THE HILL |BY S. JULIO FRIEDMANN, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 10/06/18
Spoiler alert: It ain’t pretty.
The Earth has already warmed more than 1 degree. Although there’s uncertainty when we’ll blow past 1.5 degrees, most scholars put the range at 3 to 8 years — before my kids graduate high school. The Mercator Climate Center in Germany believes we already blew past that milestone last month. A climate-stable world might be in the rear-view mirror.
While earnest advocates work to draw attention to this urgent challenge, one of our best options for addressing this threat has been curiously absent from the conversation: carbon management.
Carbon management goes right to the source to stop emissions, generally through carbon capture and storage (CCS), an innovative technology that scrubs CO2 emissions from industrial sources and injects them deep underground.
This technology has stirred concerns in some corners, but we’ve been doing it for decades at commercial scale. Increasingly, carbon management also includes the conversion of CO2 into useful products like cement, plastics, fuel, and carbon fiber. Recent advancements in the technology also include drawing CO2 from the air and oceans – what’s known as carbon harvesting or carbon removal.
The IPCC report is likely to argue that large-scale carbon management is required to achieve a stable climate, a sentiment reflected by other leading institutions such as the International Energy Agency, the World Economic Forum, MIT, Stanford, and Columbia University. These institutions argue that a lot of carbon management is needed now to achieve 2 degrees Celsius, and a whole lot will be needed to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius.