CO2 removal to defeat Climate Change
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
We need new reconciliation legislation to address (in the climate change category) the neglected but vital, realistic, and quite critical quantity of CO2 removal or capture that will actually bring the earth's temperature back down to pre-industrial 260 to 290 PPM levels of CO2. Not only has a dozen or so articles been published by our institute (e.g., https://journalijecc.com/index.php/IJECC/article/view/30140 ) to address exactly our point with a 970 gigaton removal estimate (for the present 410 PPM down to 290 where 1 ppm=7.8 Gt CO2) but a recent issue of IEEE Spectrum ("How Engineers Can Disrupt Climate Change" (IF2.875), Pub Date: 2021-07-05, DOI: 10.1109/mspec.2021.9475392 ) outlines a 2000 gigaton removal of CO2 over 100 years to do it, since the world adds 40 Gt/year to the soup we live in! Contrary to IPCC, this is really the only way to eliminate the HEAT-TRAPPING GAS, which is heating the planet. Still, it will take about 2-3% of GDP from several wealthy nations to accomplish the goal of actually reducing the global average temperature by bringing CO2 down to what it was when I was born (with only 2 billion on the planet back then), besides the current push for renewable, non-fossil fuel implementation over the same period of time.
Many companies today are boasting a few million tons of CO2 removal per year. This is simply NOT enough to make any dent in today’s global excess of about 1000 billion tons of CO2 hanging in the air like smog. We cannot overemphasize the need for billions of tons of removal every year. Since it goes up by 40 billion tons every year, with minimal decrease expected even with a “high” renewable scenario, each decade makes the total that needs to be removed an additional 400 gigatons more out of reach. That is why the IEEE engineers shot for 2000 gigatons as the goal for a 100-year plan, with only 2.5 decades needed to stuff that much more CO2 in the upstairs locker.
We believe there are at least a few scenarios that can pioneer the proof of principle for billions of tons of CO2 capture and burial with a quick infusion of small research grants from this legislation. One such project forms carbonate rock underground and need to scale up its operation. If USDOE was going to bury nuclear waste at taxpayers’ expense, we also need to bury CO2 even more urgently.