Modeling future CO2 sequestration

From the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

CO2 removal can lower costs of climate protection

According to the analysis, carbon dioxide removal could be used under certain requirements to alleviate the most costly components of mitigation, but it would not replace the bulk of actual emissions reductions.

“Carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere allows to separate emissions control from the time and location of the actual emissions. This flexibility can be important for climate protection,” says lead-author Elmar Kriegler. “You don’t have to prevent emissions in every factory or truck, but could for instance plant grasses that suck CO2 out of the air to grow – and later get processed in bioenergy plants where the CO2 gets stored underground.” 

In economic terms, this flexibility allows to lower costs by compensating for emissions which would be most costly to eliminate. “This means that a phase-out of global emissions by the end of the century – that we would need to hold the 2 degree line adopted by the international community – does not necessarily require to eliminate each and every source of emissions,” says Kriegler. “Decisions whether and how to protect future generations from the risks of climate change have to be made today, but the burden of achieving these targets will increase over time. The costs for future generations can be substantially reduced if carbon dioxide removal technologies become available in the long run.”

Balancing the financial burden across generations

The study now published is the first to quantify this. If bioenergy plus CCS is available, aggregate mitigation costs over the 21st century might be halved. In the absence of such a carbon dioxide removal strategy, costs for future generations rise significantly, up to a quadrupling of mitigation costs in the period of 2070 to 2090. The calculation was carried out using a computer simulation of the economic system, energy markets, and climate, covering a range of scenarios.

Options for carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere include afforestation and chemical approaches like direct air capture of CO2 from the atmosphere or reactions of CO2 with minerals to form carbonates. But the use of biomass for energy generation combined with carbon capture and storage is less costly than chemical options, as long as sufficient biomass feedstock is available, the scientists point out.

Serious concerns about large-scale biomass use combined with CCS

“Of course, there are serious concerns about the sustainability of large-scale biomass use for energy,” says co-author Ottmar Edenhofer, chief-economist of PIK. “We therefore considered the bioenergy with CCS option only as an example of the role that carbon dioxide removal could play for climate change mitigation.” The exploitation of bioenergy can conflict with land-use for food production or ecosystem protection. To account for sustainability concerns, the study restricts the bioenergy production to a medium level, that may be realized mostly on abandoned agricultural land.

Still, global population growth and changing dietary habits, associated with an increased demand for land, as well as improvements of agricultural productivity, associated with a decreased demand for land, are important uncertainties here. Furthermore, CCS technology is not yet available for industrial-scale use and, due to environmental concerns, is controversial in countries like Germany. Yet in this study it is assumed that it will become available in the near future.

“CO2 removal from the atmosphere could enable humankind to keep the window of opportunity open for low-stabilization targets despite of a likely delay in international cooperation, but only under certain requirements,” says Edenhofer. “The risks of scaling up bioenergy use need to be better understood, and safety concerns about CCS have to be thoroughly investigated. Still, carbon dioxide removal technologies are no science fiction and need to be further explored.” In no way should they be seen as a pretext to neglect emissions reductions now, notes Edenhofer. “By far the biggest share of climate change mitigation has to come from a large effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions globally.”

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Article: Kriegler, E., Edenhofer, O., Reuster, L., Luderer, G., Klein, D. (2013): Is atmospheric carbon dioxide removal a game changer for climate change mitigation? Climatic Change (online) [10.1007/s10584-012-0681-4]

Abstract

The ability to directly remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere allows the decoupling of emissions and emissions control in space and time. We ask the question whether this unique feature of carbon dioxide removal technologies fundamentally alters the dynamics of climate mitigation pathways. The analysis is performed in the coupled energy-economy-climate model ReMIND using the bioenergy with CCS route as an application of CDR technology. BECCS is arguably the least cost CDR option if biomass availability is not a strongly limiting factor. We compare mitigation pathways with and without BECCS to explore the impact of CDR technologies on the mitigation portfolio. Effects are most pronounced for stringent climate policies where BECCS is a key technology for the effectiveness of carbon pricing policies. The decoupling of emissions and emissions control allows prolonging the use of fossil fuels in sectors that are difficult to decarbonize, particularly in the transport sector. It also balances the distribution of mitigation costs across future generations. CDR is not a silver bullet technology. The largest part of emissions reductions continues to be provided by direct mitigation measures at the emissions source. The value of CDR lies in its flexibility to alleviate the most costly constraints on mitigating emissions.

Weblink to the article: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-012-0681-4

Open access to PDF here http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs10584-012-0681-4

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39 thoughts on “Modeling future CO2 sequestration

  1. Hey, I learned about the hydrocarbon bond in early chemistry class. Did they miss out?
    ==================

  2. And while we’re at it we can spend trillions on employing people to dig holes and fill them in again.

  3. “This flexibility can be important for climate protection”. Then again, It cannot. Or it might be. Or it could be. Regardless, Herr Doktor Elmar Kriegler, if that was the money pitch, it’s a very flabby one. Please! Like all geoengineering ‘schemes’ we know not the consequences of their implementation, aside from excessive cost, and probably zero ‘benefit’.

  4. When these idiots get really cold, they will pray for additional CO2; and send us the bill.

  5. mwhite says:
    April 14, 2013 at 7:31 am

    And while we’re at it we can spend trillions on employing people to dig holes and fill them in again.

    As a further refinement, why don’t they take CO2, strip the oxygen from the carbon, compress it and put it back underground but in a cheap, open-pit way–we could call it anti-open-pit coal mining! And if the pressures used were really, really high, we could call it anti-diamond mining! I know it can be done–we’ve done just the reverse in the past. We may even be doing it now!

    What’s not to like? Of course, after a while we (well, “they”) might wonder why the biosphere is slowing down and shrinking. It simply boggles the mind.

  6. MWhite, that is exactly what I was thinking. This is just more Marxist theory, with a green smiley face. I also smell more crony capitalism and cap and trade legislation to move the money around.

  7. This is on the backs of private industry I assume. And who will pay for this? Why the workers of course through wage controls. Every country that has achieved control of private industry ends up with a worker class that can never rise above its place in life. They are nothing more than another piece of machinery in the cogs of government control, born to serve others and never themselves. It will be entrenched in the minds of those in power that there are natural classes of people and movement between those classes is verboten. It is only left to determine what kind of salute we will give to the despotic tyrant in charge of all this.

  8. In addition to the above astute comments, I hear substantial weakness in the entire CO2-means-global-warming case of the greenies in Herr Doktor Kriegler’s paper. There almost seems to be an admission that CO2 isn’t that big of a deal in the short run — and perhaps not linked to climate matters at all — and hence not worth the economic cost to sequester immediately, so why don’t we keep our grants and jobs by beginning to propose ways to manage and worry about CO2 in the future — while the public presently still THINKS it is a dangerous thing causing massive storms, rising sea levels, and general mayhem….even though we know it really isn’t.

    It’s the perfect “out” for the greenies: They get to appear forward looking, while at the same time slowly distancing themselves from predictions of the sky falling because of current CO2 emissions. The bonus is they still look like planet-savers by opening a new angle on all kinds of near-worthless “studies” and “reports”, thus keeping the cash flowing, but won’t get the albatross of CO2-IS-the-boogeyman hung around their necks, thereby preserving their credibility — what’s left of it anyway. Kinda clever. But still lacking science.

  9. More nonsense! Don’t these dolts realize that CO2 is not a harmful gas, that it’s not warming the world, and that the whole AGW scam is falling apart.

    The overall point is, however, that instead of responding to this goofy junk we should go on the attack. The AGW loonies have produced rafts of dodgy “studies” to demonstrate global warming. They then make a press announcement, but when the almost inevitable swat down occurs it never appears in the MSM. They are keeping us busy refuting their nonsense. Instead let us attack. Let’s use the obvious economic flaws in the whole AGW scam to make sensational [but true] statements about the real costs of the Carbon tax, the EPA rules, and the wasteful international meetings. The story hungry media will pick up the sensational stories, but since they are true they can’t be refuted. The warmists will be put on even more of the defensive then they already are and we will give ammunition to the media to question nitwits like Mann, Hansen, ect. Some of this is already being done, but I submit it is not enough to simply state the facts. We should use the warmists own tactic on them. Make the announcement of the facts more personal reflecting the true costs to individuals. An example: How about the true cost to the automobile buyer of all the mileage increases and the anti-pollution devices, not only on the pocketbook but the enviorment. What can be done with windmills with clever writing boggles the mind. The facts are there but the presentation is weak. Let us attack.

    We can also use the obviously far off predictions to make sensational headlines. By just pointing out how far off their past predictions are and extending their present forecasts to their logical conclusion we can again put theses fools on their heels. For example: Just how many people in the world really believe the seas will rise 30 feet by 2100. I wager very, very few. How many thoughtful people believe Al Gore an opportunistic scam artist.. I wager very many.

  10. I would like to present another view of this subject. I do not think CO2 is a problem, however there are problems with feeding the worlds population and with an adequate water supply in dry regions. The Israelis have of necessarily developed desalination to a practical level. We have a lot of land that would bloom with water in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas along with other areas. If the Government is going to waste billions on green energy and Carbon sequestration, how about we propose spending the money on something that may work for solving at least the real problems of food cost and water scarcity. If it also sequesters carbon that is okay with me.

  11. stan stendera says:
    April 14, 2013 at 8:27 am

    More nonsense! Don’t these dolts realize that CO2 is not a harmful gas, that it’s not warming the world, and that the whole AGW scam is falling apart.

    I agree.

    I saw a good response here

    http://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/506/

    dbstealey | April 13, 2013 at 8:42 am | Reply

    I agree with this post. And I would agree that CO2 causes global warming — except for the solid, unarguable scientific evidence that it doesn’t.

    http://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/506/comment-page-1/#comment-3286

    There needs to be far more such direct talk on the failed hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming and refusal to allow its proponents to move to move to inexact terms like ‘climate denier’ – which should be met with laughter at them displaying their ignorance by their use of language.

  12. CO2 removal can lower costs of climate protection
    Spend more money on a non-existent problem upon which we are wasting billions now, and that will save us money. Right.

  13. The analysis is performed in the coupled energy-economy-climate model…

    Thanks, read enough.

    BTW:
    How many CO2 has been removed within the last 30 years of funding and research?
    That’s a question I’d really like to have an answer!
    Bet the answer is: None.

  14. “… to hold the 2 degree line…”

    Not a problem, we’re already holding a zero degree line for over a decade.

  15. “If bioenergy plus CCS is available, aggregate mitigation costs over the 21st century might be halved. In the absence of such a carbon dioxide removal strategy, costs for future generations rise significantly, up to a quadrupling of mitigation costs in the period of 2070 to 2090. The calculation was carried out using a computer simulation of the economic system, energy markets, and climate, covering a range of scenarios.”
    They think they can model the economic system including energy markets out 100 years? Modeling it out ten years isn’t possible. For example, who planned on the shale gas development? How about the Japanese successfully extracting natural gas from methane hydrate deposits?

  16. I underestand that in Queensland $1 billion was spent building a sequestration plant that didn’t work at all – the CO2 came right back up out of the ground as soon as it was pumped in. Maybe the people whose idea that was should pay back the Australian taxpayer. Ditto for the wind and solar subsidies here in the US that have already blown $700 million and threaten to lose as much as $36 billion, with nearly all the sunsidizees technically insolvent and in real danger of complete collapse. Al Gore’s got deep pockets – methinks he should be the first to pay up. Then we can go after Mann and all the other blatherskites who have gotten rich feeding at the public trough while purveying their lies.

  17. Rick Lynch says:
    April 14, 2013 at 9:21 am
    I have invented a device that removes CO2 from the atmosphere. I call it a plant.
    #########################
    Perhaps you missed the part where they suggested afforestation. RIF
    Reading Is Fundamental.

  18. Sam Hall says:
    April 14, 2013 at 9:51 am
    “They think they can model the economic system including energy markets out 100 years? Modeling it out ten years isn’t possible. ”

    If you thought climate models are useless, just wait for our economic models.

    Germany itself is economically about the stupidest nation I can imagine. We’re in hock for 1 tn of the Eurozone’s debt. And what have we achieved with that momentous effort? 50 to 60% youth unemployment in South Europe. And 20 bn EUR a year of subsidies for solar panels in GERMANY, the cloudiest place on Earth. NO party opposes this!

    Germany manages to stay afloat by taxing its workers (like me) to the hilt;with a rabid minister of finances (Schäuble) who is now leading a charge against any offshore bank account owner, assisted by the opposition (SPD, socialists) ; they obviously want do out-do each other hoping that the most rabid one will win the election in autumn.

    When a German institution tries to give you economic advice: RUN!

  19. So, instead of spending 2 $trillion completely needlessly on “climate mitigation”, with CCS we might “only” have to spend 1.75 $trillion. What a bargain.

  20. “You don’t have to prevent emissions in every factory or truck, but could for instance plant grasses that suck CO2 out of the air to grow – and later get processed in bioenergy plants where the CO2 gets stored underground.”

    Why bother when the biosphere and been greening?

    Look, I would take their study with buckets of salt. There is no co2 problem; the only problem is with their failed predictions. See what the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research told us about milder winters.

    “Due to global warming, the coming winters in the local regions will become milder.”
    Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, University of Potsdam, 8 Feb 2006

    “Milder winters, drier summers: Climate study shows a need to adapt in Saxony Anhalt.”
    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Press Release, 10 Jan 2010.

    “The new Germany will be characterized by dry-hot summers and warm-wet winters.“
    Wilhelm Gerstengarbe and Peter Werner, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), 2 March 2007
    [ Source ]

    Germany has now suffered a record 5 consecutive colder than ‘normal’ winters.

  21. Chad Wozniak says:
    April 14, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I underestand that in Queensland $1 billion was spent building a sequestration plant that didn’t work at all – the CO2 came right back up out of the ground as soon as it was pumped in…..

    Some Australian states spent billions on desalination plants to prepare for a future of more drought. Then came the Biblical floods. The dams were full to overflowing and many plants were mothballed. These climate racketeers are wasting our resources that could be better spent tackling real problems.

  22. Another example of modeling garbage. Nature will continue to sequester at a rate two or three orders of magnitude more CO2 than anthropogenic emissions, and that natural sink rate is always changing. When the Arctic ocean isn’t covered with ice, it will absorb every bit of CO2 that is delivered to it.

  23. stan stendera says:
    April 14, 2013 at 8:27 am

    More nonsense! Don’t these dolts realize that CO2 is not a harmful gas, that it’s not warming the world, and that the whole AGW scam is falling apart.

    The overall point is, however, that instead of responding to this goofy junk we should go on the attack.

    How’s this for an attack ad / billboard?

    “CO2 limits—Brought to you by the people who gave you the 55 MPH speedlimit.”

  24. HOW are they going to do this? Drive to the nearest coal fired power station, or railroad that leads to one. Look at the length and number of cars of coal that is burnt. They will have from 3 to 5 trains like that a day. Get out your chemistry book. There will be TWICE the weight of CO2 produced by the burning of coal. That means two trains of DRY ICE would have to be hauled out of there for every train load of coal. One and one half trains of dry ice for the same size Natural Gas power plant. And that is dry ice. How expensive is it to make dry ice? How much energy does it take to make dry ice? OK, that is a bad Idea. Lets just compress it to a Liquefied gas. How many train cars of those like they haul LNG in would it take? How much would that cost? OK, bad idea again, lets just use a pipeline to the place where they do this sequestration. How much will this cost? THEN you still have to haul away something that is now twice the size/volume as the dry ice would have been? Are you getting the picture FOUR times the weight/volume of the original coal has to go somewhere and that is in the most compact form. The ides may work in a lab but it will never work in the real world. Any method they pick will double and possibly quadruple the expenditure of energy, i.e., fossil fuels, it is a loosing proposition.

    Do the people that think this is a viable method have any gray matter in their head?

    GO NUCLEAR = ZERO CO2

  25. I wrote (a bit upthread):

    How’s this for an attack ad / billboard?

    “CO2 limits—Brought to you by the people who gave you the 55 MPH speedlimit.”

    If Al Gore was a supporter of the 55 mph speed limit, his photo or name could be used in the ad.

  26. I have an idea: Instead of burying all that grass, why don’t we just grow food and feed the poor with it. But burying it in the ground is dumb.

  27. petermue says:
    “How many CO2 has been removed within the last 30 years of funding and research?
    That’s a question I’d really like to have an answer!
    Bet the answer is: None.”
    Fact is that there are 24 facilities that dump annually 6-7 Million tons of CO2 in the sea bed or earth crust around the World. One Norwegian facility in Sleipner gas field has annually dumped one million tons of CO2 since 1996. So there are already a lot of experience and also cost data on this procedure.

  28. Catastrophic runaway greenhouse warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 is conjecture and has been looking less likely (inverted hockey stick!) as time goes on. We’re still not back to the point where we can farm Greenland to the extent the Vikings did.

    There’s money to be made in the ‘carbon’ business; coming , going, or talking about it. What’s one more shot at the honey pot?

    I wish the pols would leave our CO2 alone, but there’s no power or profit in that.

  29. There is a fantic invention for removing CO2 from the Air

    It solar powered.
    Works in most enviroments
    Blends in nicely with the Landscape
    Provide a nice Habitate for wildlife
    Looks ashehtically pleasing
    Provides a source of Building material
    Can be used for outdoor landscaping
    Provides a place for children to play on
    Zero start up costs
    Very old basic simple technology
    No noise
    No polution
    No waste products except Oxygen
    Low maintenance
    Provides a source of Energy without creating extra CO2

    This wonderfull invention is called a Tree.

  30. These birdbrains urging a green bio-sequesteration program are a bit late and unknowledgeable. North America sports a public Park and Wilderness system, always expanding, in place since the time of Presidents Lincoln and Ulyses Grant, (Yellowstone National Park). The reserved bio-sequestration area is now more acreage than in the entire area of the original 13 colonies!. I live in a western State where almost 80% of the land has been ruled off-limits to humans and development, to serves other purposes, of which one, inadvertantly, is ALSO bio-Sequestration of CO2.

    As a consequence the North America continent is the largest NET Carbon Sink in the World and emits not a gram of CO2 on Net annually. The only serious scintific study to measure CO2 atmospheric emission and sequestration of the air mass over North America, done by teams of scientists at Princeton University in the early 21st century, affirmed that fact.

    The present way “official” CO2 emission figures are created, is to have the bureaucrats add up all the estimated emissions that citizens are required to file on CO2 estimated emissions forms. No one adds up all the bio-sequestration that occurs because, despite repeated urgings and threats, they can’t get the grasses, trees, plants and shrubs and the growing crops to file CO2 emission/sequestration forms. Nor can anyone tell wether variances upward or downward on their summaries is merely better or poorer reporting compliance; or genuine emission changes.

    The entire Western Hemisphere is a net CO2 sink. With CO2 emission on net below ZERO, why are we concerned with CO2 emissions in the new world? Let Eurasians play games if they wish, as there is net CO2 emissions there, but that should be no concern of us. Besides, according to the government CO2 emission reports, we have reduced (human) CO2 emisions to below the targets set by the crazies such as Dr. Hansen, PhD Astronomy, and set by the now expired Kyoto Treaty compliance targets.

  31. stan stendera says:
    April 14, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Boy, I agree it’s time and past time to go on the attack. Of course, the luke-warmist Mr. Manners types will deplore the incivility, but their counsel has had more than a fair shot. (How’s that working, so far? Received any notes of appreciation?)

    BTW, if you do any more posts on the subject, you’ll sound more impressive if you don’t write “enviorment” for environment. I know that’s how lots of folks say it, but that’s just lazy.

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