March 16, 2019
Regular readers of this blog know that (1) I have some grave concerns about climate change and (2) the news in this regard tends to be pretty bleak.
But perhaps here’s a sign of better things to come. According to this article at cnn.com, scientists may be on the verge of creating an artificial leaf that can be 10 times more efficient than real leaves in converting carbon dioxide.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has numerically simulated various scenarios by which the planet can achieve zero-carbon emissions by the year 2050. Only in the most optimistic scenario can the climate target still be achieved: and this by means of immediate and drastic measures in all sectors (transport, agriculture, construction, energy, etc.).
To implement “negative emissions,” large quantities of CO2 will have to be removed from the atmosphere and stored somewhere in perpetuity. Large-scale forestation is one possibility, as is carbon sequestration at the site of power plants. If, additionally, the “artificial leaf” can be developed so that it can be deployed at a grand scale, we may be on our way out of this mess.