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Combating global warming requires technologies that we don't have
Material posted: Publication date: 11-02-2018
22 April 2016, the Conference on climate in Paris was signed Paris agreement which regulates measures to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 2020. To date, the Paris agreement — the main hope of mankind to stop the warming before we reach the "point of no return" in the form of an irreversible process, which supports itself (warming will cause the melting of glaciers and permafrost thawing, which will increase the amount of CO emissionsTwo will increase the greenhouse effect, there will be further warming, and so on).

The purpose of the agreement is to keep the rise in global average temperature below 2 °C and "make efforts" to limit the temperature rise value of 1.5 °C (see helical chart). To do this, the parties to the agreement agreed after the "maximally fast" reach the peak of CO emissionTwo to start reducing carbon dioxide emissions.


Global temperature change in 1850-2016 gg

Unfortunately, it is not so simple. Reduce CO emissionsTwo there may not be enough to stop the warming of the Earth. This topic is addressed in report on technologies of "negative emissions", compiled by scientists from more than 20 countries, members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European academies. By "negative emissions" means the purification of the atmosphere from greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide.

In its report academics say it again well-known things at this moment in time mankind is not taking enough efforts to stop global warming. We even comes close to the trajectory, which will allow you to limit heating of the atmosphere 2 °C.

Worse yet, lately, scientists are discussing the theory that even the reduction of CO emissionsTwo will not be enough to stop the downward spiral warm up. Climatologists believe that we have put himself in a difficult position — there is little time left. And now to fit into the scope of 2 °C, will not only reduce emissions, but to actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, or the heating process of a planet will be irreversible.

It puts before mankind a difficult question: will we be able to develop and scale technology to remove COTwo from the atmosphere in a relatively short time until the warming irreversible? The report examines seven disposal methods COTwo from the atmosphere:

  • Reforestation
  • The rational treatment of soils to increase there carbon
  • Bio-energy with capture and storage of carbon (BECCS)
  • Advanced weathering (when silicates or carbonates dissolve in rainwater from the atmosphere is absorbed by COTwo)
  • Direct air capture and storage of carbon (DACCS)
  • Fertilization of the ocean (plankton and other plants capture COTwo from the atmosphere and convert it into organic matter)
  • The capture and storage of carbon (CCS)

For each of these technologies scientists publish an analysis of the realism and the Outlook. Unfortunately, the prognosis is not good.

To enter the path constraints of heating in the range of 2 °C, it is necessary by 2050 to annually remove from the atmosphere at least 11 billion tonnes of COTwo to compensate for emissions. Scientists believe that, in practice, such indicators will be difficult to achieve for various reasons. For example, reforestation in the required amount for binding carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will require you to plant new forests from 320 million to 970 million hectares, accounting for 20-60% of the arable land of human civilization. While forests take decades to grow, there is a risk of release of COTwo as a result of fires and other problems. Successful examples of recovery are: for example, China has invested more than $100 billion in forest restoration on the area of 434 000 km2. But these are isolated examples.

Experts believe that only some of these options may be scaled to remove from the atmosphere a maximum of 3-4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. But it is a theoretical possibility. In reality, none of these options are not promoted on a worldwide scale and is not developing sufficient pace. It would seem that the restoration of forests and carbon stocks in the soil seem to be the most simple options. But in fact humanity is currently doing the opposite: cutting down forests and contributes to the degradation of the soil. Because of this, carbon dioxide emissions will only increase, not decrease.

Scientists believe that to prevent further global warming will require not only to reduce CO emissionsTwo but to use the entire Arsenal of technologies that are available to mankind.

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Tags: climate

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