US scientists call for carbon dioxide scrubbing programme in fight against climate change

(The Independent, 28 Oct 2018) Humanity may have to start removing as much carbon as all the world’s forests and soils currently absorb each year to meet Paris Agreement goals, according to Princeton climate scientist.

With time running out to avoid dangerous global warming, the US's leading scientific body has urged the government to fund research into developing technologies to remove vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

The 369-page report, written by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, underscores an important shift. For decades, experts said that nations could prevent large temperature increases mainly by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and moving to cleaner sources like solar, wind and nuclear power.

But at this point, nations have delayed so long in cutting their carbon-dioxide emissions that even a breakneck shift towards clean energy would most likely not be enough.

According to a landmark scientific report issued by the United Nations (UN) this month, taking out a big chunk of the carbon dioxide already loaded into the atmosphere may be necessary to avoid significant further warming, even though researchers have yet to figure out how to do so economically, or at sufficient scale.

And we will have to do it fast. To meet the climate goals laid out under the Paris Agreement, humanity may have to start removing around 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year by the middle of the century, in addition to reducing industrial emissions, said Stephen Pacala, a Princeton climate scientist who led the panel.

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The Independent, 28 Oct 2018: US scientists call for carbon dioxide scrubbing programme in fight against climate change