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Friday, April 18, 2014

IPCC on natgas, CCS

The IPCC's new report on climate change mitigation makes some pretty clear statements about the changes that will have to be made to our energy mix - starting now - if we want to avoid climate disaster.

There are five key takeaways on energy supply in its Summary for Policymakers:
  1. Low- or no-carbon electricity (renewables, nuclear, and CCS-equipped fossil fuel plants) must increase from the current share of 30% to more than 80% by 2050.
  2. Fossil fueled power plants without CCS must be phased out entirely by 2100.
  3. Switching power plants from coal to natural gas can reduce GHG emissions "significantly" in the short term - if methane emissions are "low or mitigated." That's a big - and growing - "if." But any growth in natgas-fired power plants must reverse itself and fall below current levels by 2050, and be phased out by 2100. (See #2.) Natgas-fired electricity has a future only with CCS.
  4. Bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) could provide "large-scale" net negative emissions power, but the large-scale use of biomass is both a "challenge" and a "risk." Big ones, I think.
  5. Any way you slice it, CCS is an essential technology.
Is the world capable of demanding and making these changes - in time?

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