Emerging techniques to pull carbon dioxide from the air and store it away to stabilize the climate may become increasingly important as the planet tips into a state of potentially dangerous warming, researchers from Columbia University’s Earth Institute argue in a paper out this week.
The upfront costs of directly taking carbon out of the air will likely be expensive, but such technology may well become cheaper as it develops and becomes more widely used, and cost should not be a deterrent to developing such a potentially valuable tool, the authors said.
The techniques would address sources of CO2 that other types of carbon capture and storage cannot, and have the potential to even lower the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere — significant because the world may already have crossed beyond the point where the climate can be stabilized by just limiting emissions.
“The field of carbon sequestration, the field of capture and storage as a community is too timid when it comes to new ideas,” said lead author Klaus Lackner, director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy. “You cannot rule out new technology simply because the current implementation is too expensive.”
How about we rule it out because wasting a magnificent environmental resource is a seriously stupid thing to do?