REFILE-World may have to suck gases from air to meet climate goals-UN

Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:48am EST

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(Refiles to fix 2007 probability in paragraph 14)

* Draft report outlines solutions to climate change

* World doing too little to meeting temperature goal-UN

* Suggestions include burying emissions, planting more trees

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle

OSLO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Governments may have to extract vast amounts of greenhouse gases from the air by 2100 to achieve a target for limiting global warming, backed by trillion-dollar shifts towards clean energy, a draft U.N. report showed on Wednesday.

A 29-page summary for policymakers, seen by Reuters, says most scenarios show that rising world emissions will have to plunge by 40 to 70 percent between 2010 and 2050 to give a good chance of restricting warming to U.N. targets.

The report, outlining solutions to climate change, is due to be published in Germany in April after editing by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It will be the third in a series by the IPCC, updating science from 2007.

It says the world is doing too little to achieve a goal agreed in 2010 of limiting warming to below 2 degrees (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, seen as a threshold for dangerous floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.

To get on track, governments may have to turn ever more to technologies for "carbon dioxide removal" (CDR) from the air, ranging from capturing and burying emissions from coal-fired power plants to planting more forests that use carbon to grow.

Most projects for capturing carbon dioxide from power plants are experimental. Among big projects, Saskatchewan Power in Canada is overhauling its Boundary Dam power plant to capture a million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

And, if the world overshoots concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere consistent with the 2C goal, most scenarios for getting back on track "deploy CDR technologies to an extent that net global carbon dioxide emissions become negative" before 2100, it says.

Temperatures have already risen by 0.8C (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution.


To limit warming, the report estimates the world would have to invest an extra $147 billion a year in low-carbon energies, such as wind, solar or nuclear power from 2010 to 2029.

At the same time, investments in fossil fuel energy would have to be reduced by $30 billion annually. And several hundred billion dollars a year would have to go on energy efficiency in major sectors such as transport, buildings and industry.

By contrast, it said that global annual investments in the energy system are now about $1.2 trillion.

And it says there are huge opportunities for cleaning up, for instance by building cities that use less energy for a rising world population. "Most of the world's urban areas have yet to be constructed," it says.

Overall, the report estimates that the costs of combating global warming would reduce global consumption of goods and services by between 1 and 4 percent in 2030, 2-6 percent in 2050 and 2-12 percent in 2100, compared to no action.

The IPCC said in September that it is at least 95 percent probable that human activities, led by the burning of fossil fuels, are the dominant cause of global warming since the 1950s, up from 90 percent in a 2007 assessment.

The world has agreed to work out a global U.N. deal by the end of 2015, entering into force from 2020, to fight climate change. But progress has been sluggish.

"Global greenhouse gases have risen more rapidly between 2000 and 2010," the draft says, with greater reliance on coal than in previous decades. China, the United States and the European Union are the top emitters.

The IPCC cautioned that the findings in the draft, dated Dec. 17, were subject to change. "This is a work in progress which will be discussed and revised in April," said Jonathan Lynn, spokesman for the IPCC in Geneva.

The report adds many details to earlier drafts. The IPCC's credibility suffered in 2007 after one of its reports wrongly said that Himalayan glaciers could all melt by 2035, centuries earlier than experts reckon.

The draft says that only the most radical curbs outlined in an IPCC report in September would give a better than 66 percent chance of keeping temperature rises below 2C. The scenario corresponds to greenhouse gas concentrations of 430 to 480 parts per million in the atmosphere - up from about 400 now. (Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (8)
rvm3 wrote:
No mention of culling livestock? Livestock generate more greenhouse gasses than all transportation on earth. Any report that does not have the courage to discuss this is a joke.

Jan 15, 2014 1:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
WillHolder wrote:
Enough already – we haven’t seen any significant warming for 17 years. Obviously our CO2 emissions are not the primary driver of climate as we have been led to believe for the last quarter century.
Climate scientists are not unanimous about the reasons for the “pause”, evidence that we don’t know all the factors that impact on our climate and how much each is a factor. Some suggest reduced solar activity is responsible, others suggest volcanic activity over this period has been enough to stabilize temperatures. There are also studies that conclude soot from the burning of coal in China and India is the reason we stopped warming.
A number of climate “scientists” would have us believe the heat is hiding in the ocean – a convenient enhancement of the AGW hypothesis after it was clear the warming had ended. However, the climate crises wasn’t predicated on some imperceptable warming of the ocean, it was based on ever warmer surface and higher lower troposphere temperatures. This warming stopped in 1998. Moreover, we don’t have the historical records to confirm if any warming of the ocean is natural, temporary or uncommon.
When will a liberal media stop providing cover for the myriad inconsistencies and do some solid investigative journalism. Seriously – how many years do we have to go without warming before we recognize the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes?
It’s shocking that countless young adults will graduate high school this year believing the world is dangerously warming even though temperatures have been stable during the entirety of their lives. It is shocking these kids believe our co2 emissions are a threat to the environment and are largely ignorant of the fact that all environmental damage to date is the result of hunting, habitat encroachment and habitat destruction. A generation of resources and talent wasted on this folly.

Jan 15, 2014 2:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
GeraldWilhite wrote:
Sucking CO2 from the air? A ridiculous infantile idea. The person who came up with it doesn’t belong in climate science.

Planting trees is OK if it makes you feel good, but Mother Nature will take care of it through plant growth in the Ocean.

Please leave our cattle alone. We are omnivores who enjoy a nice steak once in a while.

Jan 16, 2014 1:58am EST  --  Report as abuse
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