Guest “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” by David Middleton
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
“The Winter of Despair”
The life-or-death race to improve carbon capture
The technology works, but we’ll need better chemistry and engineering to reach the scale required to avoid a climate disaster
by Craig Bettenhausen
July 18, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 26
Carbon capture isn’t about saving Earth. Earth is a wet rock floating through space; it doesn’t care if we drown our coastal cities or turn our farmland into desert. Rather, carbon capture is one of the technologies we will need if we want Earth to continue to be a tolerable place for humans to live.
In 2020, we sent 40 billion metric tons (t) of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere. We need to cut that number to 0 by 2050 if we are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If we don’t, the natural systems that keep Earth’s climate relatively peaceful and comfortable will start to tip. The shift will be chaotic, and the new normal might not be conducive to life as we know it.
To reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, we need an all-of-the-above approach. Efficiency improvements can reduce our energy needs, and renewable and nuclear power may eventually be able to supply enough electricity for our homes, offices, and cars. But nuclear power is expensive and lacks public support, and renewables are struggling to find the land they need to be deployed at scale. On top of that, activities such as aviation and iron smelting are currently impossible to carry out commercially without releasing CO2.
That’s where carbon capture comes in.
Chemical & Engineering News
Once you get past the breathlessly alarmist nonsense, it’s actually a fairly good discussion of the current state of CO2 capture technology…
“The Spring of Hope”
Carbon Capture: The Key Answer on Climate Change
By Dan Ervin
July 18, 2021
Hard as it may be for many environmentalists to acknowledge, a technology that captures carbon dioxide emissions at coal plants needs to be a part of a global approach to carbon dioxide reduction.
It is a remarkable paradox: At a time when the rest of the world is looking toward America for leadership in combating global warming, the environmental movement refuses to accept the only technology that could make a real difference in reducing carbon emissions from coal and other fossil fuels that are the foundation of the global energy system. Coal plants with carbon capture technology along with advanced nuclear reactors can reliably provide all of the electricity needed globally with little or no CO2 emissions. These technologies will work in almost any region in the world.
Coal is the world’s leading fuel for electricity generation, providing nearly 40% of the world’s electricity supply, and an even higher percentage in countries with fast-growing economies.
The U.S. cannot lead on climate by writing off coal or other fossil fuels. As Senator Joe Manchin recently said, “you cannot eliminate your way to a cleaner climate, you can innovate your way, but not eliminate your way.”
It’s absolutely critical that U.S. energy policy recognizes that American climate leadership will come directly from coal country and advanced fossil fuel technologies along with innovative nuclear reactor designs.
There is simply no credible way to address the climate challenge without becoming more practical about the way we generate electricity and the need for carbon capture. This shouldn’t be a secondary piece of the solution to reduce global emissions but rather right at the heart of the effort.
Dan Ervin, PhD, is a Professor of Finance in the Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University.
No matter how one defines “the climate challenge,” Professor Ervin is spot-on… Because, even if the threat of anthropogenic climate change is 99.7% fiction, the threat of regulatory malfeasance on the part of our own government is “a clear and present danger.” And the Harris-Biden Dominion is the the most dire “climate challenge” since 1975…
Coming Soon to a Gulf of Mexico Near You!
Meckel, T., Bump, A., Hovorka, S. and Trevino, R. (2021), Carbon capture, utilization, and storage hub development on the Gulf Coast. Greenhouse Gas Sci Technol. https://doi.org/10.1002/ghg.2082
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