Month 7, Day 26: Once We Make Nanobots That Eat CO2 and Shit Diamonds, Our Problems Will Be Solved!

A CCS project in Billings, Montana has been shut down because of lack of funds. The LA Times ran the AP version of this fairly minor story, and since I was tired of decrying our failure to act on a climate bill, I thought I’d send them a little reality check.

It speaks volumes that a process that is “considered key for addressing climate change” rests on “a largely unproven concept.” The problems involved in economical carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) from burning coal are immense, and the technology is still in its infancy. It’s important to fund research and development in CCS, because it may lead to methods of removing carbon dioxide not only from coal plants, but from our atmosphere itself, where the greenhouse gas has built to dangerous levels. But it is both bizarre and tragic that we consider a yet-to-be-developed technology as an integral element of our response to an immediate crisis; if your house is on fire, you don’t have time for the fire department to invent a new kind of pump. There is an excellent way to keep the carbon in coal from entering the atmosphere: leave it in the ground. We Americans must radically transform our consumption habits, and recognize that our nationality conveys no inherent right to waste the Earth’s resources, further accelerating the climate crisis.

Warren Senders

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