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Climate Adam: Can we really suck up Carbon Dioxide?

Posted on 22 May 2024 by Guest Author, BaerbelW

This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any).

Is carbon dioxide removal - aka "negative emissions" - going to save us from climate change? Or is it just a dangerous distraction from the action we need - cutting fossil fuels and building renewables? The truth is somewhere in between - we're going to need to remove some amounts of carbon dioxide, but we can't rely on negative emissions to solve all our climate change problems. So what are the technologies behind the headlines, and what do they mean for our future?

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  1. An extreme example of carbon dioxide removal greenwashing is the marketing of the glory of the Pathways Alliance plans to make Alberta oil sands production 'Net-zero by 2050' (see here for their self promotion details).

    As mentioned in Climate Adam's video, and the earlier CCS video he mentions (a link at the end of this Climate Adam video), CCS of oil sands operations will only keep part of the ghg impacts of the operations from entering the atmosphere, with risk of leaks of the stuff thought to have been captured and stored. In particular, any methane emissions are not captured for storage.

    So, to be 'net-zero' the Pathways Alliance will have to divert (consume) some of the 'real carbon removal activity' that will almost certainly be necessary to bring total human impacts back down to 1.5 C levels (human impacts are expected to exceed the globally agreed 1.5 C level).

    Pathways Alliance action, if they get subsidized to the degree they want and actually do something to reduce carbon emissions, would improve Canada's Climate Actions. But the most recent Climate Action Tracker evaluation of Canada linked here (pointed to by prove we are smart in this comment on another SkS item) is "Highly Insufficient" significantly due to leadership being compromised by being interested in profiting more from being more harmful and evading the costs of being less harmful. The Pathways Alliance improvement may only move Canada to "Insufficient" Climate Action.

    It appears the (Canadian, Alberta, oil sands investors) hope is that some fossil fuel use will be globally agreed to be needed after 2050 to exclusively provide essential assistance for the least fortunate to live basic decent lives. And they (Canada, Alberta and oil sands investors), being net-zero suppliers by then, should be globally supported to be the chosen suppliers.

    Harmful actions can only be justified if the harm is required to provide essential life assistance to the less fortunate (and it would be unacceptable for anyone to profit from providing that assistance - it should be not-for-profit).

    That raises many questions including:

    Will Canada, Alberta and oil sands investors all agree to be Net-zero-profit-takers after 2050?

    And will they have taken action and paid what it costs to minimize the need to divert 'real carbon removal actions' to offset their remaining impacts (diversion required so they can claim to be 'net-zero' suppliers of a harmful product)?

    And will they agree by 2050 that the only benefit from their 'net-zero product that will produce harmful impacts when used as expected' is to be obtained by the least fortunate (refusing to export it to questionable buyers)?

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