Inel points us to a report by the IPPR, WWF and RSPB claiming that we can cut our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. My immeadiate reaction is doubt. Comparing their numbers with what I had from a previous post, I don’t see any reason to change my mind.
Inel, rather naughtily to my mind, simply posts the report without offering any comment, which is a cop-out.
So where do these people get their numbers? Fig 4 (p 14) shows that by 2050 electricity will be more than half gas CCS (carbon capture and storage), and most of the rest a mixture of wind and biofuels. Their estimates for wind are high but not impossible: if David Mackays figures are correct (and he is a professor of maths at a university of big sums) it corresponds to a wind farm 1 km thick all the way around the coastline of the UK. As to gas CCS… hmm. Will be still be able to afford to generate electricity from gas in 2050? Especially if we have to add extra for the capture? Coal CCS seems more plausible. But this is very speculative, there are ?no? operational plants at the moment.
So much for ‘lectric. Meanwhile, transport: fuel use in cars decreases by about 40%, whilst essentially all the fuel switches to bio-stuff. Hmm. Aviation is magically capped at its 2010 values, and… oh. Thats it. Wot about domestic heating. Oh: “zero carbon electricity replacing natural gas as the energy source for space and water heating.” More magic? ‘lectric only goes up by 200 TWh by 2050 to supply all this.
I’d like to see someone a bit more compentent… an engineer perhaps :-), take a proper look at their numbers.
[Update: thanks to MW for pointing out Vattenfalls plans. I’ll assume those are state of the art. In which case the Sota is that they are building a pilot plant, hope to have a demo plant by 2015 and a 300 MW commercial plant by 2020. Its good that they are doing it, but also clear that its at a rather early stage. Granted its not rocket science, and what is to be done is probably reasonably clear; nonetheless it seems unreasonable to be assuming this stuff will work economically just yet. Interesting note: rather than seperate out the CO2 from the waste gases, they burn the fuel in pure O2, so the output is nearly pure CO2. Then you need to find an old oilfield to dump it into -W]