Decarbonization seems to be the latest buzzword at the moment, like “sustainability” or “recycling” before it.

So, what exactly is decarbonization?

What Does Decarbonisation Mean?

Decarbonization means reducing the carbon content of something. It is most often used in relation to reducing the carbon content of fossil fuels, but it can also refer to other things like decarbonizing the shipping or building sectors.

To achieve this, in the short term, we must construct a CO2-free world economy known as “net zero.” In the long run, however, the ultimate objective is to build a CO2-free global economy.

Why Is Decarbonisation Important?

The burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas is the most common cause of climate change, therefore we must search for alternatives to decrease our reliance on them.

One approach to reduce CO2 emissions is to decarbonize the economy, which entails reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) released into the atmosphere.

What Are The Different Types Of Decarbonization?

There are three main types of decarbonization:

  • Optimize.
  • Electrify.
  • Decarbonize.

Optimize

Change in energy intensity (% decrease in energy use per unit of economic product).

Electrify

Generating electricity (% of total final energy consumption).

Decarbonize

Reducing the carbon intensity of energy sources (gCO2eq/kWh).

How Does Decarbonisation Work?

Decarbonization involves reducing the carbon intensity of an economy by replacing high-carbon energy sources with low-carbon or no-carbon alternatives.

This can be done through a variety of means, such as using renewable energy sources such as biomass, wind and, solar, improving energy efficiency, and using carbon capture and storage technology.

The carbon dioxide generated by the transportation industry can also be reduced through the extensive use of electric cars in combination with ‘cleaner’ technologies.

The carbon intensity of the power and transport industries will be decreased, allowing for net zero emission objectives to be achieved sooner and according to government requirements.

When Does Decarbonisation Occur?

The United Kingdom, France, and Japan have all committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

In order to achieve this, they will need to decarbonize their economies over the next few decades.

This means that we will see a shift from high-carbon energy sources such as coal and oil to low-carbon alternatives such as renewables and nuclear.

If it’s feasible, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology can be utilized to limit fossil fuel power plant greenhouse gas emissions.

With around 20 large-scale CCS facilities currently in operation worldwide and more under construction, CCS is a viable option for mitigating emissions from power generation.

Why is Decarbonisation Important?

Nations around the world have committed to keeping global warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels laid out in the Paris Agreement.

In order to achieve this, we need to drastically reduce our GHG emissions.

One way to do this is by decarbonizing the economy, which means reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) that we emit into the atmosphere.

Rapid decarbonization is becoming more necessary as the impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world.

Droughts, floods, and wildfires are becoming more frequent and intense, and we are seeing a rise in the number of extreme weather events.

As well as being a moral imperative, decarbonization is also an economic one. The costs of climate change are estimated to reach $14.5 trillion per year by 2050, and $69 trillion by 2100 if we do not take action to mitigate it.

Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 would cost around 1% of global GDP, but this is dwarfed by the costs of inaction. Decarbonizing the economy is therefore essential for both environmental and economic reasons.

Decarbonization Technology

The greatest impact on the decarbonization of cities is likely to come from advanced technologies that support efficiency in key sectors.

Green/cool roofs, dynamic/high-performing glass, and smart grids/smart meters all enhance energy efficiency and rank highly in our study’s impact category.

FAQs

What is decarbonization in steel?

By retrofitting existing steelmaking with basic oxygen furnace (BOF) decarbonization, it is possible to achieve up to a 30% CO2 reduction compared with the current industry average. BOF decarbonization removes carbon from the iron ore in the form of carbon monoxide gas, which can then be used as a fuel or converted into synthesis gas for other industrial uses.

What is decarbonization in chemistry?

In chemistry, decarbonization is the removal of carbon atoms from a molecule. This can be accomplished by various means, such as oxidation, reduction, or hydrolysis. Decarbonization is often used to purify organic compounds or to remove impurities from them.

What is the decarbonization of energy?

Increasing the share of low-carbon energy sources in the global energy mix is essential to mitigating climate change. This process is known as “decarbonization.”

What is an industrial deep decarbonization initiative?

The Clean Energy Ministerial Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI) is a worldwide coalition of public and private organizations that are attempting to increase demand for low-carbon industrial goods.

What do you mean by engine Decarbonizing?

Decarburization (or decarbonization) is the removal of carbon atoms from a molecule, such as an organic compound. This can be accomplished by various means, such as oxidation, reduction, or hydrolysis. The term is typically used in metallurgy to refer to the removal of carbon from iron.

Can we decarbonize shipping?

According to scientists, completely decarbonizing shipping would need a carbon price of $18 per tonne higher than the one required to cut emissions in half by 2050. According to University Maritime Advisory Services for the Getting to Zero Coalition, carbon should be priced at $191 per tonne on average.

What is the supply chain carbon footprint reduction strategy?

The first step in any carbon reduction strategy is to calculate your company’s supply chain carbon footprint. This will give you a baseline against which you can measure progress. Once you know your starting point, you can set targets for reduction and develop strategies to achieve them.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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