The UK could cut its emissions to “net-zero” within the next three decades by stepping up investment into technologies that can remove CO2 from the atmosphere, a report finds. However, such methods, which are known collectively as “negative emissions technologies” (NETs), would only be effective if paired with drastic efforts to cut the UK’s current rate of emissions, the findings suggest. The report, published jointly by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, evaluates how the UK could capitalise on a range of proposed techniques from “natural climate solutions”, such as planting forests, to more experimental methods, including capturing CO2 directly from the air. The findings show that the UK “must act quickly” to ramp up “research and investigation” into a suite of NETs, the report’s chair told Carbon Brief at a press briefing in London. Some industries, such as aviation and agriculture, it will be almost impossible to cut emissions down to zero, says Prof Corinne Le Quéré, a report author and director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia. In the video below, she explains why the use of NETs could be necessary to counteract the “emissions we don’t know how to bring down to zero”.
Carbon Brief 12th Sept 2018 read more »
Tree-planting, restoring wetlands and using chemicals to take carbon dioxide from the air will all be needed to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gases in line with government plans, scientists have said. If these measures are taken urgently, they could make enough of a contribution to make the UK “net zero” in terms of carbon emissions by 2050. However, a major programme to bring them into effect would be needed as a matter of urgency. “We will need to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as well as work on ways to stop emitting so much in the first place,” said Nilay Shah, head of chemical engineering at Imperial College London, and a member of the working group on the report. “The very first thing we need to do is go to a very low number on emissions by 2050. If we work very hard on decarbonising energy and emissions from building and transport and industry, we can bring down emissions to 130m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) by 2050 compared with 450 MtCO2e today.” That remaining 130m tonnes “is very difficult to get rid of”, said Shah, partly as it comes from activities such as agriculture and aviation, which are hard to decarbonise. This left a gap which could only be filled by removing greenhouse gases from the air.
Guardian 12th Sept 2018 read more »