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kassy

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Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« on: March 24, 2021, 01:44:33 PM »
Big Oil’s Net-Zero Plans Show the Hard Limits of Carbon Offsets

If you can’t pay the interest on your debts, an IOU isn’t going to be enough to save you from bankruptcy.

That’s the problem with the succession of net zero commitments emerging from companies and governments. The carbon emissions generated by our current industrial and agricultural systems are going to lead to a disaster far worse than insolvency without vigorous efforts to reduce them. If promises to offset them with carbon-absorbing activities are to be worth anything, they’re going to need to be more than aspirational words on paper.

Take Royal Dutch Shell Plc. It was the first oil major to make a commitment to cutting the emissions from its customers — known as “Scope 3 emissions” —  making it one of the most progressive oil companies on climate.

That was 2017.  Last month, Shell set out its latest plan to get to net zero. The big reveal left climate experts mostly unimpressed, in part because the company plans to increase its total fossil fuel output in the near term by boosting gas production, and the majority of its capital expenditure will continue to go towards oil and gas. To get to net zero while doing that, it plans to capture 120 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year via “nature-based” offsets by 2030.

Days after Shell’s announcement, Italian oil company Eni SpA updated its own net-zero strategy. A Greenpeace UK study of its earlier 2019 pledge to use forest conservation to offset its emissions said such a promise would have to account for as much as 6% of the world’s capacity to absorb carbon in forest land. Eni’s update increased its 2030 forestry offset target by a third, to 40 million tons of CO2 per year.

Plenty of other companies and governments have jumped on the bandwagon. A tracking project from American University lists dozens of large companies that, as of December 21, cited carbon dioxide-removal (CDR) in their pledges for climate neutrality. They include Apple Inc., Walmart Inc., British Airways Plc, and many of their peers. It’s not just companies. The European Union’s promise to cut emissions 55% by 2030 has been criticized for relying in part on land-based “carbon sinks” to soak up some of the pollution.

As more companies follow suit, the total volume of offsets they rely on will quickly exceed the ability of the planet to provide them. Without more concrete near-term actions, “net zero” risks becoming a fairytale providing cover for the heavy emitting industries, particularly those in the fossil fuel sector who have aggressively blocked climate action.

...

There’s work underway to impose more rigor on the flurry of aspirational pledges. The Science-Based Targets initiative, the closest thing to an arbiter of emissions reductions plans for companies, is aiming to release guidance on net zero ahead of the COP26 climate conference in November. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which has been developing standards for measuring and managing emissions since 1998, plans to publish final guidance on negative emissions by next October.

One popular proposal suggests having each net-zero pledge break out how much will come from actually reducing emissions, versus the portion of emissions the company or government assumes it will offset.

That would be welcome, but also doesn’t necessarily give enough useful information on ambition, as Stephen Smith, executive director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative, argued in a recent comment in Nature Communications Earth & Environment. What would be more helpful, he writes, is information on three things: how CDR will be achieved, how emissions will be kept permanently out of the atmosphere, and near-term targets.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/big-oil-s-net-zero-plans-show-the-hard-limits-of-carbon-offsets-1.1570273

So exhibit A since it is everyone´s favorite solution we are already running out of budget (and also all the trees we plant now will be 10 by then so that is a smallish gain).
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2021, 01:50:13 PM »
The question of whether carbon offsets actually help in the transition to a net zero economy is a thorny one for many companies. The recent Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, set up by Mark Carney, says there is a role for carbon offsets (see our recent interview with Alex Hanafi of the Environmental Defense Fund).

But many researchers insist that offsets don’t actually reduce carbon emissions and could make it harder to achieve a fully decarbonized economy. Kate Dooley is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne who studies the impact of carbon accounting, including offsets.

DOOLEY: My work looks at whether or not offsets in carbon trading are actually doing anything to mitigate climate change, because if these aren’t helping us to reduce emissions, then we’re just moving deck chairs on the Titanic.

For various reasons, carbon offsets tend to primarily focus on forest offsets, forest and land. And that’s where the real problem is, because continuing to dig up and burn fossil fuels and emitting fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere, and then removing these by growing forests doesn’t actually reduce atmospheric emissions or atmospheric concentrations over a century-long time scale.

The Fast and the Slow Carbon Cycle
Half of what we emit gets taken up by natural systems — the land and ocean carbon sinks. But these are known as the “fast” carbon cycle, as carbon cycles continuously between the atmosphere, ocean and land. When we take up extra carbon through the planting of trees, it stays in the fast carbon cycle, cycling back into the atmosphere. But it doesn’t return to geological storage on time scales relevant to humans — the process of carbon moving from the fast carbon cycle to the effectively permanent geological (fossil fuel) reserves doesn’t happen in anything less than a millennia.

So what we’re doing when we burn fossil fuels is adding emissions to the carbon cycle in aggregate. Then, when we pull carbon into trees, it’s still in the carbon cycle and has not been fully eliminated.

BRINK: Can you explain what is meant by the carbon cycle — why is it that this lasts only a relatively short time?

DOOLEY: The simple answer is that trees (like all living things) die and their carbon is returned to the atmosphere. It’s not really as simple as that, because forests can live for centuries, but it’s a much shorter time than carbon needs to be stored if it is to properly compensate for the release of fossil emissions, the majority of which stay in the atmosphere for over 1,000 years.

The Problem of Permanence
This is referred to as permanence, which is a time scale issue: When we plant more trees, we can’t guarantee that we’ve taken this carbon up for 1,000 years. The carbon cycle of trees is cycling on years and decades, whereas geological reservoirs are essentially permanent.

Additionally, burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide emissions immediately; growing trees to remove these emissions takes many decades, during which time carbon dioxide continues to accumulate in the atmosphere, causing warming.

BRINK: Given what you have just laid out, can you conceive of a carbon offset that would actually reduce the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere?

DOOLEY: Carbon offsetting is not really designed to reduce the net amount of emissions in the atmosphere — it’s designed to not increase the amount of emissions in the atmosphere. Offsetting essentially means for every ton we remove, we emit a ton somewhere else.

...

https://www.brinknews.com/carbon-offsets-do-not-reduce-carbon-emissions-only-delay-them/

Exhibit B: It actually does not help that much.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2021, 01:56:16 PM »
So of course the actual reductions we need is reducing actual emissions, not BS pledges.

Any carbon reduction proposal by companies using offsets should also set out a reduction towards zero overall compliant with the Paris goals.
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2021, 10:33:21 PM »
Thanks Kassy, The permanence issue of forest carbon offsets has always bothered me. I think of carbon in the carbonate sink as permanence when it settles on the continental shelf and fast cycle carbon when it dissolves below the saturation horizon. The forest carbon cycle is much faster than dissolved CO2 in the deep oceans and that doesn’t seem like a good place to put it because a thousand years doesn’t seem long enough to me either. 
 
 

interstitial

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2021, 11:18:22 PM »
I assumed emission calculations assumed we kept the forests we have not that we removed them all. It seems like double counting to me.

gerontocrat

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2021, 11:41:02 PM »
So of course the actual reductions we need is reducing actual emissions, not BS pledges.

Offsets, vague pledges, blah blah, meanwhile the big banks' support to fossil fuel companies, if anything, accelerates.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/24/big-banks-trillion-dollar-finance-for-fossil-fuels-shocking-says-report
Coal, oil and gas firms have received $3.8tn in finance since the Paris climate deal in 2015
Quote
The world’s biggest 60 banks have provided $3.8tn of financing for fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal in 2015, according to a report by a coalition of NGOs.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic cutting energy use, overall funding remains on an upward trend and the finance provided in 2020 was higher than in 2016 or 2017, a fact the report’s authors and others described as “shocking”.

Oil, gas and coal will need to be burned for some years to come. But it has been known since at least 2015 that a significant proportion of existing reserves must remain in the ground if global heating is to remain below 2C, the main Paris target. Financing for new reserves is therefore the “exact opposite” of what is required to tackle the climate crisis, the report’s authors said.

US and Canadian banks make up 13 of the 60 banks analysed, but account for almost half of global fossil fuel financing over the last five years, the report found. JPMorgan Chase provided more finance than any other bank. UK bank Barclays provided the most fossil fuel financing among all European banks and French bank BNP Paribas was the biggest in the EU.

Overall financing dipped by 9% in pandemic-hit 2020, but funding for the 100 fossil fuel companies with the biggest expansion plans actually rose by 10%. Citi was the biggest financier of these 100 companies in 2020.

A commitment to be net zero by 2050 has been made by 17 of the 60 banks, but the report describes the pledges as “dangerously weak, half-baked, or vague”, arguing that action is needed today. Some banks have policies that block finance for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, but almost two-thirds of funding is for oil and gas companies.

The last 2 images are from the IEA. as is this quote..

Quote
Clean energy investment has been relatively resilient in the downturn, but a flat trend of spending since 2015 is far from enough to bring a lasting reduction in emissions
[/size]

click images to enlarge
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KiwiGriff

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2021, 07:09:40 AM »
Well worth a watch.

Rethinking Energy — The Great Stranding: How Inaccurate Mainstream LCOE Estimates are Creating a Trillion-Dollar Bubble in Conventional Energy Assets.



I know it does not quite fit here.
But am not sure where to place it to get the most attention from those who should be thinking about this .

Animals can be driven crazy by placing too many in too small a pen. Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself.
Notebooks of Lazarus Long.
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Iain

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2021, 10:56:15 AM »
Lesson to be learned here, beware of arguments which start with an unfair comparison then witter on for 18 mins with non applicable comparisons and analogies, hoping you didn’t spot the unfair comparison.

Did you spot it?

Dispatchable vs Renewable + 4 hours of storage

If it was dispatchable vs Renewable + whole winter season of storage in batteries it would be totally different.

See the Hydrogen Economy thread – discussion around repurposing the existing gas grid and depleted gas fields for long term storage of H2
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2021, 04:24:12 PM »
The problem is simple:

1) We emit way too much carbon.
2) To get that to zero we should limit the production of that ensure our increase is zero then decrease it ASAP.
3) All the trees we plant as offsets only displace the problem a bit in time as long as our overall emissions do not decrease.

PS: last two posts seem off topic (not about offsets) so pursue on another thread.
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Iain

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2021, 05:44:36 PM »
Given non dispatchable renewables (except Hydro, though there will not be enough of it) and variable demand, heavily skewed to winter use, closer to a need in the case of space heating,  to get to net zero involves transition from FFs to renewables, which requires a mix of:

Overcapacity of renewables – wind, PV

Offsets which work long term – build with wood, not concrete. The nearly-all-wood, five story Horyu-ji temple in Ikaruga, Japan is 1414 years old

Very Large scale seasonal storage, that’s where H2 storage is relevant to net zero

NB Production and emission are different – e.g. stripping produced methane for it’s hydrogen and storing the CO2 has no CO2 emissions
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

Iain

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2021, 11:02:56 PM »

ref #1
"trees (like all living things) die and their carbon is returned to the atmosphere"

Not true of the vast majority of trees in the UK which are used for construction (OK, some for paper, but that's on the decline)

It's a carbon sequestration programme with houses as a byproduct which has been running for 100 years+

https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/statistics-by-topic/timber-statistics/uk-wood-production-and-trade-provisional-figures/
NB "Green" means newly cut living timber in teh ref.

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gerontocrat

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2021, 11:34:00 PM »

ref #1
"trees (like all living things) die and their carbon is returned to the atmosphere"

Carbon in the soil is, I understand 3 times the amount of carbon in living plants.

In forests, trees die and the carbon goes into the ground. New farming techniques based on natural processes seek to increase the carbon content of the soil.

In the tundra of parts of Siberia are carbon rich deposits of organic matter built up over many thousands of years of plant growth in several inter-glacial periods.

In Africa. e.g. the Congo are forests on top of immensely thick peat from dead plant life.

Every lump of coal is the remains of plant life buried for up to several hundred million years

I don't understand the quote.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2021, 06:03:32 PM »
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-trees-world-offset-society-carbon.html

...

Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, transforming it into leaves, wood and roots. This everyday miracle has spurred hopes that plants—particularly fast growing tropical trees—can act as a natural brake on climate change, capturing much of the CO2 emitted by fossil fuel burning. Across the world, governments, companies and conservation charities have pledged to conserve or plant massive numbers of trees.

But the fact is that there aren't enough trees to offset society's carbon emissions—and there never will be. I recently conducted a review of the available scientific literature to assess how much carbon forests could feasibly absorb. If we absolutely maximized the amount of vegetation all land on Earth could hold, we'd sequester enough carbon to offset about ten years of greenhouse gas emissions at current rates. After that, there could be no further increase in carbon capture.

https://phys.org/news/2021-04-trees-world-offset-society-carbon.html

Article is long and detailed but this is the crux. We cannot compensate our stupidity with trees.

To go net zero you stop emitting.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2021, 03:28:30 PM »
Permanence of Nature-Based Climate Solutions at Risk

Conserving native ecosystems helps sequester carbon and mitigate climate change, but new statistical modeling questions the permanence of California’s carbon-rich forests with climate change.

...

Mitigating climate change will require both reduced emissions and increasing carbon sinks. Nature-based Climate Solutions (NCS) refers to efforts to conserve ecosystems that could serve as effective carbon sinks to help mitigate climate change. But what if projected climate change renders these same ecosystems vulnerable to loss of carbon storage rather than gain?

Coffield et al. [2021] use several complementary statistical approaches to evaluate the projected permanence of carbon stored in forests and other wildlands of California. They project that several proposed areas for ambitious expansion of NCS may not be able to support carbon-rich forests at the end of this century.

In a companion Viewpoint piece, Anderegg [2021] explains the need to understand these risks when promoting NCS. He argues that NCS still has good potential, but it must be paired with significant emissions reductions to be a viable contributor to overall climate mitigation.

https://eos.org/editor-highlights/permanence-of-nature-based-climate-solutions-at-risk
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2021, 01:45:08 PM »
Why I refuse to collude with polluters in the carbon offsetting lie

By Yeb Saño

And so it’s come to this. The inspiring mobilisation of Gen Z, the ever more urgent warnings from scientists, and the heartbreaking impacts of a world living in a changed climate have made straight out climate denial untenable. But we’re a long way still from climate justice.

Big polluters that have continuously failed to stop their business models pumping out carbon or driving deforestation are now hoping they can simply throw money at the problem to make it go away.

That ‘away’ they’re relying on – through a reliance on carbon offsetting to deliver their net zero claims – is the Global South. It’s the forests whose indigenous stewards are already fighting deadly battles to defend their rights. It’s the lands of communities who are already on the frontline of devastating climate impacts. It’s the ecosystems that need enforceable protections through laws won at home – not an accounting trick in a corporate spreadsheet.   

No matter how much Shell’s net zero scenarios count on the creation of ‘Brazil-sized forests’, the Global South is not a blank space for polluters to fill with trees that serve their interests, rather than the species, nourishment and self-determination of the local area. Offsetting has a long history of not actually reducing overall levels of carbon, while exacerbating problems over land rights, food security and biodiversity across the majority of the world – in countries that have the least responsibility for driving the climate crisis.

These injustices are magnified and deepened by its central flaw: offsetting allows big polluters to delay and distract from reducing their own emissions. The most significant win at the heart of the Paris Agreement – fought for by movements across the global south and developing country negotiators at the UN – was making the goal to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C a collective shared mission. But as thousands of companies announce net zero plans, far too many are failing to grasp the true transformation required to align with this crucial path. 

If major companies can’t make themselves compatible with staying below 1.5C, their business models have no future. Yet oil companies, airlines and food giants are not just hoping no one calls them out for this ruse – they’re launching schemes like the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets to force through a “consensus on legitimacy of offsetting”. They’re courting CEOs and politicians to entrench this false solution in the run-up to the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, UK, where negotiations will focus on options for trading emissions. Most cynically and shamelessly, this week the Taskforce pitched offsetting as a win for the Global South. 

We have seen this kind of spiel before. The lie that coal is necessary to alleviate poverty. The falsehood that fossil fuels provide accessible energy. It is greenwashing at its most patronising and dangerous. 

This Taskforce talks of an offsetting market worth $100bn. That figure has a hollow echo in the broken promises made by rich nations to provide $100bn each year to support climate action across the Global South. Buying up our forests, our lands, our nature to greenwash their business as usual is no substitute for climate finance to empower and enable economic transformation. 

Offsetting is based on exploiting natural carbon sinks of the Global South to justify continued pollution. Voluntary carbon market proponents are now trying to exploit the needs of Global South governments for financial flows to protect nature and transition to 1.5C-compatible economies, by serving up these false solutions as the only thing on offer. Something that people like me should gratefully accept and collude with.

I refuse and I resist. We need justice from these polluting companies – not passing the buck because they can’t be bothered to reduce their own emissions. Just as climate justice litigation closes in to sue the polluters most responsible for the climate crisis, they’ve managed to evolve a new trick to screw us all.

Demanding any less than emissions reductions to keep global temperatures under 1.5C is non-negotiable. This murky business is not climate action. Don’t fall for it.

Yeb Saño is director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia and a former climate negotiator for the Philippines.

https://www.climatechangenews.com/2021/09/23/i-refuse-collude-polluters-carbon-offsetting-lie/
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NeilT

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2021, 07:00:27 PM »
It all sounds very good now.  But in the 1980's and early 90's Greenpeace had no interest in CO2 emissions or global consumption of fossil fuels.

The only word you could get out of Greenpeace in those days was "Recycle"!

Now they want to focus on CO2. Whilst removing Nuclear power I might add.

The irony is stark.
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NeilT

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2021, 08:53:03 PM »
The UK has published it's Net Zero strategy document.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1026655/net-zero-strategy.pdf

One of the things which struck me was the wording on page 190.

It would appear to me that the UK is intending to encourage local biomass and then burn the biomass in a CCS setting.  Essentially sucking the carbon out of the atmosphere with the trees then burning it for energy and locking the carbon in permanent storage.

The feasibility is open to doubt right now with CCS technologies being in their infancy.

But the idea is, at the very least, interesting.  Far from producing zero emissions power, it appears to be promoting negative emissions power.

I will continue watching to see how this turns out.  Because you can plant a forest and that forest will suck up CO2 for some time.  However it will eventually start returning carbon back to the carbon cycle.  By taking it away and removing the carbon through burning it for power, then sequestrating that carbon in permanent sinks, it increases the long term retention of the carbon removed from the atmosphere.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2021, 05:44:19 PM »
Missing forests are messing with climate targets

Countries are using forests to pad their climate commitments. New satellite images might call their bluff

In late 2018, the Vietnamese government submitted a document it thought would be worth $51.5 million. The country was expecting to be paid through a UN-backed scheme called REDD+ that pays countries if they reduce emissions by keeping forests standing. By the reckoning of the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country had done pretty well: it calculated that forest cover in Vietnam had increased over the previous 25 years, from 28 per cent in 1990 to about 41 per cent in 2015.

There was just one problem: satellite data told a very different story. Keiko Nomura, who at the time was getting her PhD in geosciences from the University of Edinburgh, compared the deforestation rates submitted by seven countries to satellite-based observations of tree cover change. Nomura, who had previously worked as a program officer for the UN Environment Program on several REDD+ projects in South-East Asia wanted to assess whether the interventions countries were planning would actually target those areas with the highest rates of deforestation. To her surprise she found that, contrary to what the country had claimed, deforestation of natural forests in Vietnam had actually increased over the time period, a trend other satellite-based studies have also noted.

This wasn’t the first time researchers had noted discrepancies between country deforestation estimates and satellite images. A few years earlier, Do-Hyung Kim, then a PhD student at the University of Maryland, was attempting to verify a claim made by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that deforestation in the tropics had reduced by 25 per cent between the 1990s and the 2000s, based in large part on estimates countries had provided to the FAO. Kim analysed 5,444 satellite images, comparing past and present forest cover. His study completely contradicted the FAO’s report. Instead of a decrease, he found there had been a 62 per cent acceleration in net deforestation over the same time period.

These studies hint at a crucial and contentious problem in climate policy: uncertainties in how we define and monitor forest cover and emissions could jeopardise global climate change commitments. But forests are a key component of the Paris Agreement. According to a 2017 estimate, a quarter of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that countries have pledged will come largely from forests; either BY increasing their carbon sucking potential, or decreasing the rate at which they are being destroyed.

 

Now scientists have a new and powerful tool at their disposal. Rapid advancements in space-borne technologies, high resolution imagining, as well as enhanced computing power has ushered in what some have called the “golden age” of forest monitoring, giving scientists unprecedented information about how much carbon is actually stored and released by forests. Experts say it is the first step in creating a global standard for calculating forest carbon and emissions, but it could also highlight large discrepancies between the amount of carbon countries say is locked up in their forests and what is actually there.

...

The real test will come to a head as early as this year when countries come together to start defining the rules about how they will measure their collective progress towards achieving the Paris agreement’s climate goals, known as the “global stocktake.” Under the Paris Agreement, every five years the parties conduct a massive bookkeeping exercise to look at what countries said they would do and what has actually been done. The first one, set to start next year and conclude in 2023, will be one of the most important benchmarks against which countries decide when and how much to ramp up their climate commitments.

...

According to published study by Grassi and his colleagues, there’s a 5.5 billion ton difference – roughly the annual emissions of the United States – between what largely independent, satellite-based global models are telling us about what forests are emitting and what country-level greenhouse gas inventories are telling us. In large part, it’s because satellites differentiate between natural causes of forest emissions and human-causes, and countries don’t. The difference can be alleviated if satellite models essentially reduce the complexity of their assessments, but “in the absence of these adjustments," the study states, “collective progress would appear to be more on-track than it actually is.

much more:
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/forest-counting-climate-change
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2021, 11:17:18 PM »
We can’t let markets decide the future of removing carbon from the atmosphere


Net zero emission pledges by countries and companies are everywhere at the moment. Most of these pledges rely on massive amounts of carbon removal, yet details on how this will transpire remain largely absent. The COP26 agreement suggests that markets will play a central role, but there are significant problems with this approach.

Carbon removal, also known as “negative emissions”, is the process of removing large amounts of CO₂ from the atmosphere. The most popular version involves planting trees, but there are other methods as well. These include combining bioenergy power plants with carbon capture and storage, or a technology called direct air capture. Both of these currently only exist at tiny scales.

Many activists and scientists consider large-scale carbon removal an unachievable pipedream and a major distraction from near-term emission reductions. Others maintain that the window for achieving ambitious climate targets through emissions cuts alone has closed and that it would be irresponsible or even unjust to write off carbon removal completely.

Irrespective of where you stand in this debate, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: we cannot leave it to markets to decide whether and how to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Yet that is exactly what is happening. With everyone from European oil majors to big tech eyeing up investments, the carbon removal agenda is rapidly becoming a function of market demand.

...


The new market mechanism that countries agreed to at COP26 promises to amplify this trend. Proponents hope it will bring about a veritable boom in carbon offsets, where removals will likely play an increasing role. While it wouldn’t be the first time such high hopes end up deflated, many corporations clearly see the prospect of (cheap) removal credits as an appealing alternative to direct emission cuts.

In light of the corporate-friendly, market-based regime that has dominated climate politics for decades, it is hardly a surprise that carbon removal governance is moving in this direction. But this approach closes down a conversation on some crucial questions: if large-scale carbon removal is to be used, then what and whose emissions should it compensate for, and how should those decisions be made?

Whose emissions are “unavoidable”?
In scientific models, one of the main features of carbon removal is its ability to “cancel out” continued greenhouse gas emissions, creating a climate-neutral balance between emissions and removals (hence the “net” in net zero). This allows some carbon-intensive activities to continue while still meeting climate goals.

This balancing act is necessary, the argument goes, because some emissions are particularly hard (or uneconomical) to eliminate, at least over the coming decades. Commonly mentioned examples are emissions from steel and cement production, agriculture, shipping, and aviation. While this might sound reasonable, there are no binding rules or criteria for deciding which emissions belong in this “hard-to-abate” or “residual” category. Despite efforts by NGOs and private actors to define voluntary standards it is, in effect, countries and companies themselves that currently get to define what emissions are hard-to-abate, hence how much removal they will need to rely on.

This obviously creates opportunities for greenwashing – and corporate net zero pledges already offer countless examples in this direction. But there is an additional concern: the demand from corporations seeking compensation for what they consider “necessary” emissions risks overshooting the realistic maximum amount of carbon removal, and takes away opportunities from those with a more legitimate need for continued emissions in the near-term.

It is important to remember that realistic carbon removal capacity is limited. The more removals that countries and companies rely on, the more energy, land and resources they will require. To minimise undesirable outcomes for people and ecosystems, it is crucial to limit the need for carbon removal.

and more:
https://theconversation.com/we-cant-let-markets-decide-the-future-of-removing-carbon-from-the-atmosphere-171379

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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2022, 03:45:19 PM »
Climate change: Cold callers shock farmers with tree-plant plea

Farmers are being "cold called" by agents working for investors who want to buy farmland to plant trees that would offset their carbon footprint.

Farming unions claim "powerful players are seeking to offset emissions" at the expense of rural communities in what one politician called a "land grab."

Land agent Savills said it has made "direct approaches" to farmers in Wales on behalf of clients.

One of those approached said they feared farmers were an "easy take".

Kyra Somerfield said she was "annoyed" and "shocked" by the unsolicited call from Savills to ask if she was interested in selling the 220-acre family farm in Carmarthenshire where she has lived and worked for 60 years.

...

But farming unions say people and companies should reduce their own carbon emissions rather than "offset our way to net zero".

...

"They're willing to pay more than the land's worth, just so that they can get the land, which leaves the farmers with no option really.

"Everyone's struggling and wanting more money so if somebody comes along and says we'll take your issues away and here's some money, most people would do it."

...

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-60125398
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2022, 03:31:56 PM »
Carbon-offsetting company change plans for tree planting at Welsh farm after 17,000 sign petition

A company from London which had bought a farm with the intention of planting trees in mid-Wales has indicated that they will modify their plans after a petition was set up by residents.

...

Following a meeting with residents in Pumpsaint last night however, campaigners said that they had been told that the plans would be changed as a result of the local response.

Over 17,000 people had signed a petition opposing the plans and expressing concerns about the proposed planting of trees on the agricultural land at Frongoch.

The petition was set up by Rhiannon Lewis who lives in the area and described Cwrt-y-cadno as “an ancient area of exceptional beauty” which is “under threat of being irreversibly destroyed”.

...

“We are asking Foresight to leave the agricultural fields for continued farming and to plant deciduous broadleaf tree species native to the British Isles in keeping with the natural landscape.”

She added that Foresight’s original plan would have “planted commercial, non-native conifers over most of the existing fields and hillside, selling off carbon credits to their financial investors for profit”.

“Such a proposed plantation would destroy productive agricultural land, both on the valley floor and on the hilltop, which has been sustainably sheep farmed for generations.”

...

https://nation.cymru/news/carbon-offsetting-company-change-plans-for-tree-planting-at-welsh-farm-after-17000-sign-petition/

This should all be so much more coordinated so we can built an actual resilient ecosystem.

Also skeptical about the market. What would happen if it burns down? Do the original credits get reset? We rely way too much on the market solving things while it is an unregulated mess.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2022, 09:26:40 AM »
Climate change: Top companies exaggerating their progress - study


Many of the world's biggest companies are failing to meet their own targets on tackling climate change, according to a study of 25 corporations.

They also routinely exaggerate or misreport their progress, the New Climate Institute report says.

Google, Amazon, Ikea, Apple and Nestle are among those failing to change quickly enough, the study alleges.

...

The firms analysed account for 5% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, the report says - which means although they have a huge carbon footprint, they have enormous potential to lead in the effort to limit climate change.

"The rapid acceleration of corporate climate pledges, combined with the fragmentation of approaches, means that it is more difficult than ever to distinguish between real climate leadership and unsubstantiated," the study says.

Study author Thomas Day told BBC News his team originally wanted to discover good practices in the corporate world, but they were "frankly surprised and disappointed at the overall integrity of the companies' claims".

...

The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor was conducted by non-profit organisations New Climate Institute and Carbon Market Watch.

It looked at firms' publicly stated strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in order to reach net zero.

Net zero, a target scientists say the world must reach by 2050 to limit global temperature rises, means not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Achieving it means reducing emissions as much as possible, as well as balancing out any that remain by removing an equivalent amount.

Companies set their own targets. For example, Google promises to be carbon-free by 2030, while Ikea pledges to be "climate-positive" by 2030.

Emissions are created by anything from transporting goods, to energy used in factories or shops. The carbon footprint of growing crops or cutting down trees also counts.

The study gave each firm an "integrity" rating. It found that some were doing relatively well in reducing emissions but that all corporations could improve. None was given a rating of "high integrity".

It assessed factors like annually disclosing emissions; giving a breakdown of emission sources; and disclosing information in an understandable way.

It concluded that overall, the strategies in place - if implemented - would reduce emissions by 40% at most, not the 100% implied in the term "net zero".

Just three of the 25 companies are clearly committed to removing 90% of carbon emissions from their production and supply chains, it says. Those are Maersk, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom.

... and more on:
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60248830

And some background missing in the BBC article:

Science Based Targets initiative accused of providing a “platform for greenwashing”

Nestlé, Ikea and Unilever are among brands the New Climate Institute found did not live up to the 1.5C-compatible label they’d been awarded

The Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has been slammed as a “platform for greenwashing”, in a critical analysis published today.

The New Climate Institute examined the climate plans of 18 multinational corporations which SBTi had rubber-stamped as compatible with 1.5C or 2C of global warming.

“For at least 11 of those we find that their targets are highly contentious, due to subtle technicalities,” the report’s authors said.

Nestlé, Ikea and Unilever are among the brands with climate plans SBTi judged to meet the strongest 1.5C standard, but which NCI found to have “very low integrity”.

SBTi is the most prominent standard-setter for corporate climate targets globally, having endorsed more than a thousand as in line with international climate goals.

But NCI said it had a conflict of interest, as it is funded by the same companies whose plans it validates, charging them up to $14,500.  It also questioned whether SBTi had sufficient resources to find hidden flaws in corporate plans.

“Standard-setting initiatives should focus on the development of guidelines and standards, rather than pursuing the mass evaluation of individual companies with insufficient resources and conflicting incentives,” the report said. “This can otherwise lead to a platform for greenwashing; multiple examples are included in this report.”

and much more:
https://www.climatechangenews.com/2022/02/06/science-based-targets-initiative-accused-providing-platform-greenwashing/
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NeilT

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2022, 12:21:02 PM »
5%?

Personal transport racks up about 30%.  Now BMW says they can make a "much" more efficient ICE.  If this is true and doesn't require a new breakthrough technology, they and their competitors, are culpable of the most incredible damage to the CO2 balance.

All because profits were more important.

If the vehicle manufacturers had stepped up the CO2 footprint of Amazon and others would be a lot lower.

These reports are always very myopic and have a political agenda.  These companies make vast sums of money and apply extremely aggressive tax avoidance.

Soft targets for regulators looking to report progress on climate change without really upsetting the apple cart.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2022, 10:10:56 PM »
Maybe personal transport is good for 30% but that is not the product these companies are providing.

Their plans probably account for some change in their vehicle use but it is only a minor component compared to the streams running through the companies (every product needs a package etc).

We have plenty of threads on cars so if you want to argue for more stringent car rules do it on one of those.

If companies which are good for 5% of global GHG emissions claim to improve that is great but how much is true and how much is BS labelling? Most of that does not actually depends on personal transport because there are many other factors that go into the equations.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2022, 03:36:56 PM »
No silver-bullet solutions for saving used planet

With much of the planet already "used-up", the world has hard choices to make over how to use land in the most sustainable and effective way.

That's the take-home message from 50 leading experts on why land matters in tackling a host of existential challenges.

Vast areas of land are being earmarked for grand plans to fight climate change and nature loss.

Yet land is also needed for food production and alleviating poverty.

...

"We live on this used planet where all the land that's even considered unused or untouched is providing really important benefits to people," said Dr Ariane de Bremond of the University of Bern.

...

"There is very little land potentially available for expansion of agriculture, urbanisation, climate change mitigation, or biodiversity conservation land uses that is 'empty' or 'free' of trade-offs," they write.

Three-quarters of the planet's land that is not covered by ice has already been turned over to farming, building cities and mining, with the little land that is left - often of prime importance to local people - earmarked for ambitious plans to absorb carbon emissions or create space for nature.

Land is a limited resource and there are no silver bullets, no easy answers and lots of trade-offs, said Dr Casey Ryan of the University of Edinburgh.

"If you look in the news you see half of Earth being set aside for nature as an ambition from the nature conservationists, you see zero deforestation coming out of the last Cop (Conference of the Parties), the trillion trees agenda - all of those very well-meaning, but ultimately flawed huge ideas are really not supported by the science that we have in this paper," he said.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60295788
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2022, 09:37:40 AM »
Anne Salmond: The folly of carbon farming with pine trees

It's time for Labour and the Greens to rescue their climate consciences and stop plans to plant vast, environmentally risky pine forests as a way of offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions

Opinion: In New Zealand, we have a Labour-Green government at present. There are many smart, switched on people, both in the Government and in Parliament. For tackling Covid-19, we now have a cross-party consensus that largely follows scientific advice on how best to deal with the pandemic.

Why then, is it so different when it comes to dealing with climate change? It is difficult to imagine a less sustainable set of strategies than those that New Zealand took to COP-26 in Glasgow last November. These were short sighted and cynical, winning New Zealand a second ‘Climate Fossil’ award, for good reason.

Unfortunately, New Zealand’s ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ to COP-26 at home relies on covering our landscapes with short-lived, shallow rooting, highly flammable monocultures of pine trees. This kind of ‘off-setting’ is high risk, socially, ecologically and economically.

In a warming climate, ‘lock up and leave’ pine plantations are vulnerable to pest attack, wind throw and fire. If they go up in flames, New Zealand’s carbon debt will rise, not diminish. They create very few jobs, and displace sheep and beef farming, production forestry and their support services, putting rural communites at risk of collapse.

To make matters worse, New Zealand proposes to meet much of the rest of our carbon debt by paying international investors to establish carbon farms in other countries. Taxpayers will fork out billions of extra dollars to put rural communities and ecosystems in other countries at similar risk, while pretending we’re doing them a favour.

Worse still, this kind of ‘off-setting’ is unlikely to be internationally supported in the short to medium term. As a strategy for dealing with climate change, it’s regarded as a kind of ‘greenwashing,’ not unlike the fake international credits that New Zealand used to purchase in large quantities.

As the science on climate change and biodiversity converges, scientists and international policy-makers have recognised that it’s foolish to try and tackle climate change with monocultures, especially those at high risk in a warming planet. As a recent article in Nature indicates, scientists are demanding nature-based solutions to carbon sequestration, especially the restoration of natural forests.

As rising carbon prices drive up rural land prices in New Zealand, and investors in carbon farming out-compete other buyers, the option for restoring natural forests at home is being lost, even though this is by far the best long-term strategy for sequestering carbon.

Once our landscapes are planted in ‘lock up and leave’ plantations of pine trees, with their weeds and pests, it is uneconomic and impractical to shift to other kinds of land uses. As the lead author of the Nature article, Professor of Global Change Science, Simon Lewis (UCL Geography), notes, "There is a scandal here. To most people forest restoration means bringing back natural forests, but policy makers are calling vast monocultures 'forest restoration'. And worse, the advertised climate benefits are absent."

much more on:
https://www.newsroom.co.nz/environment/folly-of-carbon-farming-with-pine-trees

The last part is especially important. We must rebuild natural forests and fight against fake easy market solutions that make things worse.

Of course in many places these programs are also used as a landgrab taking ecosystems used by locals and then fencing them of while also planting the wrong trees (we have seen examples from India and Indonesia).
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NeilT

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2022, 03:07:17 PM »
Why then, is it so different when it comes to dealing with climate change? It is difficult to imagine a less sustainable set of strategies than those that New Zealand took to COP-26 in Glasgow last November. These were short sighted and cynical, winning New Zealand a second ‘Climate Fossil’ award, for good reason.

IMHO?

You cannot run from climate change,  you can't hide from climate change, you can't decide to keep on doing your fairly normal day to day life and wall yourself off from your impact on the climate or the impact  of the climate on you.

You have to do things.  Things which won't be seen as a real benefit for decades or even centuries. They cost money now but have a climate benefit maturity of half centuries.

People can see and touch covid, it has an immediate impact and we see people dying every day.  This energises the population and generates acceptance of limits and controls.

Climate change is none of these yet is far more damaging than covid could ever be. People have learned to deal with war, famine, floods, and all sorts of other natural disasters.

People have not learned to deal with the frog in a pot syndrome.  We're supposed to be smarter than the frog and not allow ourselves to be cooked slowly.  It appears that this is not universally the case.

When faced with a situation which has no clear answer with a direct and immediate result, politicians revert to being what they are.  Politicians.  Whose horizon is 2/3 of the way to the next election.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2022, 07:07:35 PM »
In heatwave conditions, Tasmania’s tall eucalypt forests no longer absorb carbon

Southern Tasmania’s tall eucalyptus forests are exceptionally good at taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it into wood.

For many years, we have believed these forests had a reasonable buffer of safety from climate change, due to the cool, moist environment.

Unfortunately, my research published today shows these forests are closer to the edge than we had hoped. I found during heatwaves, these forests switch from taking in carbon to pumping it back out.

...

It’s well established from forest sampling that moist, cool environments like southern Tasmania provide ideal growing conditions for tall eucalypt forests.

We had believed these types of forests would have a buffer against the worst effects of climate change to come, and perhaps even benefit from limited warming.

...

But this is no longer the case.

I monitored what happened to a messmate stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) forest during a three week heatwave in November 2017. Under these conditions, the forest became a net source of carbon dioxide, with each hectare releasing close to 10 tonnes of the greenhouse gas over that period.

A year earlier during more normal conditions, the forest was a net sink for carbon dioxide, taking in around 3.5 tonnes per hectare.

...

So what actually happened in the forest during the hot spell? Two crucial things.

The first was that the forest breathed out more carbon dioxide. This was expected, because living cells in all air-breathing lifeforms (yes, this includes trees) respire more as temperatures warm.

But the second was very unexpected. The forest’s ability to photosynthesise fell, meaning less solar energy was converted to sugars. This took place while the trees were transpiring (releasing water vapour) rapidly.

Until now, we’ve seen falls in photosynthesis output in heatwaves because the trees are trying to limit their water loss. They can do this by closing their pores on their leaves (stomata). When a tree closes its stomata, it makes it harder for carbon dioxide in air to enter the leaves and fuel the photosynthesis process.

By contrast, this heatwave saw trees releasing water and producing less food at the same time.

So what’s going on? In short, the temperatures were simply too hot for the forests in southern Tasmania. Every forest has an ideal temperature to get the best results from photosynthesis. We now know this temperature in Australia is linked to the historic climate of the local area.

That means the trees at Warra require lower temperatures to optimally feed themselves, compared to most other Australian forests.

During the 2017 heatwave, the temperatures soared well outside the forest’s comfort zone. In the hottest part of the day, the forest was no longer able to make enough food to feed itself.

Outside the forest’s comfort zone
For now, the forest at Warra is still intact. After the heatwave, the messmate stringybark forest quickly recovered its ability to feed itself, and became a carbon sink again.

But as the world warms, these forests will be pushed outside their comfort zones more and more. They can only endure so many of these kinds of heatwaves. If they keep coming, there will be a tipping point beyond which the forest can no longer recover.

What then? We can see a disturbing glimpse when we look at Tasmania’s oceans, which are a marine heatwave hotspot. Fully 95% of Tasmania’s giant kelp forests are now gone, killed off by temperatures beyond their ability to tolerate.

It is no exaggeration to say that the rapid increase in temperatures are the most serious threat to the health of tall eucalypt forests I’ve encountered during 40 years of studying forest health and threats in Tasmania.

...

https://theconversation.com/in-heatwave-conditions-tasmanias-tall-eucalypt-forests-no-longer-absorb-carbon-176979

Of course the eucalyptus is not the only which will show this behaviour...
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2022, 04:49:01 PM »
Net zero by 2050 will hit a major timing problem technology can’t solve. We need to talk about cutting consumption

Many climate activists, scientists, engineers and politicians are trying to reassure us the climate crisis can be solved rapidly without any changes to lifestyle, society or the economy.

To make the vast scale of change palatable, advocates suggest all we have to do is switch fossil fuels for renewable power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency technologies, add seaweed to livestock feed to cut methane and embrace green hydrogen for heavy industries such as steel-making.

There’s just one problem: time. We’re on a very tight timeline to halve emissions within eight years and hit net zero by 2050. While renewables are making major inroads, the world’s overall primary energy use keeps rising. That means renewables are chasing a retreating target.

My new research shows if the world’s energy consumption grows at the pre-COVID rate, technological change alone will not be enough to halve global CO₂ emissions by 2030. We will have to cut energy consumption 50-75% by 2050 while accelerating the renewable build. And that means lifestyle change driven by social policies.

The limitations of technological change

We must confront a hard fact: In the year 2000, fossil fuels supplied 80% of the world’s total primary energy consumption. In 2019, they provided 81%.

How is that possible, you ask, given the soaring growth rate of renewable electricity over that time period? Because world energy consumption has been growing rapidly, apart from a temporary pause in 2020. So far, most of the growth has been supplied by fossil fuels, especially for transportation and non-electrical heating. The 135% growth in renewable electricity over that time frame seems huge, but it started from a small base. That’s why it couldn’t catch fossil fuelled electricity’s smaller percentage increase from a large base.

...

Our to-do list for a liveable climate is simple: convert essentially all transportation and heating to electricity while switching all electricity production to renewables. But to complete this within three decades is not simple.

Even at much higher rates of renewable growth, we will not be able to replace all fossil fuels by 2050. This is not the fault of renewable energy. Other low-carbon energy sources like nuclear would take much longer to build, and leave us even further behind.

Do we have other tools we can use to buy time? CO₂ capture is getting a great deal of attention, but it seems unlikely to make a significant contribution. The scenarios I explored in my research assume removing CO₂ from the atmosphere by carbon capture and storage or direct air capture does not occur on a large scale, because these technologies are speculative, risky and very expensive.

The only scenarios in which we succeed in replacing fossil fuels in time require something quite different. We can keep global warming under 2℃ if we slash global energy consumption by 50% to 75% by 2050 as well as greatly accelerating the transition to 100% renewables.

Individual behaviour change is useful, but insufficient
Let’s be clear: individual behaviour change has some potential for mitigation, but it’s limited. The International Energy Agency recognises net zero by 2050 will require behavioural changes as well as technological changes. But the examples it gives are modest, such as washing clothes in cold water, drying them on clotheslines, and reducing speed limits on roads.

The 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate mitigation has taken a step further, acknowledging the importance of collectively reducing energy consumption with a chapter on “Demand, services and social aspects of mitigation”. To do this effectively, government policies are needed.

Rich people and rich countries are responsible for far and away the most greenhouse gas emissions. It follows that we have to reduce consumption in high-income countries while improving human well-being.

and more on:
https://theconversation.com/net-zero-by-2050-will-hit-a-major-timing-problem-technology-cant-solve-we-need-to-talk-about-cutting-consumption-181951
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2022, 05:53:49 PM »
Kassy, It is my opinion that we need to ration all energy. Every human should be allowed a fixed amount of energy for their whole lifespan. That we are all created equal.
The energy you get as a human is tied to the food calories you use as a human. Say you are allotted 100 units of energy. Everyone gets food calories equal to all other humans for the first 50 units of energy of your personal energy quota but as you use more and more energy your share of food calories are reduced. The loss of food calories is exponential so as you approach 100% of your lifetime energy quota you receive no food calories.
 So a frugal human who can keep their energy use low ( <50 ) receives abundant food resources  their entire life in but the greedy human who uses excess energy gets closer and closer to starvation if they can’t control their energy use.
 The system needs to make the last 95-100 of energy quota so expensive that no amount of money can overcome.
 Kinda sounds like a good premise for a sci fi story but somehow human greed needs to result in individual extermination rather than mutual extermination. Right now everyone seems to favor mutual extermination .
« Last Edit: April 28, 2022, 05:59:49 PM by Bruce Steele »

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2022, 05:58:49 PM »
Surprise surprise? Nope.

Net zero by 2050 will hit a major timing problem technology can’t solve. We need to talk about cutting consumption

Many climate activists, scientists, engineers and politicians are trying to reassure us the climate crisis can be solved rapidly without any changes to lifestyle, society or the economy.

To make the vast scale of change palatable, advocates suggest all we have to do is switch fossil fuels for renewable power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency technologies, add seaweed to livestock feed to cut methane and embrace green hydrogen for heavy industries such as steel-making.

There’s just one problem: time. We’re on a very tight timeline to halve emissions within eight years and hit net zero by 2050. While renewables are making major inroads, the world’s overall primary energy use keeps rising. That means renewables are chasing a retreating target.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2022, 06:20:12 PM »


..there's not enough runway  :(
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Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2022, 09:51:57 PM »
Quote
It is my opinion that we need to ration all energy

It is hard to regulate on an individual level but in Europe and the US we have used up a big part of the historical pie so it would make sense if we actually lead the way on decarbonizing. It would make sense morally and on a practical level since we still emit so much oh and we have the money.

Quote
Kinda sounds like a good premise for a sci fi story but somehow human greed needs to result in individual extermination rather than mutual extermination. Right now everyone seems to favor mutual extermination.

We all follow the same system which rewards all the wrong things. The evil of overexploitation is baked into current society. This is not something which we can solve at an individual level.

The energy diet is something which we should consider. If only because we need it.

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Bruce Steele

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2022, 10:14:51 PM »
I kinda like the idea of a progressive rate tax on food for people that use too much energy. There are different ways to apply this idea in a system already utilizing taxes.
It just seems those people who choose to over-consume energy should at least be forced to grow their own food or starve . Once they had to grow their own food they should likely also better understand their personal limits. If people understood that they had to feed themselves if they used 100% of their energy quota , frugality would again be a virtue. 
 
I believe we are hitting hard limits to fossil energy. Even though renewables can provide that many modern comforts , like washing machines, or dishwashers, air conditioning, can continue it doesn’t mean that renewables will maintain BAU.
It gets repetitive for me to continue to harp about food productions dependence upon fossil fuels. Anyway the food issues are a big part of what the renewable energy focus has missed.
So IMO food and energy should always be addressed together. And taxed as inseparable.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2022, 10:33:16 PM by Bruce Steele »

kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2022, 10:41:03 PM »
But would a food tax hurt you if your vice was a super yacht , probably not.

Many people are completely disconnected from the cost of food and worse they are also disconnected from the struggles of the much poorer people in their own society let alone in more unfortunate countries. We need to fix the income distribution.

A direct tax on energy might be easier. Work out 90% is under then make the rest more expensive.
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oren

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2022, 01:46:02 AM »
Surprise surprise? Nope.

Net zero by 2050 will hit a major timing problem technology can’t solve. We need to talk about cutting consumption

Many climate activists, scientists, engineers and politicians are trying to reassure us the climate crisis can be solved rapidly without any changes to lifestyle, society or the economy.

To make the vast scale of change palatable, advocates suggest all we have to do is switch fossil fuels for renewable power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency technologies, add seaweed to livestock feed to cut methane and embrace green hydrogen for heavy industries such as steel-making.

There’s just one problem: time. We’re on a very tight timeline to halve emissions within eight years and hit net zero by 2050. While renewables are making major inroads, the world’s overall primary energy use keeps rising. That means renewables are chasing a retreating target.
That's just another way of proving we will not be stopping at 2C. Individual behavior is quite erratic but human large group behavior is rather predictable. Given what we know of current politics and public views in various countries, knowing the time it takes to shift those views and the unwillingness of most people to dial down lifestyles, and given the task required and the time left, it's just not gonna happen. Sadly it will be BAU all the way, with the best scenario coloring it a bit less black and a bit more green.

kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2022, 09:41:44 AM »
I always though that the Dumbassic was a pretty good first epoch to the Anthropocene...

How to explain it to the kids?  :(
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2022, 10:52:43 AM »
How phantom forests are used for greenwashing

Capturing carbon by increasing forest cover has become central to the fight against climate change. But there's a problem. Sometimes these forests exist on paper only - because promises have not been kept, or because planted trees have died or even been harvested. A new effort will now be made to track success and failure.

Dr Jurgenne Primavera is being paddled in a canoe along the coast of Iloilo in the Philippines. It's an idyllic scene but she is frowning. Six years ago these shallow waters were planted with mangroves as part of the country's ambitious National Greening Programme, but now there is nothing to see but blue water and blue sky.

Ninety per cent of the seedlings died, Dr Primavera says, because the type of mangrove planted was suited to muddy creeks rather than this sandy coastal area. The government preferred it, she suggests, because it is readily available and easy to plant.

"Science was sacrificed for convenience in the planting."

The National Greening Programme was an attempt to grow 1.5 million hectares of forest and mangroves between 2011 and 2019 but a withering report from the country's Commission on Audit found that in the first five years 88% of it had failed.

...

Tim Christophersen, until this month head of Nature for Climate with the UN Environment Programme, says that of the one billion hectares of landscape that countries have promised to restore worldwide "most" remains a promise rather than a reality.

In some cases, grandiose planting programmes have gone ahead, but have delivered limited results. The BBC has investigated a dozen examples that have flopped - as in the Philippines - usually because insufficient care was taken.

The Philippines government did not respond to requests to comment on the official Commission on Audit assessment that 88% of the National Greening Programme failed.

The local authority that planted what Dr Primavera considers to be the wrong mangrove species for coastal sites disagreed with her, saying that 50% of seedlings had survived in some locations.

In the Philippines at least an audit was published; in many other countries results are unclear.

The Indian State of Uttar Pradesh, for example, has planted tens of millions of saplings in the last five years, but when the BBC went to check new plantations near Banda, it found few alive.

Signs still proudly announced the plantations' existence, but scrubland plants were taking over.

"These plantations are mostly photo-ops, they look great, the numbers sound stupendous," says Ashwini Chhatre, an associate professor with Indian School of Business, who has researched ecosystem restoration.

"The current model of plantation requires you to first have nurseries for which you need to procure building materials and then you need to procure sapling bags, barbed wire and other things needed for plantation and then transportation of everything.

"Contracts are awarded for the supply of all these materials, which can also be very leaky. And so many of these people are interested in replanting, they are not interested in the success of plantation."

Uttar Pradesh's head of forestry, Mamta Dubey, told the BBC all supplies for state nurseries were purchased through official government channels at competitive rates, and that most plantations had been judged by third parties to be successful.

Prof Ashish Aggarwal of the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow says India has covered an area the size of Denmark with plantations since the 1990s, but national surveys show forest cover increasing only gradually.

"Even at a survival rate of 50%, we should have seen more than 20 million hectares of trees and forests," he says. "But that hasn't happened - the data does not show that addition."

According to the deputy director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Tina Vahanen, this problem is widespread, not confined to India.

"Many of the plantations have been promotional events," she says, "with no follow-up action that is really needed to grow trees."

...

The BBC found a different kind of problem in Mozambique, which has allowed private companies to plant large monoculture plantations as part of its contribution to the AFR100 forest landscape restoration initiative.

While many plantations have grown successfully, it's alleged that in some cases mature natural forest has been felled to make space.

The BBC heard this complaint from villagers in the Lugela, Ile and Namarroi districts in the centre of the country. It is echoed by Vanessa Cabanelas of the NGO, Justica Ambiental, who says that the original landscape worked better as a carbon sink.

"The idea of plantation is sold to us as mitigation for climate change impacts, which is false," she says.

...

It's against this background that the FAO is this week introducing a new framework for monitoring landscape restoration projects.

National forest monitoring team leader Julian Fox says 20 indicators have been agreed with governments and other partner organisations. These include noting any benefits the forests brings to local communities, as it's understood that they often fail without local support.

"The idea is to build countries' capacities to measure and report their progress in a meaningful and transparent way," he says.

"It's mainly about making your good monitoring data available to the international community."

The task of collecting the data still falls to the countries themselves and there is no guarantee they will do it.

But fortunately, this new effort coincides with improvements in satellite monitoring systems, experts say.

"There is a lot of greenwashing around and we have to actively uncover that," says Tim Christophersen, the outgoing head of UNEP's Nature for Climate branch.

"There is a temptation for greenwashing, because it costs less than doing the real thing and doing it right."

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-61300708

We are so good at fooling ourselves but you can't fool Earth...
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2022, 05:53:38 PM »
Trees aren’t a climate change cure-all – 2 new studies on the life and death of trees in a warming world show why

...

The results of two studies published in the journals Science and Ecology Letters on May 12, 2022 – one focused on growth, the other on death – raise new questions about how much the world can rely on forests to store increasing amounts of carbon in a warming future. Ecologist William Anderegg, who was involved in both studies, explains why.

What does the new research tell us about trees and their ability to store carbon?
The future of forests is on a knife’s edge, with a tug of war between two very important forces: the benefits trees get from increasing levels of carbon dioxide and the stresses they face from the climate, such as heat, drought, fires, pests and pathogens.

Those climate stresses are increasing a lot faster as the planet warms than scientists had expected. We’re seeing immense wildfires and drought-driven forest die-offs much sooner than anyone had anticipated. When those trees die, that carbon goes back into the atmosphere. We’re also seeing evidence that the benefits trees get from higher levels of carbon dioxide in a warming world may be more limited than people realize.

This tells us it’s probably not a great idea to count on forests for a widespread carbon sink through the 21st century, particularly if societies don’t reduce their emissions.

Trees and forests do all sorts of other amazing things – they clean the air and water, and they provide economic value in terms of timber and tourism and pollination. So, understanding how they will grow matters for many reasons.

There’s an argument that, with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, trees will simply grow more and lock that carbon away. What did your study find?
Two key things affect tree growth: photosynthesis, which is how trees turn sunlight and carbon dioxide into food, and the process of cell division and expansion.

There’s been a long-standing debate about which is the biggest driver of tree growth.

A good metaphor here is a cart with two horses. The cart moving down the road is the tree growing, and there are two horses attached, but we don’t know which is actually doing the work of pulling the cart. One horse is photosynthesis. That makes a lot of intuitive sense – it’s where all the carbon comes from for building cells. But we know there’s another horse – in order to grow more wood, trees have to grow layers of cells, and the cells have to expand and divide. That cell growth process is very sensitive to climate changes and tends to shut down when conditions are dry.

People assume that photosynthesis is the dominant process almost everywhere. But we found stronger evidence that these cellular processes that are sensitive to drought actually do more to drive or limit growth.

We used tree ring data from thousands of trees across the U.S. and Europe and measurements of photosynthesis from towers in nearby forests to check whether tree growth and photosynthesis were correlated over time. If they followed the same pattern, increasing or decreasing in the same years, that would have suggested photosynthesis was the horse pulling the cart. Instead, we found no correlation.

That suggests that droughts, rather than the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, may have the biggest impact on how quickly trees grow in the future. We’re already seeing more frequent and severe droughts in many regions.

What did you learn about the risk of tree death in the future?
In the other study, we found that lowering global greenhouse gas emissions could have a huge impact for avoiding damage to forests from wildfires, drought and insects.

We used years of satellite observations, climate data and a network of about 450,000 tree plots across the U.S. where each tree is monitored for climate stress and survival. With that historical data, we built statistical models of the risk U.S. trees face from wildfires, insects and climate stress, primarily related to drought. Then we looked at what might happen under future climate scenarios, with high carbon emissions, medium emissions and low emissions. You can explore the results on an interactive map.

The big picture: As the planet warms, wildfire risk increases substantially over the current century, especially in the Western U.S. In a scenario with medium emissions, wildfire risk is projected to increase by a factor of four. Drought and insect risks increase by about 50% to 80%.

What does this mean for the use of carbon offsets?
Together these studies suggest that the benefits carbon dioxide has for growth won’t be nearly as large as people thought, and the risk of climate stress, particularly wildfire, drought and insects, will be much larger than people anticipate.

That has huge implications for using forests as carbon offsets.

So far, carbon offset protocols and markets have not really grappled with this updated scientific understanding of the risks that forests face from climate change. This tells us that climate policymakers and offset developers need to be very careful about how they count on forest offsets to deliver benefits.

...

https://theconversation.com/trees-arent-a-climate-change-cure-all-2-new-studies-on-the-life-and-death-of-trees-in-a-warming-world-show-why-182944
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2022, 03:42:53 PM »
Corporate Net-Zero Goals Don’t Add Up to a Net-Zero Planet


More than 5,200 businesses have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas pollution to zero by 2050, or reach “net zero” by canceling out emissions with forestry or other projects that remove CO₂ from the air. They include some of the world’s biggest companies across all sectors: Apple, Zurich Insurance, P&G, General Motors, and so on.

But as the corporate net-zero juggernaut powers on, the less sense it makes, critics say, and it may do more harm than good. Their reason is simple: the only net-zero goal that matters is the one that applies to the entire planet. At the largest scale, discussion of “emissions” and “removals,” or drawing down CO₂ through forestry and other means, is grounded in Earth science, in the physical movement of carbon into the air and back down again. That’s “net zero.”

Companies can help. But companies can not be net-zero, and their pledges are more directly based on arithmetic than geochemistry, according to Carbone 4, a French consultancy that works with companies measuring their emissions and deciding what to do about them. “The idea of a carbon-neutral company is fundamentally dubious,” they wrote last July.

They’re not alone. The French government last year issued guidance that echoed Carbone 4's diagnosis of corporate net-zero goals. Nobody should claim to be “carbon neutral,” wrote the Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME). A net-zero watchdog this month introduced a trial “code of practice” to help evaluate corporate net-zero claims, and the UN Secretary general has launched a group of experts to look at non-national net-zero pledges.

Carbone 4 provides several reasons for its skepticism “that an organization is capable of achieving individual ‘climate virginity.’” At the heart of their critique are carbon “offsets,” or purchases that grant the right to claim emission reductions generated by CO₂ drawdown projects elsewhere, and the firm advises clients not to include investment in CO₂ reductions, through forestry or other means, in its emissions accounting — even though doing so certainly makes the company look better on paper.

Instead, the firm advises clients to account for its climate efforts in three distinct categories: emissions reductions, drawing at least in part on the framework set out by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi); “avoided emissions” or how a company's products or services might contribute to decarbonization elsewhere; and financing or the removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere.

So companies can still brag about how much they spend on carbon removal — they just can't count it against their own emissions.

...

“No company can act on its own to solve the climate crisis,” Derik Broekhoff, a senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, wrote in a post on the SEI site. “Companies that are truly committed to achieving net zero need to support climate policies — at all levels of government and internationally — that advance an equitable, comprehensive and coordinated global transition.”

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/corporate-net-zero-goals-don-t-add-up-to-a-net-zero-planet-1.1784338
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NeilT

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2022, 12:05:04 AM »
All true but if they are at least trying it is better than governments signing up to a commitment and half the economy of the country  hiding emissions elsewhere in the world.

It is an imperfect world.

Of course there is the whole sound byte issue where they sound good but are not really trying.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2022, 11:50:26 PM »
No more excuses: restoring nature is not a silver bullet for global warming, we must cut emissions outright

Restoring degraded environments, such as by planting trees, is often touted as a solution to the climate crisis. But our new research shows this, while important, is no substitute for preventing fossil fuel emissions to limit global warming.

We calculated the maximum potential for responsible nature restoration to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And we found that, combined with ending deforestation by 2030, this could reduce global warming 0.18°C by 2100. In comparison, current pledges from countries put us on track for 1.9-2℃ warming.

This is far from what’s needed to mitigate the catastrophic impacts of climate change, and is well above the 1.5℃ goal of the Paris Agreement. And it pours cold water on the idea we can offset our way out of ongoing global warming.

The priority remains rapidly phasing out fossil fuels, which have contributed 86% of all CO₂ emissions in the past decade. Deforestation must also end, with land use, deforestation and forest degradation contributing 11% of global emissions.

The hype around nature restoration
Growing commitments to net-zero climate targets have seen an increasing focus on nature restoration to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere, based on claims nature can provide over one-third of climate mitigation needed by 2030.

However, the term “nature restoration” often encompasses a wide range of activities, some of which actually degrade nature. This includes monoculture tree plantations, which destroy biodiversity, increase pollution and remove land available for food production.

Indeed, we find the hype around nature restoration tends to obscure the importance of restoring degraded landscapes, and conserving existing forests and other ecosystems already storing carbon.

...

The potential of nature restoration
We suggest this presents the maximum “responsible” land restoration potential that’s available for climate mitigation. We found this would result in a median 378 billion tonnes of CO₂ removed from the atmosphere between 2020 and 2100.

That might sound like a lot but, for perspective, global CO₂ equivalent emissions were 59 billion tonnes in 2019 alone. This means the removals we could expect from nature restoration over the rest of the century is the same as just six years worth of current emissions.

and more
https://theconversation.com/no-more-excuses-restoring-nature-is-not-a-silver-bullet-for-global-warming-we-must-cut-emissions-outright-186048
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2022, 06:56:19 PM »
The climate bill’s projected emissions cuts rely heavily on carbon capture – it would mean thousands of miles of pipeline

The sweeping climate, energy and health care bill expected to go to a vote in the U.S. House on Friday contains about US$370 billion to foster clean energy development and combat climate change, constituting the largest federal climate investment in history.

Several studies project that its climate and energy provisions could enable the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by around 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. That would be a significant improvement over the current projections of 27%, and it could put the U.S. within hailing range of its pledge under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030.

Notably, one linchpin of the bill’s climate provisions is a set of incentives to substantially expand technologies that capture carbon dioxide and either store it underground or ship it for reuse.

So far, the uptake of carbon capture technologies has been slow. The costs are high, and these technologies can require miles of pipeline and vast amounts of underground storage, both of which can trigger local backlash. A recent study projected that the U.S. would have to construct 65,000 miles of carbon dioxide pipelines to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050, a whopping 13 times the current capacity.

I’m the former founding co-director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law &  Policy at American University. While the bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, has many provisions designed to jump-start the carbon removal sector, it’s far from certain that the industry will be able to move quickly.

One-sixth of all emissions cuts
The bill includes two primary types of carbon capture.

Carbon capture and storage entails capturing carbon dioxide generated during power generation and industrial processes, such as steel and concrete production, and transporting it for storage or use. The most common use to date has been for enhanced oil recovery – injecting the gas into oil and gas reservoirs to extract more fossil fuels.

The bill also seeks to drive deployment of direct air capture technologies, which can pull carbon dioxide out of the air.

A Princeton University analysis estimated that pertinent provisions of the bill “would increase the use of carbon capture 13-fold by 2030 relative to current policy,” with only a modest amount projected to come from carbon dioxide removal. This could translate into about one-sixth to one-fifth of the projected carbon dioxide emissions reductions from the new bill.

Consistent with most of its other energy and climate provisions, the bill seeks to drive widespread deployment of carbon removal technologies through incentives. Most importantly, it substantially amends a provision of the U.S. tax code referred to as 45Q, which is designed to drive corporate investments in carbon capture.

Under the bill, tax credits for capturing carbon dioxide at industrial facilities and power plants would increase from $50 per ton today to up to $85 per ton if the carbon is stored. If the carbon is used instead for oil drilling, the credit would go from $30 today to $60 per ton. <--HTF does that help? K

Credits for capturing carbon from air via direct air capture would also dramatically jump, from $50 to $180 per ton if the carbon dioxide is stored, and from $35 currently to $130 per ton if it is used.

The bill would also move back the deadline for starting construction of carbon capture facilities that qualify from 2026 to 2033, reduce the minimum capture requirements for obtaining credits, and permit direct payments for the full value of credits for the first five years of a project’s operation in lieu of tax credits.

Missing pieces
Currently there are only a dozen carbon capture and storage facilities in the U.S. and a couple of direct air capture facilities removing a small amount of carbon from the air.

There’s a reason the uptake of carbon capture, particularly direct air capture, has been slow. Direct air capture cost estimates vary from $250 to $600 per ton, according to one analysis, while experts have estimated that a price under $100 and closer to $50 could create a market.

more:
https://theconversation.com/the-climate-bills-projected-emissions-cuts-rely-heavily-on-carbon-capture-it-would-mean-thousands-of-miles-of-pipeline-188591

This is very much BAU dressed up as more tech will safe us BS.
Efficiency is the first fuel. We don´t have to capture what we do not emit. There are so much more practical programs that we could build but of course they would interfere with the markets too much?

We need practical things like a clamp down on methane leaks from infrastructure. And meaningful reductions in fossil fuel use overall. 
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interstitial

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #43 on: August 13, 2022, 05:52:58 AM »
Yes carbon capture is throwing away money but the heavy investments in electrification is a larger part of the bill.

kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2022, 02:26:47 AM »
But will it work? Will it work in time? We are pretending we have a lot of time to solve this while recent developments hint that we might have much less margin then we bargained for. We can not wait for market forces to catch up but this is more or less the idea.

So we wait for future tech to unlock while utterly failing to solve the real problem. Just reduce carbon and methane emissions and then profit. Or go on and pretend we are aiming for some reasonable goal long term while not taking the needed measures. How much times would you like to repeat last year or this year? How interesting will the next El Nino be? Do we have the time to postpone action more?
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Wildcatter

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2022, 07:10:59 PM »
kassy, the whole carbon capture thing is just peripheral, and essentially irrelevant. "Could" translate into 1/6 -1/5 of reductions simply implies a non-zero chance, but that chance is basically 0. And there probably will be some CO2 pipelines with net zero, not sure how much, but to put that in perspective, the US has about 3 million miles of pipelines, 65,000 is a drop in the bucket.

The bill is really about making RE capacity and storage too good to pass up, and extending the credits to avoid boom-bust cycles. Those are the most important things, as we saw with wind capacity, falling off with expiration of the PTC (onshore wind still has not really been commercialized in the SE US, the credits are long enough to see this happen, so in the US watch that over time, they'll still add solar and storage). The solar credit was going to expire in 2024.

For those with energy backgrounds and who are trained to view the entire picture with energy policy with no excuses, a real key with the bill is the fact that it is inevitably going to break the Republican wall (who all voted against it, which was pretty negligent given need for rural county revenues over the next 10 years, and even coal getting obliterated with the bill also providing an additional stackable credit for RE and storage on coal infrastructure). Some of the biggest adopters are rural co-ops, and in the US, RE projects and storage pay county revenues, on top of landowner payments, that's very important to know. Even the green hydrogen bit is a nice touch, green ammonia and fertilizer given natural gas prices will be high for a long time. Green methanol might be possible with green hydrogen + biomass CO2, I haven't really looked at that yet, but that could be interesting (biomass CO2 could be one example of future CO2 pipelines, I'm not sure).

Will someone do something stupid with carbon capture? Probably. Will the media run with it? Likely. Will it matter? Nope. There might be some good to come out of it, if there's interest in capturing some of the hard stuff, cement, industry, etc.

So, the important thing is it's going to lead to a whole lot of RE capacity and storage. The second thing is the credits are long enough to break the Republican wall over the next 10 years, some will inevitably cross the table because of all the benefits of RE going up, and as far as future policy, that's going to be a good thing. I haven't really looked at the EV credits, I know there's some domestic content stipulations, so I don't know, but I suppose there will be an effort to get them applicable to manufacturers vehicles, and will help overall.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2022, 07:20:02 PM by Wildcatter »

kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #46 on: August 17, 2022, 11:02:19 PM »
Thanks for that response.

In a general way we could ask the very real question if we have the time to fix it by market. I think we do not. In the next ten years we really need to reduce global outputs in a big way, in fact we have to start before 2025.

Incentives are nice but we have the satellites to monitor most outputs and thus make fixing methane holes non optional for gas companies. We could target the worst coal plants and efficiency in general or impose certain boundaries on energy use to promote efficiency but it must always go via some market incentives while there is so much work to be done.

I am mainly skeptical about the timing.
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kassy

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Re: Net-Zero plans and the hard limits of carbon offsets
« Reply #47 on: August 29, 2022, 05:52:06 PM »
A bit of history.

The Fuzzy Math of Net-Zero Is Under Attack

We cannot plant enough trees or suck enough CO2 to make a difference.


The concept of net-zero has troubled us at Treehugger for some time. We first discussed it in terms of architecture and building, where, according to the International Living Future Institute's definition, "One hundred percent of the project's energy needs being supplied by onsite renewable energy on a net annual basis." But in our post, "The Grid is Not a Bank," I quoted Passivhaus architect Bronwyn Barry, who wrote, "The reality is that the grid does not have the capacity to store all excess energy generated in summer, so buildings employing this 'fuzzy math' still require that the grid supply their winter deficit."

Treehugger contributor Sami Grover has also asked: Is net-zero a fantasy? He discussed pledges from countries, cities, and companies, noting that "the very idea of net-zero has become a problematic excuse for inaction." The problem comes in the second half of our definition:

What Is Net-Zero?
Net-zero is a scenario in which human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are reduced as much as possible, with those that remain being balanced out by the removal of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.

How are these greenhouse gas emissions being removed? Is anyone actually doing it at scale? Or is it all just a dangerous distraction? Some big hitters are now questioning the concept.

The most interesting is a new and important website, Climate Uncensored, set up recently by Dan Calverley and Kevin Anderson, both formerly with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. In a recent post, they note that the concept of net-zero started with buildings and apparently got co-opted.

"The language of 'net zero' is now virtually ubiquitous throughout the mitigation modelling and policy discourse, but it is worth reflecting on how just how recently it has penetrated the literature and been adopted as a kind of 'groupthink'. Compare the incidence of the term in the IPCC's fifth and sixth assessment reports. 'Net zero' appears 23 times in the WGIII contribution to AR5, published in 2014 – almost all in the context of net-zero energy buildings, such as Passivhaus design; i.e. proven, tried-and-tested tech. Jump to this year's WGIII contribution to AR6, and the incidence of 'net zero' skyrockets to 963 mentions – overwhelmingly now in the context of negative emissions and carbon capture; technologies that remain speculative at scale."
...

In an MIT Technology Review article—titled "We must fundamentally rethink "net-zero" plans" and a subhead reading, "Corporate climate plans are too often a mix of fuzzy math, flawed assumptions, and wishful thinking"—journalist James Temple complains that many companies are planning to get to net-zero through shopping for offsets. "In other words, they can continue to emit planet-warming gases, so long as they pay someone else, somewhere else to make up for it," wrote Temple. "And that's where many of the problems arise."

He suggests that instead, they must slash direct emissions (our radical efficiency plan), avoid offsets, and while he does support research and investment in carbon removal technologies, he noted:

"There's a slippery-slope risk for carbon removal as well. It's best to think of it as an essential tool to help us fix the really difficult, really expensive last parts of the problem. But it can't cover up for an economy still running at the most fundamental level on fossil fuels. And thus, we can't afford to allow the pursuit of carbon removal tools to distract from the essential task of overhauling our industries."

...

https://www.treehugger.com/the-fuzzy-math-of-net-zero-under-attack-6503046

Many links in the article.
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