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碳排净零已经不够了,如今需要“净负”

碳排净零已经不够了,如今需要“净负”

Noah Deich 2021年10月01日
仅仅停止碳排放已经远远不足以应对气候变化。

位于冰岛的赫利舍迪地热电站,可以实现在地下储存二氧化碳的技术舱。 图片来源:BLOOMBERG - GETTY IMAGES

今年夏天,加拿大不列颠哥伦比亚省的利顿镇最高温度达到了121华氏度(49.4摄氏度),打破了加拿大的历史纪录。第二天,利顿被野火烧毁了。

利顿的悲剧充分证实了气候变化的真实存在。这个悲剧告诉我们,停止碳排放迫在眉睫,不然世界各地的气象灾难将越来越频繁,也越来越极端。

这个悲剧还告诉我们,仅仅停止碳排放已经远远不足以应对气候变化。碳污染已经在大气中存在了几个世纪。我们必须要开始清理以前工业活动遗留下来的碳污染,否则我们就会让自己和子孙后代——甚至包括那些生活在零排放社会的后代——承受气候变化的严重后果。

因此,我们必须从现在开始部署清除积碳的策略,直接从大气中捕获和储存二氧化碳。尽管有很多有潜力的解决方案,比如植树、农田土壤固碳、建造直接空气捕捉机等,但迄今为止的气候行动都忽视了清除积炭的重要性。因此,目前技术潜力最大的碳去除路径的成本是传统碳补偿方式的10倍至100倍,而且当前仅限于示范用途。林业和农业项目则一直忙于应付会计和监督问题,确保它们实际去除的碳和声称的一样多。

为了确保碳去除方案落到实处,我们可以借鉴当初推动太阳能和电动汽车等技术从昂贵的小众市场进入主流市场的方案策略。从20世纪70年代末起,政府通过资助技术创新、推出经济激励政策(包括联邦税收抵免以及州一级的监管指令),使第一代可再生能源初创企业在市场上站稳脚跟,最终仅仅用价格就击败了原来那些污染严重的企业。

碳去除能够如法炮制,通过注入新资金来鼓励创新、加快部署。在等式的这一端,对创新的支持已经有了一个充满希望的开始,这方面的国会预算最近从零增加到了每年9000多万美元,还涌现出相关的风险投资和慈善项目,例如价值1亿美元的XPRIZE。国会也有机会通过预算调整和基础设施一揽子计划改善等式中的需求面,比如通过提升45Q条款中对直接空气捕获的税收抵免,在美国各地投资碳储存中心等。

然而,光靠清洁能源的老一套可能还不够。清洁能源技术争夺的是电力和交通领域价值数万亿美元的全球市场,碳去除需要一个愿意为净化大气买单的买家——而没有比美国政府更好的客户了。

联邦政府可以在采购中鼓励碳去除。首先,政府能够通过“购买清洁产品”来提振碳去除领域的创新。例如,政府在采购中选择使用由减碳技术制成的产品(比如由捕获的碳制成的混凝土或商业地毯)的承包商,可以鼓励重工业部门的减排,推动对直接空气捕捉等碳去除技术的需求进一步上升到供应链上游。这就是循环碳经济的概念,将对各国政府和大公司的气候承诺产生影响。

但是,利用废弃碳创造循环碳经济应该是碳去除采购活动的起点,而不是唯一的重点。要实现净负排放,各国政府和企业都需要将碳去除作为废物管理的一部分,直接支付费用,作为针对其遗留的二氧化碳排放的补救措施。

现在已经有少数公司开始购买碳去除服务了,通过追寻它们的脚步,政府能够从一开始就为碳清除行业确立严格的碳核算和环境保护标准。政府还可以倾听来自环境正义和劳工组织的声音,制定能够保障工人和社区平等的碳去除基本政策。公民社会有理由担心会有不老实的企业以碳去除为借口拖延减排,但如果施策得当,政府的直接采购就可以确保碳去除主要用于清除遗留的碳排放。

俗话说:“种一棵树最好的时间是20年前,第二好的时间是今天。”气候变化就在眼前。但是,如果我们今天就开始行动,一起来植树,生产直接进行空气捕捉的机器,探索一切有望清除几个世纪来遗留下来的碳排放的解决方案,利顿遭受的气候灾难就并不一定会永远持续。(财富中文网)

诺亚·戴奇是Carbon180的联合创始人和总裁,这是一个致力于加速发展碳去除解决方案的新型非营利组织。

译者:Agatha

今年夏天,加拿大不列颠哥伦比亚省的利顿镇最高温度达到了121华氏度(49.4摄氏度),打破了加拿大的历史纪录。第二天,利顿被野火烧毁了。

利顿的悲剧充分证实了气候变化的真实存在。这个悲剧告诉我们,停止碳排放迫在眉睫,不然世界各地的气象灾难将越来越频繁,也越来越极端。

这个悲剧还告诉我们,仅仅停止碳排放已经远远不足以应对气候变化。碳污染已经在大气中存在了几个世纪。我们必须要开始清理以前工业活动遗留下来的碳污染,否则我们就会让自己和子孙后代——甚至包括那些生活在零排放社会的后代——承受气候变化的严重后果。

因此,我们必须从现在开始部署清除积碳的策略,直接从大气中捕获和储存二氧化碳。尽管有很多有潜力的解决方案,比如植树、农田土壤固碳、建造直接空气捕捉机等,但迄今为止的气候行动都忽视了清除积炭的重要性。因此,目前技术潜力最大的碳去除路径的成本是传统碳补偿方式的10倍至100倍,而且当前仅限于示范用途。林业和农业项目则一直忙于应付会计和监督问题,确保它们实际去除的碳和声称的一样多。

为了确保碳去除方案落到实处,我们可以借鉴当初推动太阳能和电动汽车等技术从昂贵的小众市场进入主流市场的方案策略。从20世纪70年代末起,政府通过资助技术创新、推出经济激励政策(包括联邦税收抵免以及州一级的监管指令),使第一代可再生能源初创企业在市场上站稳脚跟,最终仅仅用价格就击败了原来那些污染严重的企业。

碳去除能够如法炮制,通过注入新资金来鼓励创新、加快部署。在等式的这一端,对创新的支持已经有了一个充满希望的开始,这方面的国会预算最近从零增加到了每年9000多万美元,还涌现出相关的风险投资和慈善项目,例如价值1亿美元的XPRIZE。国会也有机会通过预算调整和基础设施一揽子计划改善等式中的需求面,比如通过提升45Q条款中对直接空气捕获的税收抵免,在美国各地投资碳储存中心等。

然而,光靠清洁能源的老一套可能还不够。清洁能源技术争夺的是电力和交通领域价值数万亿美元的全球市场,碳去除需要一个愿意为净化大气买单的买家——而没有比美国政府更好的客户了。

联邦政府可以在采购中鼓励碳去除。首先,政府能够通过“购买清洁产品”来提振碳去除领域的创新。例如,政府在采购中选择使用由减碳技术制成的产品(比如由捕获的碳制成的混凝土或商业地毯)的承包商,可以鼓励重工业部门的减排,推动对直接空气捕捉等碳去除技术的需求进一步上升到供应链上游。这就是循环碳经济的概念,将对各国政府和大公司的气候承诺产生影响。

但是,利用废弃碳创造循环碳经济应该是碳去除采购活动的起点,而不是唯一的重点。要实现净负排放,各国政府和企业都需要将碳去除作为废物管理的一部分,直接支付费用,作为针对其遗留的二氧化碳排放的补救措施。

现在已经有少数公司开始购买碳去除服务了,通过追寻它们的脚步,政府能够从一开始就为碳清除行业确立严格的碳核算和环境保护标准。政府还可以倾听来自环境正义和劳工组织的声音,制定能够保障工人和社区平等的碳去除基本政策。公民社会有理由担心会有不老实的企业以碳去除为借口拖延减排,但如果施策得当,政府的直接采购就可以确保碳去除主要用于清除遗留的碳排放。

俗话说:“种一棵树最好的时间是20年前,第二好的时间是今天。”气候变化就在眼前。但是,如果我们今天就开始行动,一起来植树,生产直接进行空气捕捉的机器,探索一切有望清除几个世纪来遗留下来的碳排放的解决方案,利顿遭受的气候灾难就并不一定会永远持续。(财富中文网)

诺亚·戴奇是Carbon180的联合创始人和总裁,这是一个致力于加速发展碳去除解决方案的新型非营利组织。

译者:Agatha

This summer, the town of Lytton, BC reached 121°F, setting the all-time temperature record in Canada. The next day, Lytton burned down in a wildfire.

The tragedy in Lytton is a vivid example that climate change is here. It shows just how urgent stopping carbon emissions is today, as failing to do so will lead to increasingly frequent and extreme disasters around the world.

It also shows that stopping emissions alone is a grossly insufficient response to climate change. Carbon pollution remains in the atmosphere for centuries. Unless we begin to clean up legacy carbon emissions from past industrial activity, we are sentencing current and future generations–even those living in a zero-emission society–to the grave impacts of climate change.

Accordingly, it is now essential to support carbon removal strategies for capturing and storing CO2 directly from the atmosphere. While a number of solutions hold promise–including planting trees, sequestering carbon in agricultural soils, and building direct air capture machines– climate initiatives have neglected carbon removal to date. As a result, nascent carbon removal pathways with the largest technical potential currently cost 10 to 100 times more than traditional offsets, and have only been deployed at demonstration scale. Projects in forestry and agriculture have struggled with accounting and oversight to ensure the carbon that they actually remove is as claimed.

To get carbon removal solutions off the ground, we would be wise to borrow elements from the playbook that propelled technologies like solar energy and electric vehicles from expensive and niche into the mainstream. Starting in the late 1970s, a combination of government funding for innovation and economic incentives (including federal tax credits and state-level regulatory mandates) enabled the first generation of renewable energy startups to gain an initial foothold in the market and eventually out-compete their pollution-heavy incumbents on price alone.

Carbon removal can follow this path with an injection of new funding to catalyze innovation and deployment. The innovation side of this equation is already off to a promising start, as Congressional funding recently increased from zero to over $90 million annually, and venture capital and philanthropic efforts like the $100 million XPRIZE have emerged. Congress has an opportunity to boost the demand side of this equation in the budget reconciliation and infrastructure package by increasing the value of the 45Q tax credit for direct air capture and seeding investment in carbon storage hubs across the US.

The clean energy playbook alone, however, is likely insufficient. Whereas other clean energy technologies are competing for trillion-dollar global markets for electricity and transportation, carbon removal needs a buyer willing to pay for cleaning up the atmosphere–and there’s no better customer than the US government.

Federal procurement can catalyze carbon removal. To start, the government can kickstart innovation in carbon removal by “buying clean.” By selecting contractors that use carbontech products, like concrete or commercial carpeting made from captured carbon, government purchasers can encourage emissions reductions in heavy industrial sectors and drive demand for carbon removal technologies like direct air capture further up the supply chain. That’s the concept of circular carbon economy, set to influence international climate pledges from governments and large companies.

However, creating a circular carbon economy focused on utilizing waste carbon alone should be the starting point for carbon removal procurement efforts, not the sole focus. Achieving net-negative emissions will require governments and companies alike to remediate their legacy CO2 emissions by paying for carbon removal directly as a waste management service.

By following in the footsteps of the small cadre of companies purchasing carbon removal today, governments can ensure strong standards for carbon accounting and environmental protection are embedded in legacy carbon clean-up efforts from the beginning. Governments can also ensure that voices from environmental justice and labor organizations co-create foundational carbon removal policies that advance equity for workers and communities. Civil society is right to worry about disingenuous actors promising carbon removal as an excuse for delaying emissions reductions, but done right, direct government procurement efforts can ensure carbon removal is used primarily for legacy emissions.

As the proverb goes: “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second-best time is today.” Climate change is here. But if we unite today to start planting trees, building direct air capture machines, and exploring everything in between that holds promise for cleaning up legacy emissions from centuries past, climate disasters like the one in Lytton don’t have to be forever.

Noah Deich is cofounder and president of Carbon180, a new breed of non-profit dedicated to accelerating the development of carbon removal solutions.

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