I would like to draw your attention to one of our recently published work in Nature Energy on the feasibility of different carbon dioxide mitigation options. The publisher link is here and you can access and read freely using this link.
When assessing ways of reducing carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gas) emissions, it’s important that we consider not just their monetary cost, but their wider implications. One critical consideration is how much energy they would need.
In this paper, we introduce a new metric to compare net energy use across all types of mitigation measure – be they carbon avoiding (e.g. renewables), carbon removing (e.g. negative emissions technologies) or carbon embedding (e.g. carbon capture and utilisation). We call this metric the Carbon Abatement Energy (CAE).
We then systematically review the energy requirements to manufacture and operate different technologies and compare their ‘energy effectiveness’ in mitigating carbon dioxide.
Our analysis shows that energy efficiency measures such as efficient building lighting perform the best when considering the CAE. Next comes switching from fossil to renewable energy technologies. Higher up the CAE ladder are carbon removal and embedding approaches.
One implication is that if carbon removal technologies stays as energy costly as described in our study, such technologies might not get deployed at a meaningful scale and climate policies that mainly depend on future availability of such services could not succeed.
I hope you enjoy reading the paper and find it useful. I would be happy to hear if you have any feedback or comments.
Oytun Babacan | Research Fellow
Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment
Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ
Grantham Institute: Working towards a sustainable, resilient, zero-carbon society.