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Scientists Say Major Push for CO2 Removal Needed

by Axios | 10.25.18

A new National Academy of Sciences report calls for a "substantial research initiative" to quickly advance technologies that directly remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Why it matters: It's a stark recognition that expansion of zero-carbon energy sources will not be enough to meet the internationally recognized goal of holding the global temperature rise below 2°C/ 3.6°F, let alone 1.5°C/ 2.7°F — which are recognized benchmarks for avoiding some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

What they found: "Recent analyses of economically optimal solutions to the climate problem have concluded that [negative emissions technologies] will play as significant a role as any mitigation technology," the report states.

It envisions 10 billion tons of CO2 emissions-removal needed annually by roughly mid-century, an amount that doubles by 2100.

This Associated Press piece nicely puts that 10 billion number in context:

"That’s the equivalent of about twice the yearly emissions of the U.S.," AP notes. "Last year the world put nearly 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, and emissions have been rising."

Where it stands: The panel of scientists that wrote the report conclude that while some options already exist, they're not ready to get the job done at the scale needed — thanks to vast amounts of land needed and other constraints — and without unintended harms.

They include various types of land-use changes — like forest-planting — and soil management practices that increase CO2 uptake, as well as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (which would require vast amounts of cropland at scale).

So a lot more research is needed to improve those options, reduce their negative effects and cut costs.

  • Meanwhile, 2 other major options that have "essentially unlimited" capacity — direct air capture and carbon mineralization — have barely been explored, they note.
  • They caution that CO2 removal is not a replacement for other mitigation strategies or emissions cuts, but rather a piece of the solution.

Ben Geman

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Axios

Written by Axios

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(56)
  • Kodiwodi
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    It is time to move beyond simple capitalistic goals and embrace any and all research which may move us to the survival of the planet through 2100. While there is no shame in making a dollar there is if it is to the exclusion of clean air, water, a devastated environment and the death of all species under our stewardship including ourselves. Regardless of your personal beliefs on climate change etc. it is clear our world is becoming inhospitable to future life. We must support all scientific efforts to change that.

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  • jayar
    Voted Oppose
    10/25/2018
    ···

    Plant trees, they take CO2 out for free. Then use the lumber to build housing for homeless veterans.

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  • Stefan
    12/03/2018
    ···

    I support this matter greatly in the fact that c02 emissions like any other toxic chemical, should be regulated by the federal government as well as on a state level. Although c02 is non toxic and has no immediate dangers, it is known that c02 is a green house gas that helps trap heat in our atmosphere. This has been happening for millions of years with natural change to the amount of c02 within our atmosphere. With the addition of agriculture and manufacturing industries, these large scale operations release way more c02 then what would naturally occur like forest fires where c02 is taken by trees and converted to oxygen. The tree keeps the carbon from the c02 where then fires can burn it back into the atmosphere as c02 or it will naturally decompose into the earth where it is used as nutrients. Knowing this, it is understood that the c02 levels may vary with the occasional fire but now we are altering our atmosphere to the point where we can change the global average temperature which can kill all of the coral and ocean life and create unnatural weather patterns. We must take action to prevent further damage and possibly remove excess c02 to prevent damage or revert it.

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  • Chickie
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    We are mere custodians of the world we live in. It is our responsibility to ensure we have done everything possible to leave it in a better condition when passed on to the next custodians. To claim the US as a Nationalist country will not endorse scientific measures for improvement of the earth. The US has given billions of dollars to wasteful and redundant industries. It’s time we accept the responsibility given to us by previous guardians.

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  • Tooluser1
    Voted Oppose
    10/25/2018
    ···

    Plants. We call them plants.... Idiots! The world is GREENING, CO2 levels are "unexplainably" low and climate alarmists continue to spread misinformation that COMPLETELY IGNORES plants converting CO2 to O2...

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  • Tom
    10/29/2018
    ···

    So we need to limit the birth of human beings maybe limited children to one per couple to limit the co2 from humans breathing

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  • Damian
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    We must take responsibility for the course not only us but our ancestors but we have put this planet on. It is clear that at this rate our beautify l world will be inhospitable to future generations if we do not take initiative and act now. This is a serious issue that regardless of your views on climate change, needs to be strongly addressed with a bipartisan united attitude. It is the responsible thing to do.

    Like (6)
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  • Jason
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    We need a full court press on climate change. To minimize opportunity costs associated with future climate change mitigation expenses, we need to be spending world-war-2 levels of money on decarbonizing our economy and restoring the atmosphere a more sustainable balance. We can do all this while still growing the economy and creating jobs. It only requires political vision and leadership.

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  • Mark
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    “Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5º C or higher increases the risk associated with long lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II. We need to take immediate action to remove C02 from the environment!

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  • JamieD
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    I love this as one of the approaches to mitigating climate change. Honestly, it’s a technological problem that’s easier to get people excited about than simply “limit your emissions.” We should encourage development through contests and cash prizes.

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  • Page
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    We have two options here. One is survival, the other a planetary collapse. We must listen to the climatologists who are giving us a way to survive. CO2 extraction it is!

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  • KansasTamale
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    The fact that Trump has done away with all the protections that were set up to start address CO2 and all environmental concerns is part of the problem. Trump is an ongoing problem here because HE & all the people he has put in office are destroying and reversing all the protections and steps taken to help with this problem ie pulling out of the Environmental PACT.

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  • Mark
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    Why don’t you idiots listen to the experts...AKA SCIENTISTS!!

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  • Brian
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    It’s time to get a backbone congress stand up to trump and do your jobs save this country and this planet we all share

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  • Joyce
    Voted Support
    10/26/2018
    ···

    BECAUSE ALL OF US DESERVE TO ONLY AND ALWAYS BREATHE FRESH, PURE, CLEAN AIR THAT OUR TREES PROVIDE FOR ALL OF US FOR ALWAYS!!!

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  • Liza
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    YES YES all the way. It isn’t fair having Trump or any Republican who doesn’t even take climate change seriously. Not only that but some don’t even believe it is REAL. Unbelievable. We need educated representatives who put our planet FIRST before making decisions that impact our environment.

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  • John
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    It’s past time to get serious about climate change.

    Like (4)
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  • Kerry
    Voted Support
    10/26/2018
    ···

    Please take steps to support better CO2 removal for the health of our planet. Everyone alive today deserves this and more importantly we have an obligation to future generations.

    Like (4)
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  • Robert
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    What are we waiting for? “Climate-Denier-in-Chief?

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  • Levi
    Voted Oppose
    10/25/2018
    ···

    Global warming fake news garbage to bring us into a world tax for humanity. I oppose. #WWG1WGA

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  • Cathy
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    We are near the tipping point. We must act now aggressively to protect our environment.

    Like (3)
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  • Jackson
    Voted Support
    10/25/2018
    ···

    The massive outburst of CO2 in the atmosphere is a detriment that we have committed upon the environment. We have a responsibility as human beings to fix the wrongs we have committed to our home.

    Like (3)
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