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The Impact of Carbon Removal Technologies

The following content is sponsored by AFRY

Carbon Removal Technologies

The Impact of Carbon Removal Technologies

According to climate scientists worldwide, global warming and the inevitable climate change can lead to severe catastrophic disasters. The only way to avoid this is to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global temperature rise must be limited to 1.5oC. To achieve this, current CO2 emissions must drop by 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

The following infographic by AFRY showcases how carbon removal technologies help facilitate the reduction of environmental CO2 emissions and the role companies play in helping achieve these goals.

How Carbon Offset Technologies Can Help

The most common way to reduce CO2 emissions is through carbon offset technologies, namely avoided emissions and carbon removal. Though they serve a similar purpose, these two methods are fundamentally different.

One metric ton of CO2 is reduced or avoided for every metric ton of CO2 emitted in avoided emissions. This still leads to a positive increase in emissions overall.

On the other hand, carbon removal technologies completely remove and store one metric ton of CO2 for every metric ton of CO2 emitted.

Carbon removal technologies have a distinct advantage over the avoided emissions. For this reason, they could be the future of CO2 emissions reduction. They are divided into short-term and long-term methods based on the CO2 emissions they can remove and store.

Short-term methods include soil carbon sequestration, reforestation, biochar, wooden buildings, and more. Direct Air Capture with Carbon Storage (DACCS), Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and enhanced weathering are considered long-term methods.

The Impact of DACCS vs BECCS

Carbon removal technologies are the best way forward to reduce CO2 emissions and limit global warming. DACCS and BECCS perform the best among these technologies and have the highest attractiveness.

Here’s why:

DescriptionA DACCS system removes CO2 from ambient air and stores it in geological storage mediums.A BECCS system captures CO2 from biomass and stores it in geological reservoirs.
AdvantageIt efficiently captures pre-released atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG).It efficiently produces energy from biomass before CO2 emission capture.
CO2 Removal (Gt/yr)~1.4~1.1
Removal Cost ($/t)250-400$100-150$
Storage Duration (years)~10,000~10,000

Despite being promising solutions, limitations exist for both. BECCS is associated with increased fertilizer use that further stresses nitrogen-saturated ecosystems, while DACCS is associated with high energy requirements.

Accountability Messaging for Corporations

Companies worldwide are aggressively trying to tackle their climate change targets and reach net-zero emissions. Carbon removal technologies are already rapidly being implemented in many parts of the world.

At the same time, companies shouldn’t be able to get away with making false claims either. There should be strict guidelines in place for companies, and they should be accountable for the claims they make.

The guidelines should include measures such as:

  • Focus on Rapid, Deep Emission Cuts: Rapid, deep cuts to value-chain emissions are the most effective and scientifically-sound way of limiting global temperature rise.
  • Near and Long-Term Targets: This means making rapid emissions cuts now, halving emissions by 2030 and producing close to zero emissions by 2050.
  • No Net-Zero Claims Until Targets Are Met: A company that has achieved its long-term science-based target of emission reductions of at least 90-95% by 2050 will be considered to have reached net-zero.
  • Go Beyond the Value Chain: There is an urgent need to scale up near-term climate finance. Companies should be making investments outside their science-based targets to help mitigate climate change elsewhere.

AFRY is a thought leadership firm that provides companies with advisory services and sustainable solutions, in their efforts to fight climate change and lead them towards a greater future.

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