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Wagamaga OP t1_j3xox7f wrote

About a quarter of the world’s electricity currently comes from power plants fired by natural gas. These contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions (amounting to 10% of energy-related emissions according to the most recent figures from 2017) and climate change.

By gathering data from 108 countries around the world and quantifying the emissions by country, a McGill-led team, which includes researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, University of Texas (Austin) and the University of Maryland, has estimated that total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the life cycle of gas-fired power is 3.6 billion tonnes each year. They found that this amount could be reduced by as much as 71% if a variety of mitigation options were used around the world.

“We were astonished by how large the potential reduction in greenhouse gases could be by 2050, and even by 2030,” says Sarah Jordaan, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and the Trottier Institute in Sustainability in Engineering and Design at McGill University and the first author on the paper which was recently published in Nature Climate Change. “If natural gas is going to play a role in a low carbon future, even for a transitional period, there will be a need to improve efficiency in power plants and to cut methane emissions from natural gas production as well as to capture and store CO2.”


AllanfromWales1 t1_j3xqor5 wrote

CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) has the potential to reduce power station CO2 emissions considerably, but is only practicable if there's somewhere reasonably close at hand to store the captured CO2. Usually that would be a depleted natural gas field. Where no such options are available, CCS is not really an option. Transporting captured CO2 long distances to a suitable facility is problematic, as high pressure dense phase CO2 is extremely hazardous in the event of a leak from a pipeline.


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standarduser2 t1_j3zhczp wrote

With a few billion people trying to lift themselves out of poverty, there is no way emissions go lower in the next 50 years.

Unless like some Apollo program level funding gets put into building renewables while importantly spending equally big on hypnotizing the masses to believe they don't need a 2nd car, a 3rd video game console, a 4th TV, an extra room in a house.


grundar t1_j401weq wrote

> With a few billion people trying to lift themselves out of poverty, there is no way emissions go lower in the next 50 years.

Despite that, all major projections are that emissions will decline, and much more quickly than that.

In particular, the IEA WEO projects a 20% emissions decline by 2030. That's using the mid-range scenario ("APS"), since clean energy progressed much faster than even their most optimistic scenario from 5 years ago, and their mid-range scenarios have in general been the closest for fossil fuels.

The major reason is that the energy sector has has undergone a seismic shift in the last 5 years, with renewables accounting for virtually all net new power generation and over 100% of additional power generation expected by 2030.

A similar shift has started in ground transportation; oil-burning car sales peaked 5 years ago and are in permanent decline. Per their analysis, EVs will become a majority of light vehicle sales around 2030, resulting in a permanent decline in oil consumption (peaking around 2024 and declining 5-10% by 2030).

So, yes, there will be several billion people consuming much more energy in 2050 than now, but the available data strongly indicates that the energy they consume will mostly be clean.


Hypx t1_j3z90th wrote

We could've built nuclear power plants decades ago and drastically scale back our CO₂ emissions. But sadly humanity has been very stupid and chose much less practical ideas.


RonPMexico t1_j3y8bsq wrote

Yeah, figure out electricity storage at scale and then get back to me. People might pay 5% more for green energy, but they will not give up their way of life.