A new report advocates technologies for capturing CO2 in the atmosphere

Forests, water bodies, peat bogs, cars… CO2 elimination projects are currently insufficient to meet international climate goals that require massive and rapid development of innovative technologies, scientists conclude in their first global assessment on the subject.

This study published on Thursday, January 19 The state of carbon dioxide removal (State of the Art of Carbon Dioxide Capture) and conducted by the University of Oxford, considers means of capturing CO2 in the atmosphere for long-term storage. For example, through newer methods such as reforestation or direct capture of CO2 in the air.

Innovative technologies such as the Climeworks plant in Iceland, which extracts CO2 directly from the air, are currently extremely marginal. It can hardly remove in a year what mankind produces in a few seconds.

By 2050, the capacity has been increased to 1,300

But these new methods will have to evolve “quickly” Researchers consider staying in the clutches of the Paris agreement. According to the scenarios, by 2050 their capacity should be increased to 1300 or even more.

The authors conclude “the gap between the level of carbon removal planned by governments and what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement”it calls for limiting warming to well below 2°C and, if possible, to 1.5°C, when the world is already at 1.2°C.

These carbon capture (EDC) techniques focus on CO2 already emitted to the atmosphere and are therefore different from carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems at the source, such as factory stacks.

Two billion tons of CO2 are emitted annually

Today, EDC allows for the removal of 2 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year, almost exclusively due to forests (reforestation, management of existing forests, etc.), that is, part of the global emissions of about 40 billion tons per year.

The researchers insist that these methods should not be seen as a magic wand that negates emissions reductions. “Reducing emissions should always be a priority”– Emily Cox from Oxford University told journalists during the presentation.

“At the same time, we need to aggressively develop and scale up DVT, especially these innovative methods. We are only at the beginning with them and it will take time”Jan Minks of the Berlin-based Mercator Research Institute notes.

Long seen as marginal or a ploy by industry to avoid reducing their emissions, DVCs are now recognized as a necessary tool by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climate: half of the glaciers will disappear by the end of the century

Their models, for example, preserve an important part of bioenergy techniques with carbon capture and storage: trees that absorb CO2 as they grow, then burn them to produce energy and bury the resulting CO2. eg burning in abandoned mines.

Restoration of peat and wetlands

This particular technique, long advocated by the IPCC, is currently difficult to develop and is challenged by existing land shortages. This type of facility of the Drax company, which imports wood from Canada in Great Britain, was selected for its environmental record.

COP27, “historic” agreement and low-noise progress

Other EDC methods are in various stages of experimentation and development: improving the carbon sequestration capacity of soils, converting biomass into a coal-like substance called biochar, restoring peatlands and coastal wetlands, or crushing mineral-rich rocks to absorb CO2. spreading them on land or sea.

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