Global coalition needed to fight climate change
World leaders and top experts called for a global coalition to fight poverty and usher in sustainable development while combating the ill effects of climate change at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, held in New Delhi last week.
The event was organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the theme of this year's Summit was “Attaining Food, Water, and Energy Security For All.” The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) assembled some of the highest level of talent for this event from across the globe. The Summit witnessed strategies and challenges through the presence and involvement of world leaders, Nobel Prize winners, ministers from several countries and leaders from business, academia and civil society.
Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Councilsaid that the effects of climate change are being felt by countries across the world. “Our present paradigm of development is going to lead to a severe water shortage, especially for the U.S. and China, and our water usages are going to determine our energy proliferation,” he said.
One of the significant events of the Summit was a session on Communicating for Sustainability, where participants stressed the need for more effective communication on issues related to environment and development. The speakers reiterated the need for better packaging of environment and development events so that there is greater awareness among the public on issues that are critical to the survival of the planet.
Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, director, Earth Institute, said that the stakes are very high as the UN Millennium Development goals are yet to be met, while at the same time, there has been a steady increase in the levels of greenhouse gas emissions and current pollution levels show no signs of abating.
“There is a lot of poverty and development in the road ahead. We need to de-carbonize the global economy,” Sachs said, adding that fundamental change in needed to meet the developmental challenges of tomorrow. He said that organizations such as TERI must be play an integral role in South Asia's developmental networks.
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Among the highlights of the Summit was a special session on the challenges that African nations face in attaining sustainable development. Henri Djombo, minister of Forestry Economy and SustainableDevelopment, Congo, said the African nations need to agree on a common strategy to achieve energy, water and food security. He added that these issues were clearly interlinked and governments needed to set aside 10 percent of their budget for agriculture development.
“We need greater public-private partnerships to attain developmental goals,” Djombo said, adding that more incentives needed to be provided for renewable energy to combat the threats arising out of climate change.
Lise Grande, UN resident coordinator and resident representative, United Nations Development Program, said that there was bad news in store for Asia as the region is going to face even greater shortages in the areas of water, food and energy security. “Food security will eventually lead to water and energy security,” she said.
Two-thirds of the world is still facing food shortages, while 40 percent of Asia is facing a severe water crisis. Large amounts of water would be needed to meet the growing needs of agriculture, and this pressure will impact global targets to overcome poverty and climate change.
During the Summit, TERI and the Royal Norwegian Embassy renewed their plans to work together in the field of climate change and climate modeling to offset the effects of global warming. The climate modeling capacity building efforts started at TERI under the TERI Framework Agreement with the Embassy, and has now matured to scales that TERI has now been able to organize this Research School on an annual basis.
DSDS is a flagship event organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) every year since 2001 that seeks to facilitate enlightened debate and discussion on the discourse of global sustainable development. Over the past 13 years, it has emerged as one of the most leading forums on issues of global sustainability.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere