CO2 Permanence: Are We Being Distracted by the Quest for Perfect?
We discuss how many mission-driven climate investors are letting the perfect get in the way of the very good. Instead of working on expensive technologies that store carbon for 500-1000 years, we should maximize cheaper storage efforts that may only successfully store carbon for 100 years and make the bet that improved solutions will be available in 2123. We need to remove around 10 gigatons of carbon per year via non-nature-based solutions by 2050 to get to net zero. We are nowhere near this, and while the cost curves for capture will fall over time, it is not commercially viable for hard-to-abate segments to utilize carbon capture. Direct Air Capture (DAC) is pricy, and cheaper methods, such as biochar, are not yet scalable. The IRA is a tremendous help for US efforts to make carbon capture more economical, but we will require global support. When it comes to the technology of carbon capture, we need to focus more on cost and less on permanence. Kicking the can down the road for 100 years may be the “very good” we need.
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