One of the key pieces to the world achieving net-zero emissions is to be able to remove carbon from the atmosphere. However, currently, the carbon capture technology only works on a small scale.
That could change in the future, and probably will, but is it slowing down climate action?
Many climate change plans might be influenced by this technology even though it doesn’t really work at the right scale. And this is very dangerous as countries may be planning for a technology that might never achieve the necessary results.
At least in the limited time frame before climate change becomes irreversible.
Thus, while it could be a viable solution that is worth researching, it could also be a double-edged sword that makes climate plans fall short. Only time will tell, but the real question is, should countries continue to include them in long-term plans?
What Is Carbon Capture Technology?
There are two main types of carbon capture technologies.
The first is carbon capture and storage (CCS) which focuses on the industrial sector. This is the technology used to help mitigate emissions from industrial processes and power generation. It has the potential to capture 90% of all carbon generated.
The second type is carbon capture technology which focuses on sucking carbon right out of the atmosphere. It essentially works like a giant vacuum for the environment. They suck in air and remove the carbon dioxide molecules.
Both are still in their infancy, but as you can imagine, they could (and probably will) have a massive impact on mitigating emissions. In total, the industry is only worth $2.8 billion as of 2020. It is expected to nearly double by 2026.
Thus, many countries are including such technology in their future climate plans.
There’s A Very High Chance the Technology Pays Off
The fact that the technology already exists on a small scale is a great sign. Thus, it’s very likely that existing carbon capture technology will only get better in the future, but that’s the problem…we don’t know when.
And that’s really the big question because if it comes too late, we missed the window to fight climate change.
For example, if all businesses were required to utilize carbon capture technology, it would significantly reduce emissions from both regular industries and from electricity generation. In fact, the technology is already proven, the problem is the price tag.
Companies are resisting these changes as best they can, although there are exceptions. Yet, this really could save, or at the very least, prolong the oil industry. Thus, it’s kind of head-scratching for them to be so reluctant.
It’s also worth pointing out how there is a lot of funding from outside forces. For example, Elon Musk has funded a $100 million competition to help research into this very field.
In the end, we just don’t know how these technologies will evolve. They could easily surpass expectations, but they could also fall short. More importantly, climate change isn’t going to wait. We have limited time to make the necessary changes.
Therefore, while countries should invest in carbon capture technology, building plans around it is very dangerous.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.