Thursday, July 11, 2013

If Only We Weren't Lashed Tightly to Fossil Fuels, We Might Save the World

What would you give for a chance to reverse global warming?  Think on that for a minute.   What would you be willing to sacrifice to avert climate change tipping points, irreversible runaway global warming?

Is such a thing even possible?  A team of experts from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden believes that using "surface carbon" for fuel (trees, crop waste, biomass) coupled with a massive programme for carbon capture and sequestration could actually reverse global warming.

The bioenergy and CCS method was the most cost-effective way of tackling carbon emissions, said the team at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, publishing their research in the journal Environmental Research Letters on Thursday. Such an approach could offset and even reverse other emissions from fossil fuels, they claimed.

The lead author of the study, Prof Christian Azar, said it could help bring temperatures down even if they rose above the 2C level that world leaders have agreed to avoid: "Even if current political gridlock causes global warming in excess of 2C, we can reverse the temperature trend and reach targets later. This means that 2C targets, or even more ambitious targets, can remain on the table in international climate negotiations."

He said that to achieve a reversal of temperatures, the combination of bioenergy and CCS would need to be combined with a huge expansion in renewable energy or nuclear power, in order to reduce emissions almost to zero. He also admitted that there was a political risk that the proposal's ability to reverse rises at a late stage could be used as an excuse for short-term inaction on emissions.

It's a fascinating idea, particularly because it could well work, but only if we moved quickly to transition to alternate energy and essentially decarbonize our economies and our societies.   We would have to euthanize our fossil fuel industries and wipe their notional vast resources right off the books.   Would we be better off for it?  Overall, yes, and certainly so for our children and grandchildren.   Would the transition be disruptive, economically dislocative?   Sure.  Does the political and public will needed for such a thing exist?  Not a chance.


Oemissions said...

i quit driving 2 years ago not just for climate change but also because i hate being surrounded by them,am stressed by
the noise which is worse than the stink
and i can't garden for more than 10 minutes because of the roar from the road and the stressful vibrations...
just to cross a road on a xwalk terrifies me so i venture out less and less and go for groceries at 7am

The Mound of Sound said...

Sad as it is to say, Oem, but I gave up visiting Ganges a couple of years back because of the motorists. I was astonished at the aggression, especially among what I suspect were summer tourists impatient to grab a parking spot. It felt like being a pedestrian caught up in a demolition derby.

astone said...

Not a snowballs chance in hell, or on the sun-ward facing side of Mercury or on the surface of the sun itself, for that matter!!