What is it about?

Negative emissions technologies (NETs) are technologies that, directly or indirectly, result in the net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and are a potentially important tools for future carbon mitigation plans. Large-scale removal of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere could moderate climate change risks and impacts. However, initial assessments of these technologies have revealed a range of physical, technical, and socioeconomic barriers that must be overcome before commercial deployment is viable. This book chapter discusses the benefits and challenges of adopting and implementing various NETs and the evidence of their effectiveness, with a focus on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage and direct air capture. It also assesses the potential costs associated with each. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage uses a combination of different biomass (for example waste product from the agricultural industries) as a sustainable source of energy alongside the capture of emitted carbon dioxide to provide a carbon negative technology. However, questions remain about emissions from bioenergy and the economics of carbon capture. Direct air capture aims to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air which could reduce levels very quickly. However, it is still in the early stages of development, making it hard to work out the likely economic and environmental costs.

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Why is it important?

NETs could make a big difference in limiting the impact of global warming, but they need to be both economically and environmentally sustainable. Technologies in development will need financial incentives to encourage investment and drive down the costs. Assessments of the benefits, drawbacks and associated costs, such as those provided in this chapter, are essential to allow decision makers to choose which technologies to support. Failure to act may deprive the world of much-needed flexibility in carbon mitigation solutions / pathways and may lead to a future with more devastating climate change consequences or high costs for mitigating the damage that has already been done. KEY TAKEAWAY: The potential of NETs in achieving negative carbon emissions are currently uncertain. Comprehensive assessment, policymaking, and accountability could help these technologies achieve large-scale and time-bound practicality.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Carbon Capture and Storage, January 2019, Royal Society of Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/9781788012744.
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