The Challenges of Decarbonizing Everything

Hanno Böck

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To stop the climate crisis the world needs to become climate neutral. But while renewables have made great progress, the hard challenges still lie ahead. In some sectors decarbonized technologies aren't even available - and a future zero-emission economy will require staggering amounts of electricity.

Solar panels and wind turbines can replace coal power plants, and electric cars allow driving without oil. But if we want to evade the climate crisis we need to get rid of emissions everywhere. Sectors like steel, cement, petrochemicals, and aviation are much more challenging to decarbonize.

The solution usually proposed is to either directly or indirectly move everything to electricity. However, the amount of electricity required to do this is many times the amount of electricity produced worldwide today. Some sectors cannot be electrified and will probably require carbon capture technology. And in the future we may need to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, which will require even more electricity.

The talk will give an overview of the challenges ahead on the way to climate neutrality - and why we will need much more electricity than most people realize.