Climate Change

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

CARBON DIOXIDE: WHAT WILL WE DO?

Global warming is important, whether environmentally, politically or economically. Humans with absolutely no doubt have played and still play its part on increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere resulting in increased temperature. Approximately 6 billion tons of Carbon in the form of Carbon Dioxide is annually released, mainly from the emissions of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas (Hare 1997). Our dependence on fossil fuels might one day lead to our extinction unless we as humans remarkably decrease our fossil fuel diet.
Since fossil fuels are one of the major contributories to greenhouse gasses, the question that we can pose is how we will counter the CO2 emissions.
According to Dr. Nyong from Nigeria in a symposium of 2005, we as humans only have two options. The first is to mitigate and the second is to adapt. To mitigate is to control the greenhouse gasses to an acceptable level while the strategy to adapt imply an adjustment to the current levels of greenhouse gasses. Easier said than done-as sea levels and global warming would continue to increase even if immediate reduction of greenhouse gasses is orchestrated. However, it will be better to be late than never, thus necessary action needs to be implemented.
Adaptation is the most feasible option for Africa to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change (Nyong 2005). Africa is not a major contributor to climate change and their dependence on fossil fuels are far less than that of the developed countries.
With the mature technologies of developed countries, mitigation can provide the answer to both the reduction of greenhouses and the potential problems associated with global warming in the poverty stricken Africa.

The movie from ex-President Al Gore, “Inconvenient Truth” showed some glimpses of how we can go about to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. All that I could remember was the large storage facilities in the oceans where Carbon Dioxide are being stored. So what is CO2 capturing and storage?
Carbon Dioxide capturing and storage (CSS) is a process according the IPCC that separate CO2 from industries and energy related sources (Metz and others 2005). These storage and captured CO2 are then transport to a location, usually somewhere in the ocean or deep down in soil where it is isolation from the atmosphere for a long period of time.
Other mitigation processes are available but due to the proportion of CO2 to global warming, CSS as the potential to reduce the total Carbon-energy budget
Like mentioning earlier, the developed countries with their large fossil fuel or biomass energy facilities, their huge Carbon dioxide emitting industries, natural gas plants and fuel based hydrogen production plants can applied CSS technology for storage.

A figure in reference illustrates the effectiveness of Carbon emission plants to reduce greenhouse gasses as the available technology that’s on the market captures approximately 85-95% of the carbon dioxide (Metz and others 2005).
Most developed countries; I believe can afford these CCS technologies and really it up to them in particular to help the globe and especially Africa. As global warming will increase and the climate deteriorates from the norm, Africa will be the hardest hit and money from western societies will be no good anymore.

References:

Hare B. 1997. Fossil Fuels and climate protection: The carbon logic. Greenpeace International.

Metz B, Davidson O, de Coninck H, Loos M, Meyer L. 2005. Carbon dioxide capture and storage: Summary for policy makers and technical summary. IPCC Special Report. ISBN 92-9169-119-4.
Available from: http://www.ipcc.ch/meet/session20/finalreport20.pdf

Nyong A. 2005. Impacts of climate change in the tropics: The African Experience. In: Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change; A scientific symposium on stabilization of Greenhouse Gases: 2005 Feb. 1-3; Met Office, Exeter, UK

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