People, Environment

Reducing Stagnant CO2 Emissions Imperative

Reducing Stagnant CO2 Emissions ImperativeReducing Stagnant CO2 Emissions Imperative

Without a significant effort to reduce greenhouse gases, including an accelerated deployment of technologies for capturing atmospheric carbon and storing it underground, and sustained growth in renewables such as wind and solar, the world could miss a key global temperature target set by the Paris Agreement and the long-term goal of net-zero climate pollution.

The finding, published in the Jan. 30 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change, is part of a new study that aims to track the progress and compare emission pledges of more than 150 nations that signed the Paris Agreement, a 2015 United Nations convention that aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels, Science Daily reported

Fossil fuel emissions have been flat for three years in a row and now "we need actual reductions in global emissions and careful tracking of emission pledges and country-level statistics," said Robert Jackson, chair of the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

"The rapid deployment of wind and solar is starting to have an effect globally, and in key players such as China, the US and the European Union," said lead author Glen Peters, senior researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research. 

"The challenge is to substantially accelerate the new additions of wind and solar, and find solutions for effectively integrating these into existing electricity networks."

However, wind and solar alone will not be sufficient to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. When the researchers examined the drivers behind the recent slowdown, they found that most of them boiled down to economic factors and reduced coal use, mostly in China but also the United States.

Jackson notes that carbon capture and storage technology will prove even more crucial if US President Donald Trump follows through with his campaign pledge of resuscitating the nation's struggling coal industry.

"There's no way to reduce the carbon emissions associated with coal without carbon capture and storage," Jackson said.


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