 2 degrees Celsius. In addition, short-term emissions reductions would also have to be increased as the emissions reductions pledged so far by the signatories of the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to keep warming below 2 degrees if they’re not combined with CO2 removal from the atmosphere.”

+++“It is all about short-term entry points, like rapidly phasing out coal”+++

More CO2 removal could in principle reduce costs since, on paper, implementing the relevant technologies to compensate residual emissions in industry and transport is cheaper than pushing emissions reduction from 90 percent to 100 percent. However, CO2 removal technologies are afflicted with three types of uncertainties and risks. First, the technical feasibility and also the costs are not well known so far. Second, they might have negative effects for sustainability; a massive scale-up of bio-energy production for instance could trigger land-use conflicts and come at the expense of food production and ecosystem protection. Third, the political feasibility is by no means given. In Germany, fears expressed by parts of the population made the government stop even small-scale carbon capture and storage implementation.

“This gives important information to governments – first, rapid short-term emissions reductions are the most robust way of preventing climate damages, and second, large-scale deployment of CDR technologies can only be avoided when reliable CO2 prices are introduced as soon as possible,” says Ottmar Edenhofer, co-author of the study and PIK's chief economist. “Ramping up climate policy ambition for 2030 to reduce emissions by 20 percent is economically feasible. It is all about short-term entry points: rapidly phasing out coal in developed countries such as Germany and introducing minimum prices for CO2 in pioneer coalitions in Europe and China makes sense almost irrespective of the climate target you aim for. In contrast, our research shows that delaying action makes costs and risks skyrocket. People as well as businesses want stability, and this is what policy-makers can provide – if they act rapidly.”

Article: Jessica Strefler, Nico Bauer, Elmar Kriegler, Alexander Popp, Anastasis Giannousakis, Ottmar Edenhofer (2018): Between Scylla and Charybdis: Delayed mitigation narrows the passage between large-scale CDR and high costs. Environmental Research Letters [DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aab2ba]

Weblink to the article once it is published: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aab2ba

For further information please contact:
PIK press office
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
E-Mail: press@pik-potsdam.de
Twitter: @PIK_Climate

www.pik-potsdam.de

Jonas Viering | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht "Flight recorder" of rocks within the Earth’s crust
16.04.2019 | Universität Bern

nachricht More than 90% of glacier volume in the Alps could be lost by 2100
09.04.2019 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>