NEGATIVE EMISSIONS - John Wawrzonek

NEGATIVE EMISSIONS

THE STATE OF THE ART

THE IMPORTANCE OF NEGATIVE EMISSIONS depends greatly on the assumptions made about the succeess of reducing "positive emissions." However, even of normal (positive) there still remains an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sufficient to cause problems for decades.

IN A GUEST POST, THE WEB JOURNAL CarbonBrief provides a good overview. Accordingly, I am going to reproduce portions of the article as well as providing a LINK.
"Seven Key Things to Know About Negative Emissions"
Prof. Jan Minx is head of the applied sustainability science working group at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and Priestley Chair of climate change and public policy at the University of Leeds; Dr Sabine Fuss is head of the sustainable resource management and global change working group at the MCC; and Prof Gregory Nemet is associate professor of public affairs and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Despite the ambitious long-term climate goals of the Paris Agreement, there remains a distinct lack of success at ushering in immediate and sustained reductions in global CO2 emissions.

This cognitive dissonance has seen the topic of “negative emissions” – also known as “carbon dioxide removal” (CDR) – move into the limelight in climate science and policy discussions.

Increasingly, the only way to bridge the growing gap between short and long-term climate policy ambition appears to be developing the ability to remove billions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and store it on land, underground, or in the oceans.

Yet, the current knowledge on negative emissions technologies (NETs) is diffuse and incomplete. This makes it hard for assessment bodies, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to evaluate the state of knowledge.In a three-part literature review, published in Environmental Research Letters, we did some of the leg work and systematically assessed what we know and do not know about NETs. We presented our findings at last week’s international conference on negative emissions.

Here is the last of seven central insights from our three papers.

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7. A big gap exists between R&D of NETs and actual deployment. While we are seeing a burst of new literature on NETs, the overwhelming majority focuses on early-stage research. But bringing new technologies to widespread adoption typically requires a sequence of activities beyond research and development, including demonstration projects and serving niche markets, followed by a gradual process of scaling up to a larger market.

Along the way, new technologies face an array of issues, including convincing sceptical “early adopters” and challenges in public acceptance. There is little NETs literature on these later stages and the entire process has typically taken decades to play out for other technologies.

Compared with other low-carbon technologies, for example, it is clear that NETs still have the bulk of their development pathways in front of them.

The graphic below shows solar photovoltaics (PV) as an analogue. The first commercial application was in 1957 and it took 60 years to get to low cost PV. Yet, we are still a couple of decades away from widespread adoption – say 10-30% – of the global energy supply. Air Carbon Capture, revealing a huge time gap in deployment for 1.5C relevance. Schematic illustrating the analogue of solar PV upscaling applied to Direct Air Carbon Capture, revealing a huge time gap in deployment for 1.5C relevance. Figure by William Lamb based on Nemet et al. (2018) Applying this timeline to DACCS would suggest that we will not provide the technology at scale in time to be relevant for climate change. We, therefore, need to think more actively about speeding up innovation for NETs.

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