Which is about what Myles Allen has managed to say here:
So the only thing that really matters for long-term climate is that we deploy the technology – carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) – to bury carbon dioxide at the same rate we dig up fossil carbon before we release too much.
Shell, in its latest scenarios, predicts that conventional measures will have only a modest impact on global emissions until about 2040, at which point rising concern about climate change will trigger a crash CCS programme, mopping up over 50% of extracted carbon in only a couple of decades. For the taxpayers and consumers of the 2040s – bearing the full cost, and risks, of such rapid deployment – this is the worst possible outcome.
It is revealing that Shell\’s scenario-builders envisage large-scale deployment of CCS only when it is made mandatory. Two of just a handful of demonstration CCS projects in Europe were recently cancelled, in part because of the collapse of the carbon price. But once you realise that CCS will be needed in the end, it would be far safer, simpler and fairer to mandate gradual deployment, so we can spread the cost over a couple of generations and provide time to evaluate and monitor the storage options.
Anyone who extracts or imports fossil fuels should be required to sequester a steadily increasing fraction of their carbon. The maths could not be simpler: we need to increase the fraction of carbon we sequester by, on average, 1% for every 10bn tonnes of carbon dumped in the atmosphere. This is one regulation, affecting a handful of major companies. The policy can adapt to rising temperatures by adjusting the rate. So start at 1% per 10 billion tonnes and plan to adjust the rate when, say, temperatures reach 1.5 degrees above preindustrial.
Sigh. We just don\’t know how to do CCS in an economic manner. So we cannot and should not mandate the use of it. This is picking technological losers again: we want to have any and all economic methods of dealing with climate change (economic being defined as where the costs are lower than the costs of not doing so) and no non-economic ones. So how does mandating the use of a non-economic solution aid us?