Wednesday, September 19, 2018

It is time to tax Carbon emissions


There is a growing concern among the nations in the world about the changing climate due to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and the natural disasters associated with them such as loss of human lives and billions of dollars’ worth of damages in assets. Yet there is no political will or consensus among the largest emitters of CO2 on Carbon emissions at the peril of their own economy and the rest of the world. Paris agreement remains on paper, but largest emitters are either moving away from such an agreement or they continue to emit CO2 without any regard to their agreement. Unfortunately, such a situation has risen due to a scepticism among the public and politicians about the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. They believe science has failed to establish a clear evidence between GHG emissions and climate change. Secondly there is a fear among the public and politicians that complete elimination of CO2 will be a prohibitively expensive exercise and such expenses will be eventually passed on to the consumer and such a move will make the governments in power unpopular and it is a risk and they may lose their future elections as a government. Some countries such as US, Australia and many EU countries believe elimination of CO2 completely will lead to job losses and lead to closure of industries such as automobiles, coal mines, steel plants, cement plants and make the government unpopular. All these notions are based on an erroneous belief that it is impossible to eliminate man made CO2 emissions from earth without compromising an economic growth or risking high energy bills. CO2 emissions can be eliminated by simply converting them back into a fuel using renewable Hydrogen. For example, CO2 emissions by using natural gas such as combined cycle or cogeneration/ trigeneration plants can be recovered and converted back into SNG using renewable Hydrogen so that natural gas can be substituted with SNG. Such substitution will spur the growth of renewable energy industries such as solar, wind, geothermal and biogas in a big time while fossil fuel industries can continue their operations with Zero Carbon emissions. But this will be practically possible only if renewable hydrogen industry is suitably rewarded while penalties are levied against CO2 emitters. The market will take care of the rest of the issues and government can stay away from the politics of Carbon and allow industries to address GHG emission problems. Currently the cost of recovering CO2 from polluting plants is about US$ 75/Mt and therefore Government should tax polluters at least at the rate of US$ 100/Mt and pass it on to renewable Hydrogen generators @ US$ 100 /Mt of CO2 eliminated as an incentive. It will lead to a healthy and robust industrial growth, large scale employment and guaranteed sustainability. It will completely eliminate the necessity to store energy. At the same time, it can also help create alternative energy technologies such as batteries and Fuel cell etc and eliminate CO2 emissions from transportation. Renewable Hydrogen can supply energy sustainably and there will be no need for mining coal or exploring oil and gas to manufacture Nitrogenous fertilizers. Petrochemical industries too can continue their operations without CO2 emissions. The only requirement will be to design a plant for a pre or post combustion CO2 recovery and Oxy-combustion technology for fossil fuels. #tax Carbon emissions # renewable Hydrogen # Zero Carbon emission Advertisements