A article in the Guardian (13/11/20) interviewing Michael Mann (author of the ‘hockey stick study) cites a letter signed by many scientists and activists, including James Hansen, which states that carbon capture technology, derided by many climate activists, has to be part of the solution. The beauty of CF&D, of course is that carbon emitting industries would get their money back in saved tariffs so it becomes cost effective…..
Leading scientists, academics and campaigners have called on governments and businesses to go beyond “net zero” in their efforts to tackle the escalating climate and ecological crisis.
The former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the leading climate scientist Michael Mann are among a group of prominent environmentalists calling for the “restoration of the climate” by removing “huge amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere”.
Net zero targets have been a focus of governments, local authorities and campaigners in their attempts to address global heating. The authors of Friday’s letter, however, say that although stopping emissions is “a necessary prerequisite”, governments and businesses must be more ambitious and work to “restore the climate” to as safe a level as possible.
“The climate crisis is here now,” … “No matter how quickly we reach zero emissions, the terrible impacts of the climate crisis will not just go away … As such, no matter how quickly it is done, solely cutting emissions is not enough.”Hitting net zero is not enough – we must restore the climate.
The idea of removing emissions from the atmosphere – either directly from the air or by capturing it from power plants – has been a strongly debated subject among environmentalists and engineers for years.
Critics point out that it has proved difficult to replicate the technology at scale and that constructing the necessary machinery would itself be environmentally damaging.
Many fear that the idea of carbon capture is a “technological fix” used as an excuse by corporations which are opposed to the radical changes needed to move to a zero-carbon economy. However, there is a growing body of evidence that natural solutions – protecting and restoring natural forests and habitats and allowing native trees to repopulate deforested land – could help remove large amounts of carbon.
The letter, which is also signed by the Guardian columnist George Monbiot and several leading members of the global school climate strike movement, said their call for restoration was not about “promoting one specific removal technique, but supporting the basic aim of trying to restore the climate”.
The letter adds: “We urge activists to start including restoration in their campaigning. We urge governments and companies to start acting, not only to reach net zero as soon as possible, but to achieve restoration as well. And we urge every citizen to do what they can to make the dream of restoration a reality.”
Mann recently stated that it would be game over for the climate if Trump won again, luckily that scenario has been averted, though he has yet to concede… In an article in the Guardian (2/10/20) about the threat of Trump, Mann did, however, state that there is some good news which offers hope if we act now….
‘Our destiny is determined by our behavior’
Fortunately, there is encouraging news about climate science as well. It was long thought that Earth’s climate system carried a substantial lag effect, mainly because carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, trapping heat, for many decades after being emitted. Even if all CO2 emissions were halted overnight, global temperatures would keep rising and heatwaves, droughts, storms and other impacts would keep intensifying “for about 25 to 30 years”, Sir David King, the former chief science advisor to the British government, said in 2006.
Mann says research over the last decade has overturned this interpretation. Using new, more elaborate computer models equipped with an interactive carbon cycle, “what we now understand is that if you stop emitting carbon right now … the oceans start to take up carbon more rapidly,” Mann says. Such ocean storage of CO2 “mostly” offsets the warming effect of the CO2 that still remains in the atmosphere. Thus, the actual lag between halting CO2 emissions and halting temperature rise is not 25 to 30 years, he explains, but “more like three to five years”.
This is “a dramatic change in our understanding” of the climate system that gives humans “more agency”, says Mann. Rather than being locked into decades of inexorably rising temperatures, humans can turn down the heat almost immediately by slashing emissions promptly. “Our destiny is determined by our behavior,” says Mann, a fact he finds “empowering”.
This reprieve will not necessarily spare polar ice sheets or evade tipping points that cannot be recrossed, the scientist cautions, and Earth is already experiencing “much more extreme weather … than we expected 10 years ago”. Greenland and Arctic ice is already melting after the current temperature rise of 1C, or 2.7F, above pre-industrial levels, and it will continue melting even without further warming. The resulting possibility of “massive sea level rise” is one example of why Mann says that humanity is “walking out on to a minefield” of tipping points: “The more we warm the planet, the more of those unwelcome surprises we might encounter.