Categories: General News

by Gabriel Klaasen

Share

Categories: General News

by Gabriel Klaasen

Share


In climate news today… Liberia’s capital defends itself against rising seas. Climate activists shut down London’s tower bridge. Rains driv
Bloomberg

In climate news today…

Nathaniel Bullard's Sparklines

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report sent a stark alert about the world’s current emissions and temperature trajectory. Within the document is a complex chart that maps out dozens of technologies or practices which can reduce emissions, their potential to do so this decade, and the economics of deploying them.

Source: IPCC Source: IPCC

The charts are color-coded. Anything blue is cost-competitive today; anything in the range from light orange to dark red indicates a need for investment beyond business as usual. Wind and solar energy are winners in terms of cost and scale, with gigatons of potential emissions reduction per year. So too are a half-dozen transportation approaches. Industrial measures  have significant potential, but carry a high cost. Building applications, in particular energy services and lighting, are in the money but others such as the rather broad “improvement of existing building stock” are not.

At the bottom of the energy section is a small (in terms of 2030 potential) and angry (in its bright red colors) bar for carbon capture and storage. It has limited emissions potential within this decade, and it is expensive.

Just as the IPCC’s report dropped, Swiss carbon removal company Climeworks AG announced it had raised $650 million. This investment is by far the largest in any carbon removal company. There is now twice as much investment in this particular carbon capture technology in the first four months of 2022 as in the prior four years.

Just as important as the amount of the investment is the size of main investors. Partners Group AG manages $127 billion; Baillie Gifford, more than $450 billion as of December 2021; GIC, Singapore’s sovereign fund, an estimated $700 billion-plus — all told, well over $1 trillion dollars under management. The commitment to carbon removal more broadly is significant.

The vice-chair of the working group which produced this latest IPCC report has said that carbon removal is “essential” to zero out greenhouse gas emissions. But being essential to long-term climate goals does not inherently make a market. A list of investors like the group above does imply there will be a market for carbon removal at scale, even in the absence of any major global policy support.

Also, carbon removal not only has a cost of operation, it is a cost, as Shayle Kann of Energy Impact Partners says. Carbon removal requires capital to build plants and it requires substantial energy to power the removal processes. More than that, though, it provides a societal good but does not provide electrons, or molecules, or services in the way that renewable power or building energy services do.

Capturing carbon dioxide molecules at massive scale, and storing them stably for centuries or longer, is a hard problem to solve. The companies doing carbon removal are what their investors often call “hard tech” —  their work is complex and requires time-consuming hardware and infrastructure (not software and services).  Success will not be quick, and in fact may not come until after the 2030 interval of the IPCC’s report. 

In 1976 Amory Lovins, the cofounder and chairman emeritus of energy think tank RMI, wrote a short but significant essay about U.S. energy’s future. In it, he contrasted the current — and expected — system of massive power plants and complex engineering as the “hard path” to the future. The alternative is a “soft path” that relies on “smaller, far simpler supply systems entailing vastly shorter development and construction time, and on smaller, less sophisticated management systems.”  

More than four decades later the IPCC is clear that while the soft path is scaling rapidly, the hard path still will be needed to solve hard problems. Technology developers and investors seem to think so too.

Nathaniel Bullard is BloombergNEF's Chief Content Officer.

Like getting the Green Daily newsletter? Subscribe to Bloomberg.com for unlimited access to breaking news on climate and energy, data-driven reporting and graphics, Bloomberg Green magazine and more. You can read today’s newsletter on the web here

Here’s what else you need to know in Green

The government is trying to offset emissions from the energy sector.
It's part of an effort to become one of the first U.S. cities to rely on carbon-free energy by 2035.

GMO’s Jeremy Grantham says the war is exacerbating trouble that he expects to be long term. 

Follow Us Get the newsletter
You received this message because you are subscribed to Bloomberg's Green Daily newsletter.
Unsubscribe | Bloomberg.com | Contact Us
Ads Powered By Liveintent | Ad Choices
Bloomberg L.P. 731 Lexington, New York, NY, 10022

STAY IN THE LOOP

Subscribe to our free newsletter.

Business Report 1 July 2012. Optimal Energy chief executive Kobus Meiring is a disappointed man. The company is the developer of South Africa’s electric car but it officially closed on Friday with the loss of about 60 jobs. This follows its failure to get further funding from the government and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)... http://www.iol.co.za/business/business-news/why-sa-s-electric-car-is-not-going-anywhere-1.1331580#.T_E37xcjGq8

Related Posts

  • After the Bell: The way people misunderstand renewable power is shocking  (Image: iStock) By Tim Cohen  Follow 13 Dec 2022  2 I can’t get away from the feeling that the constant, relentless defence of coal has a larger agenda somewhere behind it. Listen to this article 0:00 / 6:23 1X BeyondWords How do we comprehend the resistance among […]

  • Opinion: Koeberg life extension could flip switch on half a trillion rands of economic damage Graphic showing coal capacity factors and loadshedding 24TH NOVEMBER 2022 ARTICLE ENQUIRY      SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE FONT SIZE: –+ In this opinion article, energy analyst and commentator Clyde Mallinson warns that, against the backdrop of persistent and erratic loadshedding, the economic cost of shutting the Koeberg nuclear plant for […]

  • A New Barefoot GuideFrom the Agroecology Series My Food is African Healthy soil, safe foods and diverse diets Télécharger – Français Download – E   A New Barefoot Guide From the Agroecology Series My Food is African Healthy soil, safe foods and diverse diets Télécharger – Français Download – English A publication of The Alliance […]

  •  > This edition | The voluntary carbon markets, explained in three figures        Read the last Dispatch | The dark matter of the emissions universe             Next Dispatch | What to do when portfolios hit the “value-carbon frontier”  Share Tweet Forward Carbon is a new global currency. If we're serious about stopping climate […]