Negative CO2 Emissions

by Kevin Kilty, January 24, 2020 in WUWT

An article in the January 2020 Issue of Physics Today (1) presents an interesting and very readable overview of methods to capture and store away CO2 emissions. The purpose of this guest blog is to summarize a few key points the paper makes, and add some commentary. WUWT has covered some of this same territory recently here and here.


Of course, the motivation for negative emissions technologies (NETs), or CO2 capture, is to bring atmospheric CO2 back to safe levels. Although the article fails to mention what safe means in this context, and what levels are unsafe, it alludes to melting polar ice and methane escaping from melting permafrost as consequences of unsafe climate. Nothing unusual here. Despite relegating its case for an unsafe future to such enterprises as the IPCC, the article does provide some insight into the cause of what seems to be the current “crisis” mentality. It is 1.5°C temperature rise goal of the 2015 Paris agreement. As readers of WUWT already know, this is not a 1.5°C increase from now, but rather from an estimated pre-industrial level — meaning that two-thirds of that margin is already gone and we have but 0.5°C left to work with. I suspect most people do not understand this subtle point.

Eventually the article makes a brief excursion into more phenomena by which climate change would become unsafe — forest fires, droughts, and sea level rise. All of this is also familiar to WUWT readers.

Technologies Involved