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Climate Change Versus CO2 Capture Technology

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smokestack2.jpgAccording to an American Bar Association (ABA) newsletter on energy, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are rising at 2 parts per million (ppm) per year (the newsletter article cites: The discovery of Global Warming). On a comparative basis in the 1700s, CO2 in the atmosphere was at 290 ppm; in 1960 the concentration was at 315 ppm, and it has increased to 370 ppm today. The threshold to avoid catastrophic climate impacts is 450 ppm (35 years to critical at this rate).

As we can all see, there is no immediate relief in sight for reducing CO2 emissions and most likely our overall emissions of CO2 will rise as economies such as China and India continue to expand along with other country/economy infrastructure development.

In 2005, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report for policy-makers that outlines the critical issues, both benefit and impact, associated with the new CO2 capture technology. The report affirms that CO2 capture technology is both viable and necessary; in relation to this, the report also states that fossil fuels will continue to dominate through the middle of this century.

The ifenergy.com post FutureGen Generation Next Power explains CO2 capture technology and CO2 storage. Note that this article explains that there is an associated cost for the reduced emissions — in the case of FutureGen it’s about 10%.

Presently Norway, Canada and Algeria use industrial point source CO2 capture plants. New developments are underway in the U.S. as well as Europe. The potential for CO2 capture technology used in widespread application is estimated to be near an overall 40% capture of all global fossil fuel emissions.

The ABA newsletter cites that until a legal and regulatory framework is established the full potential of CO2 capture will not be realized. I agree without a legal/regulatory framework, the added construction/operations costs of capture plants make the use of capture technology attractive only from an emission reduction or a climate change standpoint and not from a consumer or business standpoint.

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About michael

  • Once the cost of removing CO2 is factored into the cost of production, the true cost of burning fossil fuels becomes apparent. Removing this environmental subsidy from the oil, gas and coal industries will make all of the alternatives, including capture, far more competitive, and the resulting market forces will drive the rapid change towards them.

    But adding a charge for using the environment means regulation, and making it realistic means oil-dependant economies will see their costs rise. It must be done as rapidly as possible without destabilising the world economy. This is a difficult balancing act and requires that the general public accept periods of recession and negative growth.

    A hard political trick, no matter which oil baron is in the Whitehouse.

  • PS

    Why is this under Sci/Tech? Surely it belongs under politics? Or would it be rejected by Mr Nalle?

  • Don’t mix the envirorment with “politics”. Politics is “you’re wrong I’m right”, tax, education, business etc.

    There is no right/wrong when debating the global warming issue. It’s there, and it needs to be taken care of.

  • In addition to capturing, we need to develop technologies to store and usefully convert the pollution.

    From crystal sponges to nanotechnology “cages”, there are a variety of options under research.

    Read some cool articles at What’s Next In Science & Technology: Storing Carbon

  • hi, thanks the comments, i re-posted the first three at ifenergy and the last one I bookmarked.