What if Carbon Capture Fails? Most policy scenarios being used by governments include carbon capture as a vital tool to reduce emissions. Though it’s far from proven at scale, models assume that between 2030 and 2050 carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will get its act together and deliver on its part in the net-zero puzzle. Assuming that will happen, burning fossil fuels can continue for longer. But Neil Grant and Ajay Gambhir at Imperial College London, writing for Carbon Brief, say the standard models fail to measure the different probabilities of CDR never coming online at scale. Based on their calculations, they show that even a small 10% chance of CDR failure means emissions must be cut twice as fast over the 2020s – a 70% reduction by 2030 rather than the planned 30% reduction – to keep the 2050 goals within reach. That would have huge consequences for renewables deployment (a four-fold increase), reduction in polluting activities (like aviation), and the take-up of low-carbon fuels (like hydrogen). Their study will provide hard numbers for the critics of pathways that rely on CDR, and for those calling for the creation of separate targets for reducing emissions and removing emissions.
Energy Post 5th July 2021 read more »