Nah, it’s not impossible, but it’s not going to happen via a change in human behavior via reduction of consumption.
At this point, the fix for climate change is going to be implementation of environmental modification via new technology… You’re not gonna lower carbon content of the atmosphere via reduction of energy production. No matter what America does, it’s not gonna lower the overall footprint of humanity significantly.
The solution is going to come from things like carbon fixing technology capable of pulling carbon out of the air. And really, the beginnings of this technology already exist. I suspect we’ll see it develop more rapidly in the coming years. Given that some of the materials produced by such technology are valuable on their own, there may eventually be a profit motive for doing such stuff.
I don’t see how that is going to work, since we’re talking gigatons of carbon that would need to be removed yearly. Here’s an article that goes into a little more detail:
At this point in time, probably the single most effective thing that can be done that isn’t politically impossible is a robust carbon tax. Limiting temperature rise to the 2.5 degrees climate scientists advise is all but impossible, but there is still value in reducing carbon emissions (far more than currently.)
I’m not sure why there would be some upper limit on what we could remove. The only real limiting factor is cost… but if these technologies are also producing valuable materials like carbon nanotubes in an industrially useful form, then there’s little limit on how much you could capture.
Also, note an important part of that “gigatons” statement from your article:
The EASAC, which advises European policymakers, said these technologies have “limited realistic potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere” and not at the scale in some climate forecasts, such as several gigatons of carbon each year after 2050.
After 2050. That’s a ways out. Just because our carbon capture potential technology doesn’t exist at the level required to do the work yet doesn’t mean that it won’t develop to that level in the next 32 years. 32 years is a long freaking time in terms of technology development.
I suspect that such a thing would have extremely limited impact on the overall footprint of humanity. Certainly not enough to get the job done.
Ultimately, you’re talking about taxing energy itself, which amounts to a tax on… doing anything in the economy. It could help shift us to less carbon based energy, but it won’t get the job done on its own, and for the foreseeable future, the only real alternative is nuclear power, which tends to get massive pushback from the same people who are pushing to deal with climate change.
From what I’ve heard there’s still time to mitigate the damage.
If it’s a choice between 100 million dead and 1 billion dead (plug in whatever arbitrary numbers you like), that still makes it the most compelling issue in the world, or at least on par with nuclear proliferation.
I have a daughter that, knock on wood, will see what the world is like in 2110, so I have a vested interest in that world being as un-hellhole-like as possible.
This is inherently assuming a most optimistic view of the future, in which the global economy continues to show strong growth, and science and engineering is funded to solve the problem in a coordinated and effective way. As opposed to something like a global resource and refugee crisis, breakdown of rule of law and diplomacy, major global wars, and a modern dark age.