KOMMONSENTSJANE – Carbon Engineering’s pilot plant in in Squamish/ British Columbia/is designed to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. Climate Experts Say Vacuuming CO2 From the Sky is a Costly Boondoggle. The U.S. Government Just Funded It Anyway.


Carbon Engineering’s pilot plant in in Squamish, British Columbia, is designed to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Climate Experts Say Vacuuming CO2 From the Sky is a Costly Boondoggle. The U.S. Government Just Funded It Anyway


Alejandro de la Garza – 12/4/2021

Courtesy Carbon Engineering Ltd.

Steve Oldham has had a pretty good past few weeks. He runs a company called Carbon Engineering, which plans to build huge machines to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it underground. And last month, a pair of announcements from the U.S. government may have given his industry the public sector stimulus it’s been awaiting for years.


“‘Awakening’ is a good word,” says Oldham, characterizing the moment. “This is the first time they’re saying ‘the United States needs to do carbon removal on a large scale.’”

On Nov. 5, the U.S. Department of Energy threw its weight behind Oldham’s tiny sector, announcing a new “Earthshot” initiative to find ways to lower the cost of pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.

Ten days later, President Biden signed the country’s new $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, a small portion of which ($3.5 billion) will go towards building four direct-air capture facilities around the country. But for the fledgling direct-air carbon capture sector, that little slice of federal money could be a big boost.

“We’re going from tens of millions of dollars in R&D and earlier stage funding…to there being $3.5 billion,” says Noah Deich, president of Carbon180, a nonprofit that advocates for carbon removal as a method of addressing climate change. “That’s just a huge change in the conversation, and I think will have a really big impact in the real world.”

Most carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in use and development grab carbon produced by industrial sources like power plants before it enters the atmosphere. These CCS approaches (which also will get funding through Biden’s infrastructure bill) have a much longer track record than direct-air capture, which has long been seen by many experts as an ambitious idea but unlikely to scale to the point where it’d be worth the investment.

The direct-air capture hubs funded by the infrastructure bill would each be able to pull a million tons of CO2 out of the air every year, though the details of who will be building those hubs isn’t clear yet. Those projects will be similar to the scale of privately funded facilities planned by Carbon Engineering in the coming years. To make a dent in climate change, the world would have to be sequestering thousands of times more carbon dioxide than those projects will annually. But for Carbon Engineering, Oldham says the government funding is something of a confirmation that they’re on the right track. “It’s really crystalized for people at the company that what we’re doing here is very significant,” says Oldham. “Getting validation for that is huge.”

An artist rendering of Carbon Engineering’s planned direct-air capture plant in Texas, scheduled to begin operating in 2024. | Courtesy of Carbon Engineering Ltd.

An artist rendering of Carbon Engineering’s planned direct-air capture plant in Texas, scheduled to begin operating in 2024. | Courtesy of Carbon Engineering Ltd.


Not everyone in the climate community is glad to see the government sink public funds into direct-air carbon capture projects. JL Andrepont, a policy analyst at 350.org, says those policies amount to a giveaway to the fossil-fuel industry, which is simply looking for PR that will justify continuing to burn oil, coal and natural gas. The largest current use of captured CO2 is in that industry, with facilities injecting compressed gas into oil wells as a method of extracting more petroleum. “To say that we’re extremely disappointed with the [federal] funds put out for carbon capture would be an understatement,” says Andrepont.

“It’s essentially a scam.”

****

Not a new game in the world of Marxists’ politics.

kommonsentsjane

About kommonsentsjane

Enjoys sports and all kinds of music, especially dance music. Playing the keyboard and piano are favorites. Family and friends are very important.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s