It’s Time to Remove Carbon From the Atmosphere. But how?

The confusion over how these international exchanges operate makes it very difficult to agree on what net zero is. means. “The meaning of what net zero is, no one has the slightest idea,” said Janos Pasztor, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative. Broadly speaking, a net-zero country has to add and subtract the same amount of carbon in the atmosphere, he continues, “but what does that mean, and how do you measure it, and how do you measure it? shown, remains to be seen. “

And more importantly, say these experts, the desire for zero is not focused enough. We need to remove some of the carbon that is already in the atmosphere. “We’ll almost certainly exceed 1.5 in the next few decades,” Hausfather said. “And so the only way to get back to 1.5 C is to actively absorb carbon from the atmosphere. There’s no other way to do it.”

“The reality is that we didn’t do what we should have done 30 years ago, which was to reduce our emissions in the past enough so that we don’t have to be in our current situation,” Pasztor agreed. “Now it’s too late to reduce emissions.”

Carbon Extraction Technologies

The U.S. government seems to have gotten the message: On Tuesday, the White House announced the Carbon Negative Shot (a game of a “moonshot”), an initiative for accelerating the advancement of carbon removal technologies. In a new report, the White House acknowledged that some industries are stubbornly opposed to decarbonization — think manufacturing and rail transportation. “As a result,” the report says, “the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere will be critical for the United States to reach net-zero by 2050 and to achieve net negative emissions after that.

Carbon extraction technologies have two distinct principals. Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, means capturing emissions from fossil fuel power plants and storing them. Carbon dioxide removal, or CDR, involves engines that suck in air and pass it through membranes that capture CO.2. (This technology is also called direct air extraction.) In essence, capture and storage methods can prevent emissions currently being produced in a country, while air removal methods can prevent emissions that are already in the atmosphere.

But what will happen to CO2 when arrested? One option is to dissolve it in water — like the largest glass of soda in the world — and pump it underground into highly reactive basalt rock, which absorbs carbon and it is locked. Injecting the obtained CO2 underground as a relatively permanent solution. (Unless a supervolcano blowing all material high in the sky.)

Another option is to do it fuel for airplanes and cargo ships. Both are hard-to-decarbonize parts of the transportation industry, due to the size of the engines. This strategy is not really carbon-negative, but carbon-neutral: Carbon is removed from the air, burned again, and returned to the atmosphere. It’s better than digging up a lot of fossil fuel, and it can reduce the need for new fuel sources, but it’s still not a total reduction.

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