The Most Surprising Thing I Learned from Finishing a Climate Change Course

There’s a lot of good knowledge packed into the SDG Academy’s Climate Change course. You learn about the science behind climate change, what the Paris Agreement entails, and which multi-stakeholder initiatives try to combat climate change. The one thing that was maybe lacking was a chapter on how climate change poses threats to individual businesses; in the form of reputational risk, funding risk and any direct consequences of climate change. (For a comprehensive discussion of these risks, please refer to Climate Smart Business Decision-Making.) The biggest eye-opener for me, though, was the realization that most IPCC scenarios include a form of carbon capture to keep the planet well below 2°C warmer than pre-industrial levels.

It is time to start the debate on capturing carbon directly from the air, now that the price of capturing a ton of CO2 has fallen considerably. Of course, there are numerous arguments against capturing CO2, such as:

  • it promotes coal-fired energy plants;
  • it distracts from a move towards renewable energy;
  • there is little support for storing CO2;
  • it’s better to stop producing CO2 than to capture and store it.

But the most persuasive argument that I can think of in favor of capturing CO2 is the realization that most of the IPCC scenarios include it to be able to limit warming to 2°C. Add to that a growing number of jurisdictions that either implement a carbon tax or a cap and trade system (and a falling price for carbon capture), and you have a possible business case for companies to start capturing CO2.

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