Chemical engineering, not carbon offsetting, is key to a low-carbon future

Chemical engineers already are hard at work to develop low-carbon technologies and carbon-abatement methods, said Simons, of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a professor at University College London. This means radical changes in how we produce and use chemicals.

The world is growing increasingly aware of the carbon problem due to better labeling of carbon emitted during manufacture, packaging and transportation of products. But labeling should also include future emissions.

“We must learn to produce chemicals using technologies that require less energy and produce less carbon if we are to have a real and lasting effect on the level of emissions,” Simons said. “If we're to… meet (UK) Government targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 60% from 1990 levels by 2050, we are going to have to do more than simply throw money at the problem under the guise of offsetting.”


Altho this is true in part, the thing that carbon offsetting (such as tree planting)does is increase the available number of sinks to absorb GHG’s in the atmosphere. To reduce the ppm of GHG in the atmosphere, we need to decrease the sources of GHG’s, and increase the sinks. If we only do one or the other, there will be a higher concentration of GHG’s in the atmosphere in the future, compared to what it is today. Ultimately, we need to have more sinks than sources.