Scrubbing Carbon from the Sky

The January issue of Scientific American includes three MCC studies on negative emissions published in Environmental Research Letters.

[Translate to EN:] Geothermisches Kraftwerk in Island mit DAC Foto: Shutterstock/TyLim


Will we be able to extract enough CO2 from the atmosphere to slow down or even halt climate change?

The article deals with the question of the necessity of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere. After the previous strategy to save the world from climate change did not work out, Jan C. Minx, head of the working group Applied Sustainability Research, sees negative emissions as a necessary "biophysical requirement" with immediate urgency to reach the climate goals. In view of current emission values, "there may be only five years‘ worth of CO2 emissions left“  in the 1.5 degree scenario. In order to master these, several hundred Carbon Capture and Storage Facilities would have to be built from 2030 onwards, but these are still in development today.

Sabine Fuss, head of the Working Group on Sustainable Resource Management and Global Change, and her team examined the costs, side effects, sustainability and other factors involved in carbon capture through seven extraction methods.

According to the article, the hot summer of 2018 could represent a turning point in global climate policy. There is an urgent need for investment in research and development. In spite of all the uncertainties regarding the technologies, an active debate must now take place in order to be able to achieve the climate goals with their help.

Published in Scientific American, January 2019