Focus on carbon removal a ‘high-stakes gamble’

Climate Central reports: The manmade emissions fueling global warming are accumulating so quickly in the atmosphere that climate change could spiral out of control before humanity can take measures drastic enough to cool the earth’s fever, many climate scientists say.

The most important way the earth’s rising temperature can be tempered is to reduce the use of fossil fuels. But scientists say another critical solution is to physically remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere — something called “negative emissions” — so that carbon dioxide and rising temperatures could peak, and then begin to decline over time.

Many of the assumptions underlying the landmark Paris Climate Agreement rely on the idea that humans will be actively removing carbon from the atmosphere late this century because reducing emissions won’t be enough to prevent global warming from exceeding levels considered dangerous.

But that assumption relies on technology that hasn’t been proven to work on a global scale. Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a scale large enough to slow global warming is untested, and the technology is in its infancy. The effect it could have on the earth is largely unknown, and some scientists warn that some of the consequences of using negative emissions technology could be catastrophic. [Continue reading…]

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