To achieve the main objective of the Paris Agreement of not increasing global average temperatures above two degrees, it is necessary capture much of the CO2 emitted by plants that burn fossil fuels to generate energy.
The objective is to stabilize the planet and we must contribute not only by reducing emissions, but also by capturing them and taking them out of the carbon cycle. How do you intend to capture CO2?
Capture CO2 and Edward Rubin
Edward rubin He is one of the leading experts on CO2 capture. During his career he has largely devoted himself to researching the capture, transport and storage of CO2 emitted by thermal power plants from Carnegie Mellon University (USA). Thanks to his extensive knowledge, he has been leading this field of research in all the reports issued by the IPCC.
Rubin thinks that the vast majority of climate models that simulate the future conditions of our planet do not conceive of a rapid reduction in emissions, such as the one that countries have proposed to do through the Paris Agreement, without the capture and geological storage of CO2.
It is impossible to reduce emissions so quickly as the energy transition to renewables progresses. Therefore, it is necessary to capture emitted CO2.
A solution to gas emissions
Since it is not so easy to stop using coal and oil, and the most popular renewables such as wind and solar are developing rapidly but insufficiently, it is impossible to achieve an 2% decrease in CO80 by mid-century without CO2 being captured from the atmosphere.
"We live in a world addicted to fossil fuels, where it is very difficult to disengage society from them despite the severity of climate change," says Rubin.
Scientific knowledge about CO2 and its life cycle is advanced enough to develop and implement techniques to help capture, transport and store CO2. Only in this way could the large amount of CO2 present in the atmosphere currently be reduced. It is necessary, for these plans to be put into operation, that investments on CO2 capture are regulated through regulations.
"A decade ago some investments were made in advance, since the companies thought that they were going to require relevant efforts to avoid polluting, but as soon as the prospect of strong political action in this matter was exhausted, they stopped investing", he clarifies .
Among the investments that were made, some of them were executed in Spain. The European Commission awarded 180 million euros to a CO2 capture and storage project in Compostilla, the Endesa plant located in Cubillos de Sil (León), which was interrupted in 2013, in part due to the fall in the prices of emission rights in the EU.
Need for legislation
Rubin affirms that it is necessary that regulations are put in place that contribute to the orientation of markets and investments to work with the capture of CO2. For example, when the legislation that regulated the circulation of vehicles that emitted more gases came out, Catalysts were installed to reduce the CO2 emitted.
Since there is a business behind the generation of electricity, it is difficult to bet on a supply that meets this growing demand with renewable energy. Nor will you see a reduction in emissions without there being a regulation behind it.
The capture of CO2 differs from renewable energies in that it is not only capable of generating electricity, but also consumes it. Therefore, the only reason for capturing CO2 is to penalize for CO2 emissions law that do not have an accompanied capture.
Rubin affirms that if this were the case, there is no scientific or technological barrier that would prevent CO2 captures from all over the world.