Negative Emissions Technologies, or NETs, are massive devices that essentially pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. The hope is to reduce the effects of climate change by eliminating as much carbon dioxide as possible. But, they’re not without being problematic themselves.
In a recent study of NETs, it was found that deploying these units can impact staple food supplies. This means the cost of basic food items could increase by five times.
In a world where many are trying hard to put food on the table, are these NETs a practical way to combat climate change?
And that’s not including the amount of water needed for some of these NETs to operate. In reality, the costs may be too great for any significant impact.
The Problem of Some NETs
This concern was brought up concerning the global impact to the south. This is because of how much land is needed as well as the water used to “scrub” CO2 from the atmosphere.
Instead, the land could be used to propagate agriculture.
And to meet the Paris Agreement’s standards to reduce the global temperature, several of these units are needed in various areas around the globe.
Thus incurring quite the steep price.
Air-Filtering on a Lesser Scale
At the beginning of 2019, the Bluestar bus was shown to have promise for cleaning the air we breathe. This double-decker, public transport not only has one of the cleanest diesel engines around, but was able to clean 3.2 million cubic meters of air in Southampton, UK.
In reality, equipping public transport with this kind of technology is probably more practical than large-scale NETs. For one thing, no landmass is taken other than the size of the bus.
Secondly, buses usually travel major routes. Otherwise, they would be pointless. And major routes are some of the most polluted because of the transportation methods most humans employ: combustion engine vehicles.
This means a smaller bus-mounted scrubber is directly cleaning one of the major contributors to CO2 emissions.
Unless these larger NETs were built within major city limits, they won’t be nearly as effective as they could be. But who would want to trade commercial landmass and lose profit to being able to breathe?
There Are Better Solutions than Land-Hogging NETs
I’m for any technology that can make it where I can breathe while going for a jog in the Denver-Metro area. But something as massive as these NETs might be somewhat grandious.
The technology exists that lets buses help reduce the impact of emissions. Why not invest more into rolling the tech out on a global scale?
I suppose what it really comes down to is money. Which method is more profitable to those in power?
It’s akin to road solar panels that have already been proven to work. That’s a blog post for another time, though.
Frankly, I’d love to see the before and after data of CO2 emissions after a major city like Denver, New York, or Washington DC, were to roll out these types of buses on a total scale.
But, that will probably never happen in my life time.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.