Alarming new study calls for an end to new carbon-emitting infrastructure construction

A new study is urging the world to abandon carbon-emitting infrastructure immediately if we want to achieve a zero carbon goal by 2050 in an effort to prevent climate catastrophe.

Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas that is causing global temperatures to rise, resulting in worse droughts and water insecurity as well as the destruction of habitats and causing many species of plants and animals to become threatened with extinction.

Earth scientists are already warning that global temperatures are going to reach and go above the danger zone.

Yet, nations are incredibly slow to react to the threat because they are still held hostage by a fossil fuel industry that refuses to die so clean energy technology can take over.

In fact, the fossil fuel industry is busy building new infrastructure that almost guarantees that dirty energy will still be around 30 years from now. The question really is, will humanity still be around?

Because a new study titled “Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target” is warning that we need to abandon carbon-emitting infrastructure immediately or else.

“[O]ur emission estimates suggest that little or no additional CO2-emitting infrastructure can be commissioned, and that infrastructure retirements that are earlier than historical ones (or retrofits with carbon capture and storage technology) may be necessary, in order to meet the Paris Agreement climate goals,” the study concludes.

If new infrastructure is added to existing, a total of over 800 gigatons of carbon dioxide will be produced over the next few decades, seriously hampering efforts to avoid reaching the 2 C degrees Celsius threshold.

“We need to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by midcentury to achieve stabilization of global temperatures as called for in international agreements such as the Paris accords,” lead author of the study and Earth science scholar Dan Tong told Phys.org. “But that won’t happen unless we get rid of the long-lasting power plants, boilers, furnaces and vehicles before the end of their useful life and replace them with non-emitting energy technologies.”

“Our results show that there’s basically no room for new CO2-emitting infrastructure under the international climate goals,” study co-author and Earth science professor Steven Davis added. “Rather, existing fossil fuel-burning power plants and industrial equipment will need to be retired early unless they can be feasibly retrofitted with carbon capture and storage technologies or their emissions are offset by negative emissions. Without such radical changes, we fear the aspirations of the Paris agreement are already at risk.”

This study should set off serious alarm bells around the world and spur leaders into taking immediate action to reduce carbon emissions. The cost is simply too high to continue using fossil fuels to generate energy. We need an energy revolution and we need the fossil fuel industry to stay out of the way or get on board. This is an emergency and our planet can’t afford for us to keep doing nothing.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.
 

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