The Climate Change Crisis Is Officially Here

The Climate Change Crisis Is Officially Here

David Goldberg

Security, Americas

Reducing pollution will help stave off climate change but avoiding the worst effects means taking CO2 out of the atmosphere at large scale.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in human history, and nine of the warmest years have occurred since 2005.

Even with the progress made in introducing alternatives to fossil fuels, gaining energy efficiencies and proposed carbon regulations around the world, avoiding catastrophic impacts on our coastal infrastructure, biodiversity, food, energy and water resources will require more. In particular, many climate researchers like myself believe government needs to advance technology that will actually suck carbon dioxide out of the air and put it away for very long periods.

There are several so-called negative emissions technologies that could remove carbon dioxide from the air, including those aimed at removing CO2 by enhancing natural forest and wetland uptake, using bio-energy in power production and scrubbing CO2 efficiently from air.

As diplomats and policymakers gather to discuss global agreements to reduce greenhouse gas, many believe that negative emissions technologies need to be part of the discussion for how nations will address climate change. But much as there is not a single solution to reducing emissions, no one technology will alone be sufficient to avert the worst effects of climate change.

Matter of scale

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