Negative Emissions Won’t Rescue Us From Climate Change

By Andy Stone in Forbes 

“,..despite the major political barriers to dramatic near-term emissions cuts, a terrifying realization is that such action is, in fact, the most realistic option available to hold climate change in check. Of the climate action pathways modeled by the IPCC, the scenario that requires boldest action in the near term is the only one that doesn’t also require a leap of faith that a suite of uneconomic, logistically challenging, and ultimately unproven negative emissions technologies will in fact deliver us from our collective peril.

The gulf between the promise of these technologies (a multitude of variations on carbon capture and storage) and their real ability to offset a future of high carbon emissions appears unbridgeable, if not in terms technological viability, then almost surely in terms of magnitude and scale.

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….none of this is to say negative emissions aren’t possible or a worthwhile pursuit. It’s just that they’re only going to be a partial solution to the climate problem, akin to an insurance policy whose payout is likely to prove woefully inadequate when disaster strikes. We place our bets on the promise of negative emissions, and the dangerous political complacency that such faith engenders, at our global peril.”

The entire piece has a very detailed examination of the physical realities of negative emissions- read it all here