Vacuuming carbon from the air could help stop climate change. Not everyone agrees – knkx.org

by | May 2, 2022 | Climate Change

Some of the biggest companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, are planning to spend almost $1 billion on a new climate change strategy.

It’s not renewable energy or planting trees. It’s pulling carbon dioxide emissions right out of the air.

The world has moved so slowly over the last 40 years to rein in greenhouse gases that scientists are now finding that cutting the use of fossil fuels alone may not be enough to stave off the worst effects of climate change. The world is on track for increasingly destructive heat waves, floods and storms. That means heat-trapping gases may also need to be pulled out of the atmosphere.

It’s known as “carbon dioxide removal.” In the latest international climate assessment, scientists found that using it will be “unavoidable” if countries are going to meet their pledges to keep average global temperatures from rising to ever-harmful levels.

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Much of the technology to soak up carbon is still in its infancy. Some techniques can have significant impacts on the land. Some climate activists argue it’s a risky distraction and that it would give the fossil fuel industry a free pass to keep operating.

Still, scientists running the numbers say the world has reached a point where every possible strategy is needed. Global emissions are still going the wrong direction. In 2021, they reached the highest level ever.

Why scientists say carbon removal is needed

To stave off extreme climate change impacts that could displace millions of people, scientific data shows that greenhouse gas emissions need to fall fast. Emissions need to drop 43% b …

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