July 10, 2018

What is the Global Decarbonization Movement

Global Decarbonization

Global Decarbonization

Nations Around the World Are Working Together to Minimize the Effects of Carbon Emissions

What is Global Decarbonization

Simply put, decarbonization is the removal of carbon from a system… whether that be your engine or the atmosphere. Why does this matter? Many scientists, economists, politicians and citizens around the world are concerned with the annual levels of carbon emissions entering into our atmospheric system. Elevated levels of carbon in the atmosphere are thought to kick of chain reactions of events that lead to climate change, which in turn effects ecosystems, agriculture, weather patterns, and economies. According to conservation.org, “The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere, as of 2016, is the highest in 3 million years.” Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show data suggesting that 2016 was the warmest year on record for surface temperatures, surpassing for the 3rd year in a row the mid-20th century average.

The Carbon Cycle

Carbon itself is not a problem. It’s a chemical element found in nearly everything on the planet, from bones to charcoal to diamonds. The amount of carbon on planet Earth is more or less constant – neither created nor destroyed, so actually “getting rid of carbon” is not possible. Global decarbonization specifically refers to the removal of excess carbon from the atmosphere – the thin envelope of gasses that surrounds our planet and allows for the phenomenon of life to occur. Earthly processes that require carbon must obtain it from one place and dispose of it in another. This creates what is known as the carbon cycle – the various processes by which carbon compounds are “interconverted” in the environment. For example, carbon dioxide being converted into living tissue via photosynthesis, then returned to the atmosphere via respiration, combined with the decay of organic matter, and most recently, the burning of fossil fuels that emit particulate matter into the atmosphere and contribute to what scientists believe is global warming and climate change.

The Plan

Many of the world’s nations, specifically the European Union, have declared a massive reduction or removal of carbon dioxide from their energy sectors, declaring to produce their electricity carbon free by the year 2050. One effort underway to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions is through the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), a global collaboration among energy research teams who are committed to “Deeply reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their own countries… (and who are) predicated on taking seriously what is needed to limit global warming to 2°C or less.” Countries currently active in the DDPP include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States – sixteen of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitting countries. All of the countries involved are pushing for the creation of a net zero emissions system by the end of the century.

The Decarbonization of the Power and Energy Sectors

In an article in the London School of Economics and Political Science, it is stated that, “The decarbonization of the power sector means reducing its carbon intensity – emissions per unit of electricity generated (Often given in grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour). This is necessary to achieve the mandatory greenhouse gas emission targets set in the UK Climate Change Act, which requires emissions to be cut by 80 per cent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.”

The Bottom Line

It is believed that a gradual tapering of carbonization within the power and energy sectors is feasible by increasing the share of low-carbon energy sources such as renewables energy from geothermal, hydro, solar, wind, and others, as well as continued nuclear technology. Along with these renewable sources, capping greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel power stations through Carbon Capture and Storage devices is another avenue being explored. A shift toward cleaner burning fuels, electric vehicle technology, solar technology, and the conservation of natural carbon-banking environments such as rainforest ecosystems are also popular possibilities for continuing the effort toward global decarbonization.

Contact an SCL Consultant Today

In a wide range of industrial sectors, SCL is committed to being the number one logistics and solutions provider for the products that protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. We pride ourselves on remaining at the forefront of industry trends and technological innovations, and as the market continues to evolve, we are committed to providing extensive product and industry knowledge and total performance satisfaction for our customers. For information on how we can assist your fleet in choosing the optimal products at a competitive price, contact an SCL consultant today.