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CO2 Emissions flat line but there's more work to be done!

Of recent years it has been hard to come across good news with regards to climate change and global emissions, but in March, 2017 there was room for some cautious optimism. The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that global CO2 emissions have not increased for three years in a row even though the economy has grown by 3.1%.

The biggest reduction in CO2 emissions was in the United States, where there was a 3% reduction. China, the world’s biggest producers of CO2 emissions also reduced emissions by 1%. The IEA have put this flat lining of CO2 emissions down to increased renewable energy generation, as well as a move away from coal to natural gas usage in industry. Improvements in energy efficiency were also cited as a reason for CO2 emissions not increasing.

Chimney climate change

Despite the optimism, Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive Director, said that “it is too soon to say global emissions have definitely peaked”. Whilst is is a good sign, the IEA cautioned that even though CO2 emissions seemed to have flatlined, it is not enough to limit global temperature rises to below 2C above pre-industrial levels, which is the globally agreed target. With many emerging economies in increasing need of power in order to develop, development of technology that reduced emissions and utilises renewable energy to reduce CO2 emissions while emerging economies develop.

Renewable energy will contribute to the solution. Many emerging economies have access to a wealth of potential solar, hydro and wind energy, but during peak electricity consumption periods, as well as during the night, renewables are often not able to meet the commercial or household demand. Storage of renewable energy has proven to be inefficient and even technology from Tesla is not able to effectively meet the demand of industry. Power-to-Gas and Power-to-liquid technology is one solution. With the technology of Climeworks, which can efficiently filter CO2 from the atmosphere anywhere in the world, using renewable energy, as well as a technique created by Sunfire, to use renewable energy, water and CO2 to create liquid or gas fuel, the power deficit during the night and peak periods can be met with 0 net CO2 emissions.

This technology utilises renewable energies to turn CO2 from the air into fuel. When the fuel is burnt, the CO2 released into the air contains no fossil fuel. The huge deficit between supply and demand of power in Africa could be great news for firms that are developing technology that create synthetic fuels using renewable energy.




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