The Myth of Net-Zero Emissions

The world continues to produce ineffective or impossible solutions to climate change, often based on non-existent or risky technologies. The latest of these solutions is "net-zero emissions" based on carbon capture and storage – a technology with more than a few shortcomings.

BERLIN – The emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas are heating up our planet at such a rapid rate that increasingly volatile and dangerous climate conditions seem almost inevitable. Clearly, we have to reduce emissions fast, while developing alternative energy sources that allow us to leave fossil fuels in the ground.

This imperative is almost shockingly straightforward. Yet climate change has been subject to so much political inertia, false information, and wishful thinking for the last few decades that we continue to see ineffective or impossible solutions, rather than an effort to address root causes. Often these “solutions” are based on non-existent or risky new technologies.

This approach is highly expedient, for it threatens neither business as usual nor socioeconomic orthodoxy. But climate models that depend on elusive technologies weaken the imperative to enact the deep structural changes that are needed to avoid climate catastrophe.

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