Enough Greenwashing: To Fix Climate, Big Finance And Gov’t Need To Get In The Game

This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1362700

Sheesh, on that one hilltop alone there must be 5000 dead bald eagles strewn about the ground.

Long term, carbon capture means oil and gas companies will either have to pass the additional costs on to consumers at the pump or Americans will have to foot the bill with tax credits.

You mean much like the solar and wind turbines are subsidized by the taxpayer now? And they have been for over 25 years. But if they can do CCS economically, I’m all for it. I can’t think of any logical reason to be against it.

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My son’s PhD dissertation focused on carbon capture. He developed nanotubes lined with a chemical that attracted and absorbed carbon dioxide. Somebody, I forget who, is carrying on the research. He went off and got a law degree afterward, and now he litigates patents and intellectual property claims in the same field.

Elon Musk offered 100 million prize money to anyone who developed new, groundbreaking CCS technology recently.

I always wondered if it was possible to somehow use some chemical reaction/binding process to make CO2 out of a vehicle’s exhaust or smokestack more dense? It’s already like 1.6 times denser than air, but if it could be made to sink to the ground instead of floating up into the atmosphere, think of all the free fertilizer. Sure, most of it eventually ends up on the ground or the ocean floor after 20-200 years or so, but if we could speed that process up to days rather than decades/centuries…winning.

Added: Regarding Musk’s offer of 100 million, it probably entails signing the technology over to him so he can profit by it one way or the other. :grin:
I mean, he is speculating with buying a billion dollars worth of Bitcoins a while back.
Like he really needs the money.
China recently prohibited Tesla vehicles on army bases and is forbidding most military members from using them due to all the cameras.
Autonomous driving is many years down the road, he should forget about some of those cameras until the technology evolves.

I suspect for the Christian fundamentalists, they find it very evocative. Too bad they don’t treat it as reverently.


That technology already exists:

The problem is still the economics. Current carbon capture drives up costs above the cheapest renewable/green alternative. If you’re adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a gasoline car with carbon capture, then that electric car alternative is going to look much more affordable.

While I can’t rule out that researchers will develop the magical minimal-extra cost CCS solution tomorrow, current investments in CCS are a classic case of throwing good money after bad.

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I’m not talking about having it captured and stored. I’m talking about something that may be impossible, making a gas dense enough to sink instead of rising.

From a climate change perspective, you can pretty much assume any carbon that is emitted as a gas (e.g. CO2, Methane, etc) eventually makes it into the atmosphere enough to contribute to the greenhouse effect. It may take decades or longer to do so in some cases, but the timeframe only affects how fast the planet heats rather than stopping or reversing that heating.

In short, unless your turning that carbon into a liquid or solid that you can safely bury for hundreds or thousands of years, its going to contribute to climate change.

Nary a word, in this encomium to renewables, about what’s going to be used for “backup”. Nor was there word one said about nuclear power, which is the only “backup” that’s scalable and non-emitting. A conveniently hazy article that doesn’t really have a clue about where we’ll get reliable energy from in a non-fossil future.

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But the majority of CO2 in the atmosphere eventually makes its way onto the ocean floor (about 90% ends up there, the rest in the soil). Speaking of the ocean floor, did you know that commercial drag fishing nets scraping along the ocean floor release as much CO2 into the air annually as our entire airline industry does?
It also helps to acidify our oceans much faster along with destroying a lot of plant life down there.

Sure, some of the CO2 may stay up in the atmosphere for a very long time, if not forever. But the majority follows the carbon cycle into earth’s carbon sinks. If it didn’t, we would still have CO2 levels around 2,700 PPM, like during the Jurassic Period.
Or 7,000 PPM during the Cambrian.

They estimate that dinosaurs could produce up to 520 million tonnes of methane annually. That’s 5 times what our livestock emit now. And it being 20 times more potent than CO2, they could have help drive the warmer temps until that pesky little asteroid spoiled things. I’m pretty sure I read that methane changes to CO2 within 8-20 years once it’s in the atmosphere.

If I recall right, CO2 is already about 1.6 times more dense than air. I’m wondering if we could use some process to make it more dense. Keep it from getting up into the atmosphere in the first place. I can see that some high traffic areas in the cities may have a problem with it staying near the ground for an extended amount of time. But hey, we could do with less people in the cities…right?
Kidding, just kidding.

Then, it would no longer be CO2 but some other gas/compound.

Communities can fund their own solar and wind systems, it doesn’t take bloody bank money to erect green energy infrastructure.
If every town under 10,000 population built their own bond-funded solar/wind systems that produce power well beyond their own needs, they could sell it back to the cities.
But that would take community effort and too many of those bankers have “community” conflated with “commie” because they want the profit, not the progress.