When all else fails, reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Dec 1, 2020 9:09 pm GMT
Wim Carton, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, published the chapter, Carbon unicorns and fossil futures. Whose emission reduction pathways is the IPCC performing? as part of the book Has it Come to This? The Promises and Perils of Geoengineering on the Brink, edited by Sapinski, Buck and Malm, in which he said, “If one is to believe recent IPCC reports, then gone are the days when the world could resolve the climate crisis merely by reducing emissions. Avoiding global warming in excess of 2°C/1.5°C now also involves a rather more interventionist enterprise: to remove vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere amounts that only increase the longer emissions refuse to fall. The basic problem with this idea is that the technologies supposed to deliver these “negative emissions” currently do not exist at any meaningful scale. Given the large uncertainties surrounding their feasibility, their expected effects on land use change, food security and biodiversity, and their scalability, it moreover seems improbable that they ever will. Indeed, there appears to be something of an unspoken consensus among scientists that the mitigation scenarios represented in the IPCC increasingly mirror science fiction-writing. The European Academies Science Advisory Council, for example, in a recent assessment concluded that negative emission technologies (NETs) have “limited realistic potential” to help mitigate climate change on the scale that many scenarios assume will be needed. One expert summarized the scepticism well when she recently characterized such technologies as “carbon unicorns” underscoring the widening gap between the level of mitigation that is needed, and the apparent infeasibility of the pathways that are supposed to take us there.”
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