What exactly is unabated emissions and do we really need a fossil fuel phase-out?

An oil refinery under a cloudy sky, operating on unabated fossil fuels.
Image credit:Patrick Hendry via Unsplash

Our episode today is about one of the most controversial topics at COP28 – abated fossil fuels through carbon capture storage technology.

At COP28, COP president Sultan Al Jaber claimed there is no science behind fossil fuel phaseout. At a press conference, IPCC chair Jim Skea said that in 1.5C-compatible scenarios “by 2050, fossil fuel use is greatly reduced and unabated coal use is completely phased out.” He added that oil use by 2050 is reduced by 60% and gas by 45%. According to Jim Skea, Al Jaber was “attentive to the science” and “fully understood it”.

Understandably, this has caused some confusion about what abated/unabated fossil fuels.  So, what is abated/unabated fossil fuel and what is the role of CCS and CDR in all of this? Our guests today are Harry Smith and Nem Vaughan.

Harry Smith is a PhD Researcher on the climate governance of carbon dioxide removal, and part of the Critical Decade for Climate Change Programme with the Leverhulme Trust at UEA.

Dr. Nem Vaughan is an Associate Professor of Climate Change whose research is focussed on carbon dioxide removal and its role in mitigating climate change.

Music by Ben Sound






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