Why India needs to unleash carbon capture to combat climate change

Climate change and decarbonization to net zero are perhaps the biggest challenges facing mankind; it is a challenge that transcends borders and requires the implementation of pragmatic solutions for controlling future temperature rise within 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Global man-made CO2 emissions are at about 37 giga-tonnes per annum today, with about one-third of the emissions coming from the industrial sector, consisting of steel, cement, oil & gas, petrochemicals, and fertilizers. These sectors are critical to the world economy for ensuring prosperity, material well being and food, material, and energy security. Most of the industrial sectors are very difficult to electrify and hard to decarbonize due to the integral role of fossil fuels, both as part of the process and as a source of energy. At the same time, global renewable power capacity has more than doubled in the last decade to over 3,600 GW. However, the intermittency of renewables requires either energy storage or fossil fuel based power support to provide continuous electricity baseload. Given the high cost of energy storage, fossil fuel (both coal and natural gas) based power generation, which accounts for another third of CO2 emissions, is expected to play an important role in the baseload power mix for the next few decades.