God forgive them, because they don‘t know what they are doing – in spite of the fact that they should have known better by now? Hopefully someday responsible governance representatives intentionally or negligently playing SDG 13 measures into the hand of profiteers will have to face a judgement court to explain delinquencies on overall SDG contributions for tax-payers’ moneys! Whether on Earth or post mortem, they‘ll be in God‘s hands.
SDG13 effort to divert 5,000 Tonnes MSW a day from landfills is definitively a worthwhile initiative! But justifying all shortfalls of incineration by the production of Energy far beyond arms‘ length cost is neither a fair contribution to SDG 7 (affordable clean energy for all) nor does it respect SDG12 (responsible consumption & production). Having sat in my office downwind of Vienna‘s famous „Hundertwasser“ decorated incinerator for 10 years (of which luckily it was 6 years out of operation after a burn down) I at least know, where my asthma came from. My predecessor had to retire early due to severe asthma and my late partner having been exposed full 9 years there, passed away early by a never diagnosed primary carcinoma. Just as well as his common secretary with my predecessor did a few years earlier. Going by our personal cases I‘d say that incineration is a violation against SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing). The example from an UK installation in a lowland made unusable as cow paddock it further stresses SDG15 (life on land). Hence wherever poison traces and leaking volatile particles might cumulate, safety thresholds become a hoax. And woe betide if final sinks for filters and ashes aren‘t hermetically captured against ever leaking into water putting also SDG 6 (clean water & sanitation) at risk!
Incinerating 5,000 Tonnes MSW generates at international average U$0.5mln uncovered cost overruns a day, usually charged directly by all kinds of fees or indirectly in taxes to local citizens. For a scanty electricity yield it destroys MSW‘s otherwise recoverable Carbon content at circa the same expenses to prevent discharge of CO₂ into the atmosphere. Climate Action (SDG13) could hence double if SDG12 (Resource Efficiency) was respected! Because #CarbonRecycling makes Carbon replenishment by importing 2.5 barrel fossil crude oil per Tonne of CO₂ superfluous. In particular each kilogram catalytically captured physical Carbon from residues’ decomposition gas can substitute 2 liters of crude oil in refining. At fully charged MSW treatment cost of ~U$120/Tonne this could compete against U$40/barrel crude oil prices at arms‘ length.
At this year‘s average closing price (equivalent to the compounded mean of the last 3 years) that means for most countries to have unnecessarily paid out U$157/Tonne MSW for oil, that could have been substituted by recycled Carbon at U$120/Tonne MSW to keep National currency reserves in local money circulation creating new jobs and qualitative economic growth (SDG8). Not to do so required them to buy Petrodollars driving inequalities (SDG10) between countries. Foreign currency plunged into abroad oil wells plus at least U$100 ±20% uncovered cost overruns per Tonne MSW just blown into air in incineration regime-countries! Hence recycling Carbon could have halved total cost of supply for Carbon and doubled CO₂ offset. Once for not discarding Carbon into atmosphere and secondly by turning its re-Use Applications „Carbon-Neutral“. Plus it can afford to pay for proper waste returns best preventing leakage into terrestrial water circulation protecting life under water (SDG14).
#CarbonRecycling Technologies have been available since about 6 years. Canadian Enerkem being a Peer in Chemical Carbon Recycling, just less versatile in re-Use applications than Physical Carbon Recycling, has already rolled out its Technology several times. Nevertheless World Economic Forum applauds and „Green-washes“ the more of the same incineration game? This induces questions who may be who‘s best friends? Refuse derived fuel and waste incinerators are definitively a great grantor of survival for oil & gas generally governing all chemical sectors (including plastics) predestined to re-use recycled Carbon. Needless to say that oil & gas countries are among best customers for arms & weapons challenging world peace (SDG16). Newly received to the club are all providers of decarbonization Technologies not addressing Efficiency of Carbon in the cycle. Most symptomatically represented by “wind power to synthetic Methane gas [P2G]”, requiring 2.5 times the energy input of output for resurrecting unnecessarily destroyed Carbon under the consummation of CO₂ equivalent mass of water in addition. Just for comparison, a replacement of Natural Gas used by Europe through such synthetic Methane would require the amount of water needed for dietary irrigation of Europe‘s entire population to be pumped into the gas grid. Of course all utterly ineffective investments into such Climate Actions at do-gooder premiums going on top of existing double cost of an alternatively #CarbonCircular Economy are the best protection of existing industrial assets from being impaired for a long period going forward. Are that the interests World Economic Forum wants to pertain?