Brilliant idea to stop global warming: Shove all the CO2 underground

Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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U.N. scientists have a brilliant idea to stop global warming — redirect the offending carbon emissions underground.

In a report to be published Sunday in Berlin, and obtained by The Daily Mail, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposes the idea as a “Plan B” if governments don’t cut carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent before 2050. The plan would require an area the size of India to grow CO2 absorbing crops, and a ton of underground storage space.

Proper reduction of emissions would cost about four percent of global GDP by 2030, says the drafted report. But costs will spiral even higher if the goal isn’t met and more extreme solutions are needed, reports The Daily Mail.

This particular solution involves growing crops that absorb CO2, burning them in a power station, capturing the resulting emissions and storing them underground. The “negative emissions technology” uses an experimental system called BECCS, Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage, and has already been tested in the U.S. and Canada on a small scale.

The Daily Mail volunteers Britain as “an ideal place” to try the technology, since there are thousands of unused coal mines and gas wells that could be used to store the unwanted emissions.

The British government hopes to get 13 gigawatts of fossil fuel power with the carbon capture systems by 2030, reports The Daily Mail, but is skeptical about the potential of the BECCS system. British reps criticized the draft of the report and said it is essential that the limitations, uncertainty and scale of the project be clearly set out.

A sustainable energy expert, Joris Koornneef, told The Daily Mail an area about the size of India would be necessary to grow enough crops to relocate 10 billion tons of CO2, a third of the emissions reduction needed by 2050. Officials are also concerned about the safety and viability of the technology. It’s unclear if the CO2 could be stored without it leaking.

China, Japan and Russia have also said the prospects for this technology should be toned down.

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