Not to be negative, but the carbon capture schemes discsussed here violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Likewise any mechanical scheme that tries to put hydrogen on CO2 molecules to make jet fuel. It takes significant energy to split a water molecule to provide the necessary hydrogen and then you’d need to add 109 k-cal/mole to bond one hydrogen atom to one carbon atom. We don’t have that energy and if you suggest using renewables, then why not cut out the middle step and just power society with renewables instead of using them for this nonsensical grail quest.

One more point: the article is right, we don’t have the farmland to grow the trees and grasses needed. But we do have the ocean. Open ocean iron fertilization to prompt phytoplankton growth has serious potential. To start with, about 72 percent of the planet is covered with ocean, so there’s room. Also, there’s plenty of solar energy for the plankton to use to capture carbon and make carbohydrate.

Earth’s biosphere makes between 100 billion and 110 billion tons of biomass each year through photosynthesis; some of it feeds us. We could easily double that number using the ocean. If we did, in 10 years we’d have captured and sequestered as much as 1 trillion tons of CO2.

Now, all of the carbon captured would not stay sequestered, much of it would become food and enter the living part of the carbon cycle. This means carbon capture and sequestration needs to become a chronic solution to an acute problem. If you think about it that’s how we manage many diseases today. We take insulin for dibetes but we haven’t cured it. But the difference is nugatory to the diabetic.

Rather than publishing these fantasy stories about things that provably don’t work, why don’t we roll up our sleeves and do stuff that does?

Researcher, author of multiple books including “The Age of Sustainability” about solutions for climate change. Technology, business, economics.

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