Carbon capture technology could be a key weapon in the fight against climate change, and researchers are now working on viable large-scale options for scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it over the long-term.
While the scientists have come up with many methods for capturing and storing carbon, policymakers, power companies, and manufacturers are lagging far behind when it comes to implementing meaningful changes to reduce emissions let alone shift to a carbon neutral midframe.
Some of the various carbon scrubbing methods include taking carbon emissions and recycling them to make a sturdy material that could be used in everything from concrete to shoes, along with scrubbing carbon emissions from factory or power plant emissions and storing them into the ground.
There are even developing technologies that could suck carbon out of the air using huge fans.
At our current rates, we’re adding around 37 gigatons of carbon into to the atmosphere every year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued stark warnings about how much more carbon our atmosphere can hold before temperatures rise more than 1.5 Degrees Celsius.
If emissions continue unchecked, we’ll use up our carbon budget in the next 22 years.
There’s no one clear answer to climate change. Slowing the impacts of climate change and reversing the course of global warming before temperatures reach a point of no return will take a major overhaul of our business as usual energy consumption and emissions.
Carbon capture may not provide all the answers, but storing more carbon into newly planted forests and scrubbing CO2 emissions from factory smokestacks is a start.
One recent study found that the globe fit up to 1.2 trillion more trees without encroaching on agriculture land.
We may be closer to large-scale carbon capture operations thanks to the passing of a carbon tax credit called 45Q by Congress last February. The tax credit gives companies $35 for each ton of carbon dioxide stored in oil and gas fields and $50 for carbon stored in oil-free areas.
Now companies have more of an incentive to store carbon rather than release it into the atmosphere.
Whether we scrub, plant, reuse, or store it, something has to be done with the large amounts of carbon we emit every day. With all the new promising advancements being made in carbon capture, hopefully large scale CO2 storage solutions will be a real-world possibility sooner rather than later.
By Kay Vandette, Earth.com Staff Writer
Paid for by Earth.com