The United States is offering grants and tax credits to help develop technology to remove carbon dioxide from the air. This is the most difficult way to deal with carbon dioxide, our greatest source of global warming.
Carbon dioxide is currently 412 parts per million of the Earth’s atmosphere. in 2000, it was 370 parts per million.
The mass of the atmosphere is 5.1480 × 1018 kilograms. That means that it contained 1905 x 1012 kg carbon dioxide in 2000 and contains 2121 x 1012 kg now. To get back to 2000 levels, which were way above what we had before the Industrial Revolution, we would have to remove 216 x 1012 kg.
The biggest plant to date captures 4000 tonnes (4 x 106 kilograms) per year. We would need 54 million of such plants to remove the excess over the year 2000 in one year. If you spread it out, you can do with fewer plants, but don’t forget that we are adding to the total every year.
Plus that carbon dioxide has to be sequestered somewhere so that it can’t get back into the atmosphere.
We need everything we can do to decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide. The bills passed by Congress last year do more than has ever been done before to deal with global warming. We need more. Which is yet one more reason to vote Republicans out of office. We can’t afford their culture war distractions.
Cross-posted to Lawyers, Guns & Money