Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
What if carbon removal becomes the new Big Oil? (economist.com)
189 points by known 59 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 319 comments



Stopping and even reversing deforestation is the single most efficient form of CO2 reduction/capture we have available.

Deforestation rivals fossil fossil fuels for greenhouse gas emissions (up to 30% of anthropic emissions) yet it rarely gets talked about. Could it be because there is no money to be made in halting deforestation?

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/deforestation-and-greenhous... https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo671

On the fossil fuel side what we need is a large scale industrial use of CO2 that is not hopelessly energy inefficient. If such a breakthrough happens we could build gas turbine farms at gas fields and pipe the CO2 to industrial centers. Modern gas turbines are the most efficient form of electricity generation. The emissions consist almost entirely of H2O and CO2, some collateral NO2, and trace amounts of other stuff from combusted impurities.


My understanding is that reforestation, while being wonderful and helpful, simply doesn’t address the scale of the problem.

All forests today contain ~200 gigatons of carbon. Humans release ~25 gigatons of carbon per year. So DOUBLING the size of forests on Earth would just absorb 8 years of greenhouse gas emissions.

This made no intuitive sense to me until I began to think of the fossil fuels we’ve got underground as representing millions of years of forests “compressed” into oil / gas.


There's this pattern of:

- We should do "X"

- But doing "X" won't solve "Y"

- But "X" will help

- But "X" won't solve

- But "X" is necessary

- But "X" isn't sufficient

And I think the unstated conclusions are whether we should actually do "X" or not. I think the answer is usually Yes, we should do X (in this case, plant as many damn trees as we can), but I also think that's me arguing from an individual perspective and not a group psychology perspective.

Like, when people argue "but focusing on trees could distract us from addressing the entire problem", I used to just be dismissive of that, but I'm starting to feel like those objections should be taken more seriously - particularly having gone through this COVID debate where people focused so much on "flattening the curve" - which was necessary, not sufficient - that too many people signed on to gradual reopening just as the (high-amplitude) curve started flattening. If we had socialized a different benchmark, maybe it would have been more effective in the long run.

(But still, even if only in parentheses, plant trees.)


This whole argument is a great example of why we use prices and markets to decide on resource allocation instead of some other system. It's easy for people to cherry-pick evidence that their pet solution is the most efficient and to browbeat others into accepting that pet solution for non-economic reasons.

But when you have to attach a price to something, you have to essentially put up or shut up. Either your project is as efficient as you claim or you lose money. And if your project suffers from economies or dis-economies of scale? Prices can incorporate this information too. Prices keep us honest.

That's why a cap-and-trade system is the best approach for limiting and reducing carbon in the atmosphere. Put a price on the externality and the market will find a way to drive it down as far as it'll go.


Most often by avoiding paying for the externality.


I think that we should cast the widest net for possible solutions, but there does come a point where they need to be winnowed down to which solutions will have the greatest effect (without bad side effects) with the least time and material resources. It'll still have to be multiple solutions on multiple fronts, though. Planting trees should be an easy win where the ecology currently supports growing them without too much maintenance work, but some areas would require massive effort to revitalize. Nuance like that is important, and so I encourage everyone to take things a step further mentally each time you engage with these topics. Do some napkin math, read some studies, etc. The more people that do that, the more we can create working knowledge and solutions instead of just taking pot shots at various proposals.


Some of that work about possible solutions has been done by Paul Hawken. His Project Drawdown book is at least an organized and reasoned list of 100 possibilities. I attended a talk about one of them - marine permaculture arrays. This is a body of working knowledge developed over the past thirteen years, with new inventions being developed and deployed for growing kelp in the open ocean. What's proven is the ability of wave, solar, wind powered pumps to upwell cold water hundred of meters beneath the ocean surface, and irrigate kelp, doubling the growth rate. This is important because 93% of global warming goes into the surface layers of the ocean, cutting of circulation of nutrients needed by life.

What's proven is that seaweeds and kelps can sequester more carbon per square meter per year than the tropical rainforest. The idea is put submerged, autonomous satellite-assisted kelp platforms in the open ocean at scale, to farm for food/feed/fertilizer/fish or just sink the kelp into the depths to sequester the carbon for hundreds of years. (per UN research)

There is now a kelp coin, which might someday play a role in emerging carbon sequestration markets. At the moment, it is a fundraiser, crowd- funding style to help raise capital to get these to hectare scale. https://www.climatefoundation.org/kelp-coin.html This kelp coin is new, just a couple of weeks out.

It might take a decade or more to get to a gigaton of carbon sequestration. But it is also about food security and ecosystem regeneration. If you like short videos for information, try https://www.climatefoundation.org/2040-make-a-change.html


No. There are nearly 8 billion people on this planet. Figure it out.

This is a complex problem. Almost all solutions are worth trying. Most of them are going to be required. There does not need to be a winnowing of solutions. We just need to fucking start rolling them out.

I'm so over the argument that something won't be good enough.

No fucking shit.

Nothing is going to be good enough, nothing is going to be potent enough to solve how monumentally we screwed the environment up.


> There are nearly 8 billion people on this planet.

It is not a complex problem, this is the root cause.


If that number was rolled back to 4 billion (ethically, somehow) wouldn't that be sufficient to reverse climate change?


I don't think it's a given we can reverse or even stop climate change. There are many positive feedback loops going on right now.

AFAIK neither the Paris accords or any climate management proposals entertain the idea of stopping climate change.

Edit: positive feedback loops are things like the melting ice caps. Less sunlight is reflected back to space by the white ice which means more is absorbed by the dark sea. This causes the earth to warm and more of the ice caps to melt....

In climate science there is something called the tipping point. This is when mechanisms like positive feedback will make drastic climate change inevitable (with current technology).

When the tipping point will happen is up for debate. IMO the idea that we have already passed the tipping point is also up for debate.


People frequently try to say the right things to convince the "stupid sheep" people but nobody bothers to think of how to convince themselves. Activists typically believe what they believe for bad reasons so they aren't able to make a good argument for why they're right.

How about estimate the future cost of climate change and the cost of various measures to prevent/reduce it. Do they result in a net gain or loss? There's no point doing something will help less than it hurts.

It's hard to predict future costs but we should at least try instead of (incorrectly) pretending it's the end of the world and no expense is too great to stop it. People probably have a sense that some measures (like reforestation) might not be worth the cost but others consider any cost is worth paying if it does anything.


Any investment can be argued to be not worth it before the return is received. If you constrain the timeframe to exclude the timeframe of the expected return, then of course it won't be worth it. Point taken if you're talking about a sufficiently long timeframe, though.

Second, there's the behavior of the thing you're trying to fix. If you're accelerating towards a wall, you don't analyze the cost of switching to your current velocity. You're still going to get smashed apart by the wall. With Covid, people wondered if a lockdown is worth the economic cost compared to not locking down, without stopping to consider if no-lockdown's economic cost exceeds the cost of the lockdown, which is the bleedingly obvious reality. Comparing the cost of mitigating climate change over not mitigating climate change sometimes ignores we aren't in a static reality - the status quo is that we are accelerating in a direction that leads to higher and higher costs.

Finally, the return on an investment can change over time. For many people, planting one tree is obviously worth the cost of planting one tree. I've got space in my backyard, and I have seeds. It's a few square feet and it sequesters about a ton of CO2 over 40 years. I mean, that's a hell of a return on an investment, compared to not planting the tree. Now, that return will go down over time, as it becomes harder and more expensive for society to plant trees, several billion trees from now. But right now it's easy money. A US Citizen can currently offset their own carbon footprint by paying tree-planting services somewhere between $120 and $200 per year. That's cheap. It'll get more expensive over time until the point it's not "worth it" by some argument, and that can also mean that "the effort of offsetting the worlds carbon footprint through world reforestation isn't worth it", but that doesn't mean it's not worth it at first.


Ok I read the entire thread and I don't know where to plug my comment so let me do it here.

I recently drove through a road after a couple of years. On one side is Safeway and other shops - standard California shopping area - bigger than a strip mall smaller than a mall - not sure what to call it, and housing on the other side of the road.

Maybe it is bad memory but maybe it is real since I sort of exclaimed when passing through the area. The area used to be a concrete jungle but now they added so many trees that if you were not looking you may not realize you are passing a shopping area (of course I exaggerate but just a little). Not sure if they added 10 trees, 100 or maybe 200-300 (smallish ones not full size ones). I wonder if those things help and to what extent?


Cities are very small and expensive compared to the rest of the planet.


It's a different lense we need, this would be the argument: we should do x,x if we do it won't have enough effects by itself, it's better than nothing to have that desired effect, it's a step in the right direction to achieve the desired results, what we need to have is other people to also have the desired effect to do the same thing independently. The question is what is the effect and how much of a piece of the whole would it mitigate. Can the people who do decide to make a change in that one goal can they compare notes to improve on that outcome.

Tldr: do what you can based on where you are at your life and hope improves in the right direction, this applies to all things.


That's pretty much the problem, but I should also add that this doesn't mean we shouldn't do reforestation. It just means there isn't a single solution to a complex global problem (honestly, is anyone surprised? Why the fuck are people suggesting single solution answers to complex nuanced problems?).

We should be making larger forests, fill them with birds and animals (this is actually a difficult part if you look at huge man made forests like the one in China). But we should also use man made sequestration. We should also redevelop coral reefs around the world. Etc. A lot of people seem to be forgetting the heart of the problem. There is too much greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It doesn't matter how we remove them, just that we do (assuming the removal process doesn't do more harm, of course). Doesn't matter if it is natural (i.e. forests & reefs) or artificial (CCS), it needs to be removed from the atmosphere (and ocean). There's no "one size fits all" solution.


Bill Gates has reached the same conclusion. He’s funded carbon extraction tech that takes up a football field in size but does the job of millions of trees.

https://prepforthat.com/bill-gates-funds-project-that-extrac...


The added benefit of these is that you can directly capture carbon at its source. This is good since we know that emissions aren't homogeneous dispersed.


When I read The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley, I found it really interesting to read the history of fossil fuels.

Basically whale oil and trees were replaced by coal mining - which saved whales and trees! And if I recall the coal mining saved 5x the landmass area in trees cut down (not that that helped the british isles). And then oil saved lots of coal mine deaths and strip mining.

We just gotta keep going forward. I think it's unfortunate that modern safe nuclear hasn't gotten a place. I like that solar is getting a chance at development (helped via greedy power companies.. PG&E@48c/kwh).

and yes, plant trees.


Humans release closer to 35 metric gigatons of carbon per year. The increased thawing of the permafrost is releasing massive amounts of CO2, methane which is 80 times more impactful than CO2, and nitrous oxide which is 300 times more impactful than CO2. The oceans are warming and they are releasing increasing amounts of CO2.

Humans haven't been able to even slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, and now with the melting glaciers, thawing permafrost and warming oceans, which are all locked into positive feedback loops, it won't be long until the earth it's self will sustain the global warming pattern with no help from humans.

Between the oceans, the glaciers and the permafrost they sequester almost 2.5 times the CO2 that is currently in the atmosphere.

All we need is a technology that will capture and sequester greenhouse gases on a global scale to the tune of about 60 gigatons per year, this way we'll capture all the human released greenhouse gases, plus the emissions from the melting glaciers, thawing permafrost and warming oceans, and capture enough more so that we can eventually reverse the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations back to the early 1700's. Oh, one last thing we need to invent this technology in about the next 10 years.


> Humans release ~25 gigatons of carbon per year

~30% of which is from ongoing deforestation, unless the quoted ~25 gigatons is from fossil fuels only?


My understanding is that we’ve been net reforesting worldwide for the last few decades.


There are 200 gigatons of forest in the world. We net 8 gigatons each year. So in 25 years we will have no forest if all this is true. That conclusion is absurd.


These models are about as good as the covid ones!


Yeah, just through sheer arithmetic not all the parent comments can be right.


You're missing an important detail: forests don't capture CO2 just once (in the form of organic matter, e.g. wood); they also capture it continuously... Slowly turning CO2 into coal/oil over millions of years, which is not included in the count for CO2 in forests.

It's instead like a slow by-product of it; as if we had "fossil forests" underneath live ones, which several gigatons of additional sequestered carbon.

Doubling the size of forests on Earth would provide benefits that go beyond the simple, one-time CO2 capture you refer to.


I am not familiar with the numbers, but do they represent carbon trapped in the forest's plants or in the forest as a whole (that includes the soil as well). The latter has an accumulative nature in regard to the soil trapped carbon being a derivative.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that calculating how much carbon a forest can store, should take the throughput into account, not just the current total capacity.


You'll likely appreciate Jeffrey Dukes, "Burning Buried Sunshine", which quantifies fossil fuel synthesis and utilisation:

https://dge.carnegiescience.edu/DGE/Dukes/Dukes_ClimChange1.... (pdf)


There are for sure many other benefits of increasing the forested land, eg from protecting the soil to host a whole living ecosystem (from which humans can benefit from)

Not only reforestation helps with cleaning the air, but it tries to rolls back a (irreparable) damage we made to the environment during the last centuries.


> what we need is a large scale industrial use of CO2 that is not hopelessly energy inefficient

Unfortunately this is somewhere between hopelessly improbable and impossible, for two reasons:

First, our CO2 storage needs are in the tens of gigatonnes per year. At the highest practical storage density of pure CO2, one gigatonne is about 10^9 cubic meters - 400 times the volume of the Hoover Dam. There are simply no existing human product streams that are within even a couple orders of magnitude of being able to absorb that.

Second, CO2 is a waste product. Turning it into any other useful product will demand not just the energy gained from burning the fuel, but quite a bit more due to thermodynamic inefficiency.

There absolutely ain't no free lunch with regards to CO2 capture. It's perfectly doable but it's a pure cost that should just be government regulated everywhere ASAP.


> ...CO2 is a waste product.

If we could turn it to become a resource, perhaps it will be consumed out, just like the rest of resources we humans discover.

One possibility maybe applying photosynthesis, if we knew how to do it in a practical manner. We know that plants can do it, we know generally how they do it, but still can't replicate it.

With photosynthesis, the CO2 ends up in some form of sugar among other things. Where the hydrogen comes from water, and we want that hydrogen for energy.

Of course, as with anything done by humans, there's a danger of abuse. In such case, we could 'overharvest' the CO2 such that it could starve the plants, leading to oxygen shortage... And that's another doomsday scenario.

All in all, the problems point at the humans, so far Earth tolerates us.


Unfortunately, you can't just magic something from a waste product into a resource, particularly something like CO2, due to the second law of thermodynamics.

Carbon fixation is endothermic. It requires a lot of energy, and very specific conditions. Organic carbon fixers (plants & algae) are by far the most efficient way to turn CO2 into something useful, but they require sunlight, and there's only so much of that to go around.


> Unfortunately, you can't just magic something from a waste product into a resource

That's a semantics game... First thing that comes to mind is manure, turned from literally waste into fertilizser. It may not be a high demand resource, but with a utility nevertheless.


As a followup, here's an example of applying artificial photosynthesis process capturing CO2 and resulting in acetate.

https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/04/16/major-advance-in-artif...


> Carbon fixation is endothermic

The reaction of CO2 with silicates (to make silica and carbonates) is exothermic. This is why Earth is not Venus, with all the CO2 in the atmosphere.


CO2 is used in greenhouse farming to increase produce yield. The CO2 gets turned into vegetables. Unfortunately the CO2 will eventually be released again, after the vegetables are eaten.


The O2 content of the atmosphere is 21%. The CO2 content is 0.04%. If you removed 0.04 percentage points of the O2 from the atmosphere, nobody and nothing would bat an eye.

And photosynthesis, as well as any other capture process from air, has negative feedback. If CO2 content (technically, CO2 partial pressure) goes down, the efficiency of the capture process goes down faster.


A great deal of CO2 is absorbed by oceans, which is a moderating factor, but it has its capacity limit. If we tried to 'harvest' the CO2, the oceans may be a more valuable target. Marine plants process it similarly to land plants.

Sure photosythesis needs external energy to work, no one is suggesting a perpetuum mobile. The question is what valuable (to humans) product could be at the end of the processing chain, and how would this balance with the costs? The next question is how to make the process more efficient to drive the costs down?

If plants' process is the most efficient, perhaps it should be delegated to plants, then the humans need to find ways to supply the supporting elements, like soil, light, water.


Photosynthesis is a very inefficient process. It's efficiency is in the single-digit range. It is only worthwhile because the energy source is free and very abundant. And reforestation is only worthwhile because there are benefits to it besides carbon capture.


> Stopping and even reversing deforestation is the single most efficient form of CO2 reduction/capture we have available.

No it isn't. Reforestation might be the most aesthetically and ideologically pleasing option, but it's not the most physically effective one. Trees get you $25-$50/ton-CO2 removal costs; accelerated weathering gets you around $8/ton-CO2 [2]. Iron enrichment of the ocean can get you down to around $1/ton-CO2 removed.

Focusing on pretty solutions in harmony with nature will lead us down the wrong path. Every great thing mankind has done has been the result of science, technology, and industry. We don't fly around the world by stupidly copying birds, and we won't get control of the climate by sowing plants.

[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0485-x [2] https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/22/1004218/how-gree... [3] https://science.sciencemag.org/content/300/5616/67.full?maxt...


Cheeky human! Human technology is not great, it is childish and destructive. I say this as a fellow technologist dedicated to improving it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_tern https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_swift https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frigatebird https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoiadendron_giganteum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_longaeva

That 5k year old tree wants us to get out of the way and let the adults clean up the mess before everything dies.


Generalizing/ignoring details/bluntly, the people using the fossil fuels are rich and do it to buy more stuff/go on holidays more often. The people doing the deforestation are poor and do it to survive (sometimes in order to make stuff for the rich)

It doesn’t help telling poor people to stop deforestation, because they have no choice. The way to get there is by having the rich consume less.


...or the rich people could just pay the poor people so they don’t have to engage in deforestation? That money could be invested into other sectors of their economy, raising the overall standard of living?


That sounds like a solution that would slow deforestation and increase fossil fuel consumption. It also sounds a bit like having your cake and eating it too; the relative poverty of the people doing the deforestation enables the wealth of the people overconsuming.

Maybe resources should be heavily transferred from the rich to the poor, removing the ability of the rich to overconsume, and enabling the former poor to stop deforesting while living as efficiently as possible (although their carbon output would probably net go up.)

Maybe our economies could focus on delivering the most comfort and security at the highest energy efficiency, rather than on tricking the wealthy into throwing things away as quickly as possible after purchase and on maximizing the burning of gasoline and jet fuel.


How about a carbon tax which once collected is redistributed evenly amongst everyone. This way people who use the most carbon will be paying the people who use the least carbon for the priviledge. It also prices in the externality through the entire market so every individual doesnt need to keep track of the co2 use of every product and service they purchase which is extremely difficult.


Ideally yes but jn practice unfortunately it often is effectively pocketted by corrupt local government officals while trees are poached by the poor people. Tourism gets shit on for its travel miles but a nature tourist economy gives incentives to keep it clean and provides some local jobs even if they aren't the best ones.


The problem is that it doesn't address the root cause. Broadly speaking, there's two places carbon can be: in the biosphere or locked up geologically. Our fossil fuel emissions - by definition - came from geological deposits. We need to put them back into geological formations, otherwise when the trees we've planted die their carbon will just go back into the atmosphere.


Putting aside any quips about how our oil fields used to be part of the biosphere, I do think the current view is that forests are net carbon sinks, even accounting for decomposition.

Regardless, the time scale for growing and decomposing a forest is enormous and would buy a lot of flexibility in solving the problem more permanently if additional research shows them to not be efficient sinks long-term.


I hear this a lot, but does every bit of that really just go up into the air? Don’t trees often break down and become soil, and new trees grow on top of them?


Clearly dead trees have some carbon storage capacity, otherwise there would be no fossil fuels in the first place.


The research I've seen in popular media says a lot of the carbon from old trees comes from an era before microbes could digest them - so dead trees just piled up for a long time and got buried. That doesn't happen anymore.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/phenomena/2016/01...

"Ward and Kirschvink say that 90 percent—yup, 90 percent!—of the coal we burn today (and the coal dust we see flying about Beijing and New Delhi) comes from that single geological period, the Carboniferous period."


Do you have any numbers? How many square kilometers of forests should we grow to compensate for all CO₂ emissions?

Here's some hypothetical numbers. Correct me, if they are way off.

1 tree = 0.5 m³ of wood = 250 kg of CO₂.

1 ha = 10 000 m² = 500 trees = 125000 kg of CO₂.

Humanity CO₂ emissions at 2018 year are 33 100 000 000 000 kg. So you would need 264.8 millions of hectares (2.6 millions of km²) of forests to compensate for those emissions.

There are 38 millions of km² of forests on Earth right now. So even if we would double our forests (and that would be a truly tremendous task), that would buy us 14 more years of emissions (and that would not get back all the produced CO₂, by far).

It's not even clear if we would be able to keep CO₂ emissions not increasing in the future.

And there are only so much of land to plant forests.

I have more trust in some kind of phytoplankton. Oceans are vast. Those organisms can capture CO₂. Some of them will be eaten and some of them will die and submerge to depths where they'll keep that carbon forever. If they won't work well enough, future bio-engineering might fix that.


Go here: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions

Top are:

1. Reduced Food Waste Food, Agriculture, and Land Use / Land Sinks 87.45 94.56

2. Health and Education Health and Education 85.42 85.42

3. Plant-Rich Diets Food, Agriculture, and Land Use / Land Sinks 65.01 91.72

4. Refrigerant Management Industry / Buildings 57.75 57.75

5. Tropical Forest Restoration Land Sinks 54.45 85.14

The book / website consistently points out that the best reduction / capture mechanisms are related to food and industry first. Though being top 5 is no joke.


There's not much money to be made in fossil fuel phase out either... some, but overall it is a cost. Halting deforestation and reforesting aggressively would be a lot cheaper at the macroeconomic level.


Green energy is big business. There isn’t really a corresponding industry that would profit from halting/reversing deforestation.


> overall it is a cost

What does this mean? Seems like it is a cost from some perspectives and a positive from other perspectives.

From the perspective of green businesses, likely a positive. From the perspective of society, removing the negative externality is likely a positive.

The only cost it imposes is on those who were previously externalizing their costs on to society.


Carbon tax paired with a tax refund to every person would both save us from the worst consequences of global warming and stimulate the economy. It's hard to find a rational excuse for not doing it.

Planet Money did a great episode on this idea over 7 years ago: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/07/12/201502003/epis...

They did a followup 5 years later: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/07/18/630267782/epis...

It seems like there are too many entrenched players to make this a reality unfortunately.


I don’t think there is a single viable climate model that doesn’t rely on massive carbon capture. Carbon capture is one of many things we will have to do to avoid mass extinction.


Indeed. It won't be fast enough, but neither will we be fast enough stopping to emit. We have to do both.

I'm not sure it's possible to reach the goal of staying below 2°C warming anymore, but the degree to which we incur change and damage the existing ecosystems can still be limited. Seeing how little we've managed to reduce carbon emissions by, and given that there will always be some emissions, we indeed need capture methods; heck, even if it's just trees, we need something. We need some way to recapture the remaining emissions, whatever reduced amount we'll be left with in the end.

If you want to fund that sort of work today, Climeworks has a product where you can choose how many kg of CO2 you want to capture per year and pay for it. They have machines that indeed remove that actual amount for you, turning it into stone rather than something re-consumable. What they don't say is how much CO2e the building and operating of those machines emits and whether that'll be offset with said machines, but I'm happy to fund their technology either way. (I'm not affiliated with them in any way except having the subscription for about 1.5 years.)

https://climeworks.com

Other than tree planting organisations (which never seem to be able to convincingly promise that the trees won't be uprooted or burned for farmland before they captured the promised amount, especially given that the offerings are usually dirt cheap), I'm not aware of any other organisation offering products for consumers, so that's also why I'm arguing for people to give Climeworks money: if there's money to be made with it, more companies will start capturing carbon.


I dont agree with you, and there is a body of scientific evidence that is building that doesn't agree with you[1]. This evidence points to the most likely cause of mass extinction being changes to the sun and the environment of the solar system. In my opinion based on my research, if we are to avoid mass extinction, we need to be acknowledging the sun as the main driver of climate change on earth now and in the near future, not the emissions of our activity on earth.

[1] https://otf.selz.com/item/pre-order-weathermans-guide-to-the...


You're pointing to a book "authored" by a person who runs a pseudoscience YouTube channel and has no scientific training whatsoever. Please, start looking for information in less biased and more mainstream places - your worldview will be improved as a result.


Please go back in time and tell that to anyone whi changed the paradigm science. I'm sure Galileo would appreciate your viewpoint.

Ben Davidson is not a pseudo scientist and has plenty of training in the scientific method.

I'll start listening to you if can predict earthquakes as good as the community developed by Ben over at quakeqatch.net


You fat-fingered the URL.

Should be quakewatch.net

NOTE: I am not affiliated in any way, shape, form or fashion with that website and have no idea what they are peddling. I simply tried to visit the site and found the error in the URL.

I am a geophysicist though who watches the USGS mapview of recent quakes every day.

Going in now...

If I'm not back in a couple of days tell my family they're some of my favorite people.


Alright. I'm back after a brief dive into the site.

My initial impression is that this proves the old adage that even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while.

Their maps with the color-coded target areas are spread around the known regions of the globe where one would reasonably expect to be able to keep updating a prediction and eventually have it come true. (Stock market newsletter predictions are probably as accurate.)

I didn't watch videos yet nor did I read any of the papers that might have been linked since it was not obvious how to access any of that. The whole site is geared for believers in that you have to make an account as a predictor to be able to see any of the predictions that have been made and thus it is impossible for an outsider to gauge the accuracy of any of their claims.

If this is not true please correct me.


Took another dive and found that the main site showing what they are looking at and what they think they found is suspicios0bservations.org and if you visit that site you will find links to several other sites that have content related to their efforts.

I'll dive into some of this as time permits but for now I did watch a video from 2016 that outlined the data they are using and potential links they have found and papers published as a result.

I'll suit up, grab some coffee and dive into that later. Looks interesting so maybe not fair to compare it to stock market shysters at this point though the blind squirrel analogy will always be valid.



The consensus is wrong. Climate change is coming from the sun.


Sorry, that theory was properly discarded when it failed to match the observations.


"What if carbon removal becomes the new Big Oil?"

What if rainbow-horned unicorns become the new automobiles?

What if my wife finally succeeds in inventing dehydrated water?

What if zero point energy becomes the new electricity?

What if ... meh.

Someone once pointed out that if you wait six months to read it, the Economist magazine reads like pure comedy.

But this ... this is just Kubler-Ross denial. Very sad.


I wonder if carbon capture actually makes sense, not from an economic perspective but from an energy perspective.

One way or another you're spending a lot of energy doing it. Using fossil fuel would not make sense as it would add to the problem you're trying to solve. Considering there's not enough renewable energy for all our current uses, wouldn't it be simpler to just reduce, and convert more things to renewable as they come available, which we'll need to do anyway?

Once we have a big surplus of renewable in the future we could look at this again.

It sounds to me like a pipe dream, a promise of a 'quick fix' for a problem that has no quick fixes.

And to be honest in order to actually reverse global warming and prevent some of the future effects we're already locked in to, we'll have to extract so much carbon that I don't see this happening in the next hundreds of years.


I am by no means an expert here, but a couple thoughts back from my limited knowledge:

1) I don't think all carbon capture necessarily requires a lot of energy input. Planting trees is a more obvious example of this - of course, the trees rely on the sun's energy so it's not "low energy" in that sense, but we weren't going to harvest that energy any other way anyways. It's possible there are other solutions that are like that.

2) If we have an abundance of zero or low-carbon energy in the future that doesn't exist now, it might not matter that taking carbon out of the atmosphere uses more energy than the energy we got from putting carbon into the atmosphere to begin with.

To be clear, I really wish we'd just spend the money and take the sacrifice to use a lot less carbon right now. It certainly seems like a much easier problem to solve than trying to suck it back out later, and relying on it to work seems like a dumb risk. Even if we're confident that we'll inevitably need some amount of carbon capture and that the R&D will happen to develop it at scale, there's a good chance that it'd be easier and cheaper to put less carbon in the air now than to do more capture later.


I don't even think you need "a lot of sacrifice" to stop emitting so much carbon. The EPA estimates that energy efficiency could cut emissions by up to 20%.

The trick is that most energy inefficient buildings and appliances are used by poor people who can't afford to upgrade or maintain to the latest and greatest standards, and massive funding for poor people is a giant lightning rod at least in the US. I know that in a previous house my utility was literally paying me to replace my fridge and air conditioner to reduce peak power demand, but I have no idea how widespread such programs are.


The problem with efficiency is that it's usually not tied to reduction. We need people to have more efficient buildings and to heat and cool them less. We need LED lighting with no more lighting. So, https://www.treehugger.com/energy-efficiency/are-we-using-le...

Put simply: INDUCED DEMAND

Just like roads or computer hardware (every improvement in hardware can get eaten up by people no longer caring about optimizing software efficiency or modest file sizes: nobody needs their cute family videos to be 4k HD etc)… we can easily use up ALL the gains if we are let to just do that.

We use more efficient building technology to support homes being larger and more luxurious than we need. Defeats the whole purpose.

We need to internalize the costs. Heavy taxes on the source of pollution rather than subsidizing the clean-up or the use.

If energy gets MUCH MUCH more expensive, people WILL upgrade to efficient tech and keep minimizing their use of it.


Trees are not a great solution. Their CO2 storage is basically static in terms of the amount, once the forest is grown it won't have a huge net capture anymore. We'd have to raze them and keep re-planting to do that. Which has obvious nature impact.

But I agree with your comment. Preventing is better at this point, especially while we're still emitting (and will be for a long time). I view Carbon Capture at this stage basically as a decoy from big oil to keep doing what they're doing.


If you have excess energy you cannot use at that moment, it may as well be spent removing carbon from the atmosphere. For example, if there's a giant field of wind turbines that are experiencing more wind energy than can be consumed, and there also aren't enough batteries to store it for later.

Having a more connected electrical grid so that you don't end up in this situation would probably be ideal, like what you're suggesting with using green energy to replace carbon sources.


You're right that it's not at all a quick fix, and that it requires a lot of energy. But it is the only sustainable solution: if we want to restore a preindustrial climate we're going to have to put the fossil fuel emissions back where they came from.

So we're going to need a lot of surplus energy to do it, and it will take a long time. Which means that we need to start the R&D now, scale it up when we have surplus sustainable energy, and plan for the time it will take to execute.

Concurrently, we need to push through the sustainable energy transition as fast as possible, and probably also figure out how to reduce solar heating of Earth while we do carbon removal over the next century or so.

Welcome to the Anthropocene :)


I wonder if there is any point to go to a preindustrial climate though. By the time we get technology to the massive scale required to actually fix it, the worst effects will have already occurred. The climate will have already changed and we will have dealt with it one way or another.

Going back at that point will basically mean another climate change. One that will be mainly for the better but will again have impact on nature that will have adjusted in the mean time. It won't be a 100% positive. I wonder if that is really worthwhile. And if things will really get back to what they were; For one the arctic ice, would that build up again in the exact same places? They have a large effect on jetstreams so I'm not sure if things would really go back to the same way things were in pre-industrial times.

Also, in pre-industrial (and early industrial) times winters were really harsh sometimes. It wasn't all rosy either. I think around the 70s/80s the climate was the mildest though I didn't study it.


If carbon capture required unburning the carbon, you'd be right. But simply separating CO2 from air, or from flue gas, does not, in principle, require much energy at all.


I've read three articles talking about it on HN, but the science and models especially are shacky at best. Great models that will probably never work as intended.

Oxydes are really, really stable, and CO2 is one. Destroying an oxyde will cost at least as much energy as creating one, but in reality it's about 3 time the expense for C02.

The chemical/mechanical solution i've seen on HN[0] with olivine and tidal energy is quite interesting (that how ocean keep themselves from turning too acidic with CO2 capture), but while i'm pretty sure the chemestry bit is true, their paper is not peer-reviewed and i'm a bit skeptic about how fast the carbon will be absorbed.

It feel like it's nearly as much a silver bullet as fusion and ambiant temperature supra-conductor. So not big oil.

[0]https://projectvesta.org/


It will of course be cheaper to pump hydrocarbons out of the ground for a long time to come, but we have recognized that there's a problem with that.

"Energy use" is the wrong way to look at it, because energy costs vary massively. A lot of renewable energy effectively goes to waste because there is no economical way to capture and store it.


Back of the envelope calculation says that one gallon of gasoline makes 20 lbs of CO2 when burned. One hundred gallons of gas per ton of CO2. I have seen sequestration costs of $200-$500 a ton for current CO2 sequestration or conversion to fuel hydrocarbons. This would work out to a $2 to $5 dollar tax for gallon of gas. So this would take us to $4 to $7 per gallon gas to create a sustainable CO2/hydrocarbon economy. For a lot of people, this would be better than spending an extra $20K+ for an EV. Twenty thousand dollars buy a LOT of gas. Ten to 15 years worth for a typical computer driving 10k a year even with the added taxes. Plus, this might make some places like New York, more politically open to oil/gas pipelines and fracking etc to increase supplies because gas/oil would now be green.


Turning 8(?) pounds of gasoline into 20 pounds of CO2 makes absolutely zero sense.


2 C8H18 + 25 O2 = 16 CO2 + 18 H2O

Don't forget the weight of the oxygen that goes into the reaction.


I can't see how CCS (carbon capture and storage) can ever be viable economically. It's pure expense. Why would anyone agree to pay for it. And if we mandate it wouldn't it make fossil products way too expensive and therefore uncompetitive? They are already losing to renewables in some regions.

edit: I just don't see the logic in shitting around and then paying somebody to clean up the shit. It's much easier to just stop shitting.


Just like garbage disposal, we just regulate a market into existence and make co2 emitters or fuel producers pay for it.

If it reduces emissions by reducing fossil demand, that's fine too.


So you force people to pay for it, instead of people wanting to pay for it. That's the major difference. People want gasoline or gas. People don't want to pay for CO2 removal, because they don't get anything back immediately - maybe a slightly cooler planet and better biosphere 50 years in the future.


I think it's too strong a claim that people don't want it. They don't particularly want to spend money on it, but they do want it to happen. It's one of the things I think is really useful about taxes: they allow us to justify (to ourselves) spending we wouldn't on a case-by-case basis.

If someone asked me if I wanted to contribute to a new freeway in my city that I'm not going to use directly, no I don't, the marginal benefit to me is too slight. But I appreciate having sophisticated infrastructure, and when I see infrastructure spending on the budget, I'm more or less content with it.

By the same token I don't for example pay for trees to be planted for every ton of CO2 I generate, but I'm happy for my taxes to go towards addressing the issue. If someone asked me if I'd like a tax break on the condition that it came out of that line-item, I wouldn't.


I wholeheartedly agree! I think this is a stumbling block that all too many folks encounter and then give up on seeing the idea as a solution to climate change altogether, but there's a rather clever fellow named Klaus Lackner who frames the solution in precisely these terms. Air Capture is a waste removal problem with financially viable solutions today... It's really just about getting the right diffusion of cost.

I found out about him and his uplifting work through an appearance on the podcast Manifold [1]. But you can also learn about his research directly through ASU [2, 3].

Personally, it made me feel like the problem was far more tractable than I previously intuited.

[1] https://manifoldlearning.com/episode-040/ [2] https://asunow.asu.edu/20190429-solutions-lackner-carbon-cap... [3] https://cnce.engineering.asu.edu/


> People want gasoline or gas. People don't want to pay for CO2 removal, because they don't get anything back immediately - maybe a slightly cooler planet and better biosphere 50 years in the future.

I don’t want gas; I want some means to propel my car from A to B. I’ll choose the most economically practical option, gas being the currently most available one. I live in Florida, so the “underwater in 50 years” meme hits very close to my home: about 3km away, to be precise. Lots of people will see the incentive to use less gas, or to pay for carbon sequestration in the absence of a non-gas option.


[flagged]


Stop cutting part of my sentence to present it out of context.


Do people really use gasoline for heating and AC? I've never seen that. Also can't the rest of those things just use an alternate fuel.


Closest I can think of is propane. It's occasionally used for home heating and more rarely for refrigeration.


>Do people really use gasoline for heating and AC?

No. I meant fossil fuels in this case (specifically natural gas).

>Also can't the rest of those things just use an alternate fuel.

We currently have no alternative to fossil fuels for cargo ships and airplanes.

ryder9 [banned] 59 days ago

natural gas is used for heating, and for the time being it's more energy efficient to heat using natural gas directly than using electricity from generated from the grid which for me is a mix of nuclear hydro & natural gas


People don't want gasoline or gas. They're dangerous, toxic chemicals. People want these things because of what they get them. They want gasoline and gas because they want to go somewhere or heat a house.


Well that is what governments are for, no-one really wants to pay for tanks and aircraft carriers either. But politicians have managed to convince the public that it is in their best interest to do so.


Isn't a cooler planet in 50 years worth some amount of money?

Nobody _wants_ to pay for trash removal or a sewage system either, because they don't get anything back immediately—maybe a slightly less smelly neighbourhood in a few weeks. The only difference with CO₂ is scale.


It's hard to express how strongly my wife feels about wanting trash gone. She in fact often comes up with schemes to pay to get rid of it before the city will do it for free


Your city trash is free? We pay like $350-$450/year for city trash.


We rent so I think it's included.

Sunk is more accurate than free, though.


Depends on where you are. I'm sure Russians or Canadians wouldn't mind warmer weather.


Warmer planet does not imply just warmer weather.

The average of (4, 5, 5, 6) is 5. The average of (1, 2, 9, 9) is 5.25.


Are folks in Siberia big fans of the 100F days and the massive wildfires they've been having this summer?


Yes but they won't like all the second order effects that come with it.


While most Canadians would love warmer weather, we also are strongly against climate change. It is just such a bag of negative consequences for the whole planet.


Would they mind losing a lot of trade because other countries have to deal with climate change and hence can't spend more to buy Russian or Canadian products?


Rephrase the above as "so you force people not to destroy the planet for their own immediate gratification" and it seems more reasonable.

Laws and treaties ended leaded gas, atmospheric nuclear testing, and markets for several industrial chemicals with global impacts. Future archeologists will be able to date these legal constructs by the concentration of these chemicals, or radioisotopes, and their effects, in layers of rock and soil.


Well, that's semantics. People would currently prefer free gasoline too but are "forced" to pay for it or be called thieves and be chased by police.


People who steal things aren't just "called" thieves. They are thieves. In some cases, they can even get away with not paying for gasoline (or other things), not get caught, never get called a thief, yet they still are, definitionally, thieves.


> they still are, definitionally, thieves.

Depends on whether you assume the background property arrangements are valid. We call them a thief because we call this gasoline owned by this group of people we call a company.

Some other group of people might call everyone who buys gasoline thieves since they profit off of the negative externality they leverage on the rest of society.

It's all a matter of what you view as neutral and objective and what you view as a violation of others rights.


Yes, according to our current cultural conventions. It's all subject to rules we define as a society.


Is it a bad thing to force people who use a commodity to pay for its cleanup? A carbon tax or whatever.


I didn't say it's bad, but it's quite different from a product people actually want to buy voluntarily.

I think carbon emitters should be the ones paying. Otherwise you privatize the profits and socialize the cleanup expenses.


>I think carbon emitters should be the ones paying. Otherwise you privatize the profits and socialize the cleanup expenses. .

Isn't that exactly what the parent comment proposed?

>Is it a bad thing to force people who use a commodity to pay for its cleanup?


It sounds like you are saying it makes a difference whether a carbon tax is billed separately to you the consumer. I'm doubtful.

My impression is an economist would tell you that it theoretically doesn't matter that much if you tax the consumer or the producer. It's like US payroll taxes - does it make a difference how the tax is split between employer and employee? The real question is who is forced to absorb the cost, and theoretically that isn't determined by who pays from an accounting perspective - it's a red herring.

Often people insist without evidence that someone who will pay a tax can or cannot pass it through, whichever is convenient to argue against it, when the real answer is probably "it's complicated" and the entity taxed is not in control.

I think this is the Wikipedia page describing the phenomenon I'm fumbling at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_incidence

"The theory of tax incidence has a number of practical results. For example, United States Social Security payroll taxes are paid half by the employee and half by the employer. However, some economists think that the worker bears almost the entire burden of the tax because the employer passes the tax on in the form of lower wages. The tax incidence is thus said to fall on the employee.[2] However, it could equally well be argued that in some cases the incidence of the tax falls on the employer. This is because both the price elasticity of demand and price elasticity of supply effect upon whom the incidence of the tax falls"

I'm thinking this also is related to the recent political arguments over who pays US tariffs.


Yes people don't want to pay property taxes either. That's the point of taxes, to force people to pay for the externalities of their purchases. The carbon capture is a part of the gas price. The package recycling cost is a part of the product price. The only way to make an economy sustainable long term is forcing people to pay the true price for their purchase rather than forcing future people to subsidize their decisions.


Everyone is forced to pay for it because polluters created the problem.


Everyone makes use of polluting technologies.


Not to the same degree. Including the externalities in the cost would make sure those who pollute more pay more.


This is the point.

Using gas is like eating dessert first. This is just forcing vegetables as part of the equation.

There will be a carbon tax because people are too short-sighted in identifying long-term impact because - "It doesn't hurt me."

It does...you are just too dense to notice.


Hey now. The characterization at the end is uncalled for.

To your point, using gas causes externalities. We know how to address externalities broadly. But the political will is lacking due to anti science proponents.


So more like social security for the planet?


That's what governments do. Force people based on political process. Really, free market is more of a illusion than a model of how the world works (never mind what libertarians may fantasize).


You needed to have a counterpoint to people paying

For example: carbon-captured or carbon-neutral fuels have a tax advantage (or even subsidies).

The infrastructure around fossil fuels is big, if you can have a carbon-compensated equivalent to that it could be viable.


Garbage disposal has arguably made creation of waste more convenient.


This is a great point. Also related: garbage disposal isn't as lucrative as the business of making garbage.


> and make co2 emitters or fuel producers pay for it.

if only this was the case. I am afraid it will instead be subsidised by the tax payer.


This might also have the desired effect. Increasing the price of a product would make it less desirable. Unless those companies have enough power to lobby and keep adjusting regulations in their favor (hidden subsidies, additional roadblocks for competitors, etc.).


Either way we're spending more because free work doesn't come from nowhere. Mass carbon cleaning will drive the price up on everything.


Damage from climate change won't exactly be free either. We're already starting to pay those costs.


You mean we make end-users pay for it.

But your wider point stands: behavioural change via financial incentives.


In practice, both producers and consumers will pay, because demand for fossil fuels has some elasticity: higher prices mean lower sales. This yields an equilibrium at which consumers pay somewhat more, but also buy somewhat less, and producers eat some of the cost in terms of lower profits and lower value of their companies.


Yep. Until it costs $4000 a month to heat your home people will not stop doing it.


There are many good ways of keeping homes warm without fossil fuels.

The projected cost of ccs is much less than $4000/mo even for a oil heated home though.


Yup. Nuclear. It works for France.

But now they closed down Fessenheim so more coal would be burned. Thank you Greens, thank you Hollande!

https://www.sustainability-times.com/expert/a-safe-and-profi...


Since these [0] work in Scandinavia heating will only ever be a problem you choose to have.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_house


Your article says those houses still need heating, just less than typical.


Rather little, and with district heating it's a non-issue. You can make it a "plus house", producing more energy than what it consumes using solar panels.

My point rather was that living in a really old badly insulated house or a place with horrendous building standards is a choice, and that has to cost something and not be what we aim for when alternatives are easily possible and has been for decades.


Gasoline is now 40 dollars a litre.


Nope. 1L of gasoline produces 2.3kg of CO2 (3ish if you include production and transportation). That’s about 5.4 US cents in high quality offsets (CAD$24/ton on less.ca), or US$3/L for active carbon capture with today’s experimental technology (based on $1000/ton, can’t remember where I got this number or which currency it’s in, and it’s a year old)


Is this a reasonable estimate, or are you trying to dismiss something by hyperbole?


Is that a fair price based on how it damages the planet? If so, why not?


Gasoline is now 40 dollars a barrel.


Crude oil is 40 dollars a barrel. Gasoline is about 80-90 dollars a barrel (= 42 gallons).


Is it though?

Renewables that are popular now, like solar and wind, are weather dependent, which means the grid needs to handle variable input, which it's not designed to do and would need major fixing. Also means you need to store the energy for when it's not abundant, Germany does this by pumping water into mountain lakes to produce hydro on demand, but they've run out of lakes, so you need batteries. Batteries of a grid-size magnitude need carbon-expensive materials and have their own plethora of problems.

These two problems are only feasibly conquerable in a reasonable timescale by a few countries, for others they are prohibitively expensive, far beyond the small subsidies proposed in things like the Paris Accord. Now, sure, USA, Europe could implement these, but it's not going to fix the problem if Asia, Africa don't, and additionally it's going to add significant economic and geopolitical pressure between these nation-blocs, those who are hamstringing themselves and those who aren't.

Hydro has serious geopolitical issues as fresh water supplies grow more tactically necessary, consider Egypt / Ethiopia right now with the Nile, or China's tibetan plateau snow-seed cannons to capture water before it reaches India.

Tidal has extremely short lifespans, any moving system in salt water is difficult to keep going for more than a few years.

Geothermal is good, but also one of the most expensive and a bit of a "slow burner," not going to be powering anything serious with that without sinking billions into the plant.

The only real solution I see is nuclear, but that's a naughty word for some reason.


As near future sci-fi options go from 100ft up I don't see anything too problematic with hydrogen economy. Except for transport infrastructure.

Or, we remain with carbon based fuels, except they are synthesized from atmospheric carbon in regions with plenty of solar energy.

These approaches surely have challenges, but I would like to know what are the biggest ones?


Ammonia is more practical than hydrogen. Just not as sexy. Should be rebranded as the "hydrogen-nitrogen economy."


Ammonia has issues like being toxic and higlhy volatile.

I think DME has some potential as an alternative fuel because it can be produced through CO2-to-DME hydrogenation or by using syngas/manure and burned in cleaner diesels (no particulate emissions).


> Renewables that are popular now, like solar and wind, are weather dependent, which means the grid needs to handle variable input, which it's not designed to do and would need major fixing.

Non-renewable plants have variable output even if it is not dependent on weather, and the grid in fact deals with variations in total and per-plant inputs whether or not solar or wind is attached. If there are problems with that, the need to address them is independent of the use of solar and wind.


Not on the scale of "we need to move the bulk of the energy from Texas to New York for 3 hours, then when the sun sets shift state-level power supply routing from the cornbelt to cover the drop."

Handling a plant going offline is totally different from the logistics of shuttling variable regions of production across the entire country.


> Not on the scale of "we need to move the bulk of the energy from Texas to New York for 3 hours, then when the sun sets shift state-level power supply routing from the cornbelt to cover the drop."

Sure, but that's why you favor a regionally balanced mix of renewables, with regional peaker plants (which may not be clean/renewable, but are better than relying on dirty sources for your core needs) not geographic concentration of single sources.


> The only real solution I see is nuclear, but that's a naughty word for some reason.

I am sure that if you put your mind to it you can think of some reasons people might feel uneasy about nuclear power. It’s not like incidents involving it are that far in the past.


if you look up deaths by energy production method, nuclear is far and away the safest, in every single country by orders of magnitude, even wind is deadlier.


The claims that solar and wind are deadlier use cooked statistics (very old numbers for wind, and dodgy assumptions about rooftop solar that don't apply the utility-scale fields that are now dominating).


I'm not sure if "accidents" count as "cooked" statistics... modern nuclear plants are much safer than 20th century ones as well, so if we're updating numbers I think nuclear is still an extremely safe contender (and if you split nuclear deaths by country, USA is an order of magnitude again safer than all nuclear). Maybe I misinterpret what you mean by cooked though, I would be interested in reading more about it, if you have a good piece? Wind also relies on pizoelectric elements, I'm not sure what their carbon footprint is compared to nuclear fuel, probably would be less in the future if like CA/OZ stepped into the rare-earth supply chain.

And new types, like thorium salt reactors don't have classical issues like uranium waste products and much much smaller possibility of runaway reactions. And France has been "5 years away" from fusion reactors for like 30 years on a shoestring budget, with real money that could be a possibility in maybe another 30 years and also dodges all the horror-story problems.

Overall, I agree, modern solar, especially reflector-steam plants shouldn't be lumped in with silicon panels, especially when talking about total carbon footprint. But I do think nuclear carries a lot of unfair baggage that has kept us on oil for way longer than we should have been.


Right now yes. But we're creating waste that remains harmful for thousands of years and store it in facilities with a 100-year service life.

It's the same kind of "leaving problems to the next generation" of current fossil-fuel use except this one is a lot more generations away.


This isn't the case with thorium salt reactors or, if we had enough funding to finally crack it, fusion.


Renewables are crony capitalism. Without consistent government subsidies, incentives, grants, etc...they are not profitable.


No, renewables are public goods as they have positive net externalities, that is, a substantial share of the benefits of their use accrues to people outside the transaction. Well, relative to fossil fuels, at least; it's more accurate to say that fossil fuels are public harms with a substantial net negative externality.

Government action in the form of subsidizing the former and/or taxing the latter is necessary to internalize the externalities so that the relative net cost (benefit) is born by (accrues to) the participants in the transaction.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax


Fossil fues are subsidized because the users don't pay the true cost.


Yeah they are also directly subsidized.


Heres an example where economic benefits and carbon capture are aligned https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrogenic_carbon_capture_and...


Also (expert beginner warning) apparently soil fertility is a huge issue by itself due to heavy-duty agriculture being very depletive on soil quality.

On paper it looks like a huge win-win.


Yes. Crops themselves can also sequester carbon in soil. There is active research in this area, to tweak the genetics of common crops for deeper roots to increase carbon uptake and improve resilience to drought.


> Also (expert beginner warning) apparently soil fertility is a huge issue by itself due to heavy-duty agriculture being very depletive on soil quality.

Very.

And Food Security will be a huge issue moving forward in the 21st Century, as seen with COVID Pandemic shortages it can occur very quickly and have dire consequences due to its centralized and broken networks; also it occurred not because farmers cannot produce the product but because they cannot deliver the product to Market, which leads to Global supply chain disruptions.

The consequences of soil depletion is such that the recovery/remediation costs are so high that its far more affordable to deplete/contaminate the area and recover your costs for the inputs via subsidies and cash crops then it is to undertake sustainable Ag. This is model is soon (if it hasn't already) to run out time as unpredictable weather patterns and climate change are distorting what was the 'status quo.' I've seen it in Switzerland where arable farm land is limited and has a huge premium, one of the farmers I knew bought a 5 hecatre plot of land (I forget the crop) from a conventional farmer adjacent to his livestock grazing plot and home that due to pesticide and artificial fertilizer use had become sterile and unable to yield anything of value. The Farmer sold it to him for a pittance, and the continued to put over 15 million CHF to recover the soil over 25 years, incrementally he decided to plant an apple orchid as he went along, until eventually it was completely done via a Biodynamic approach. I saw it and worked in it on its 28th season, and it was quite the experience but was taken away by the cost only to realize that is perhaps the more accurate costs of remediation costs and that what we've been doing has been the artificially suppressed costs of horrible ecological damage that will soon have to be paid.

Just look at China, they're being pounded with floods compounded with COVID, a recent Swine Flu epidemic, and possible Bubonic Plague outbreak in Mongolia all which can impact and require the culling of large scale livestock, which in turn can impact the effects (capacity to carry costs of a farm) of horticulture as well.

Honestly, this reset needed to happen, and I just hope the West (unlike China who has actually had to spend 100s of billions in its contaminated farm land) has the Good Sense to be proactive about this and lead the way, because a significant amount of the Extinction Rebellion Gen Z kids era don't care or want the Carbon-based economy and are already opting out of School model entirely--labor and passionate talent is what is needed the most in that equation, the rest is pretty much already there its just a matter of collective Will.

Which means that unfunded-liabilities like SS and retirement funds, and pensions that rely on consumer based economies and taxes are not just unsustainable they're ready for imminent collapse due to the mass-unemployment and significant contraction in the consumer-based economy. I've come to realize that the Stock Market is essentially all smoke and mirrors, and doesn't reflect much of anything but a real-time gauge of 'how rich people happen to feel that day' and is mainly done with HFT based algorithms. (To base Food on this metric is absolute folly and should revert to a local economic model on a city level.)

Even being a big Tesla proponent, there is no way in hell why Tesla stock price reflects reality and could/should displace Toyota Motors in any way shape or form. Just the sheer scale of Toyota based cars they produce per year dwarfs Tesla's current and foreseeable supply combined, let alone those already on the roads now all over the World which is massive, and I imagine they could/will remain past the critical mass effect of EV because of their very high QC/QA, something Tesla has never actually been able to figure out and has overcome that shortcoming with Brand 'clout.'

So to summarize, its not just on paper: it has to happen as a matter of survival.


Hmm, this looks realy interesting. As there are experts in any field here in HN, could this become a mitigation solution for the phosphates problem?


It would help, by increasing the bioavailability of phosphorous in the soil. Review article about it: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45693-z


Biochar is too little, too late, last I checked. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done though.


Military hardware is big business because governments want to ensure survival of their nation. The same will happen with carbon removal. The longer we fail to reduce emissions the bigger the boom will be.


A key difference there is that paying for your own military directly benefits your interests, whereas countries can engage in a race to the bottom with carbon removal wherein they rely on others to shoulder the burden while still enjoying the benefits.


For the USSR, the cold war arms race ended at the bottom. Not sure it benefited them in any way.


It’s the ultimate tragedy of the commons.


If that theory were panning out, NYC would be building carbon capture plants instead of sea walls.


> I can't see how CCS (carbon capture and storage) can ever be viable economically.

Taxes.

Carbon emissions are externalities, regulating them is entirely compatible, if not mandatory, with maintaining a free market.

> Why would anyone agree to pay for it.

Why do you agree to pay taxes? Oh wait, you don't. You are forced to pay them.

> And if we mandate it wouldn't it make fossil products way too expensive and therefore uncompetitive?

Isn't that what you'd want?

> They are already losing to renewables in some regions.

"Some regions" are just low-hanging fruit.

> I just don't see the logic in shitting around and then paying somebody to clean up the shit. It's much easier to just stop shitting.

Only if you stop eating, which you would probably be forced to do if you were to give up on hydrocarbon-based products such as fertilizer. Also, you'll die.

Alternatively, if you were to just "shit somewhere else" instead, you will need a way to store and transform that shit. That's exactly what carbon sequestration is.


I believe the general idea now is that oil companies will pay for it as a fig leaf. Dig up 1000 tons of oil, pay for one ton of carbon capture, runs lots of commercials about your environment-friendliness, profit.


I’ve wondered if we’d get less ire about taxes if govts allow people to directly choose how a portion of their taxes (5%?) gets allocated when they file. They could send it nonprofits for causes they care about. Given the choice of sending it into something they choose or the large centralized government black hole, more people would pick to allocate to something they care about. Carbon capture could be just one of these choices, and a lot of people care about it.


With today's technology, there's really no excuse for keeping governmental/political decision power away from people.

Most budget/spending and political decisions by the government should be subject to approval by the people. Everybody should have a government login and could vote through a website or app. I wouldn't mind voting once or twice per day or even more, as it would be more productive and fulfilling than social media.


I don't see how people could be expected to have any meaningful understanding of so many, varied, interdependent national budgeting and political decisions. It'd be a full-time occupation to try and stay even superficially aware of the implications of multiple votes per day.


Of course they wouldn't. They also don't know anything about what it takes to be president or a senator, but they still get to vote to pick one.

We don't need optimal decisions, in fact politicians are also not experts at the decisions they make, even worse, they make decisions based on who paid them to make them. What we need is proper representation and distribution of power.


CA is a partial direct democracy via its proposition system. It is currently dealing with a housing crisis more or less directly attributable to bad decisions made via that democracy.

The idea of a republic is that one elects a wise leader who can take the time to understand the issues and surround themselves with knowledgeable experts that can help fill in the gaps — which isn't even remotely possible in a direct democracy, as not everyone can know an expert in every necessary field.

Now, that said, our country is obviously quite far from an ideal republic. But I think it's other things — gerrymandering, a lack of good participation by voters, and a FPTP voting system that forces a two-party system — which many people think would persist pretty much as-is in a popular vote system —, and forces voters to vote for someone other than who they want to vote for. (Some would also add money-in-government, i.e., rolling back Citizens United; I'm still on the fence there, myself, as it would also prevent coordinated efforts by citizens.)


Which is, in theory, more or less what we have. In practice, of course, choosing representatives isn't easy, and often the ones we select seem to be more concerned with the interests of powerful/wealthy lobbying groups (and/or furthering their own career within a political party) than the interests of their constituents.

I don't know how to fix that, but I'm very doubtful that abandoning representative democracy in favour of direct votes on all governmental decisions would be a positive step. It seems likely to just hand even more power to whichever charismatic populists and fashionable "influencers" can persuade people to vote blindly for whatever they promote.


One of the principles of representative democracy is to have some slow down and indirection, so that dangerous decisions are not taken immediatelly in the moment. Otherwise a good populist desinformation campaign can get people to vote their own demise even before more information becomes available.


Until there's real data to prove that, I'd say that's just a great excuse for the people in power to keep themselves in power or keep the power to themselves.


It's not data, but it is well documented that the founding fathers were scared of direct democracy and took measures to protect against it (electoral college). I agree that is does smell like a fishy excuse to keep power consolidated, but data doesn't always do well when political philosophy has been entrenched for centuries.


You are right, and that's a big problem. I don't get this obsession with the founding fathers. Those guys are not around anymore. The US is a completely different country now with completely different people. We need to stop going back to the founding fathers for reference, especially when their views only serve to further entrench the people in power and keep it away from the people they are supposed to represent.

We also have data now, and for what we don't have data we should be running experiments and collecting data to make better decisions.


100%. But the US loves its statues, both literal and metaphorical.


It's the dirty little secret when it comes to "Democracy". The idea is simple and noble in that everyone has a say, but then we turn around and go with "representational" systems instead because we don't really want everyone to have a say in everything. Like you said with today's and maybe the last 1-2 decades technology, there is no excuse for not going with more direct democracy like voting.

I've argued it before, and get rebutted with things such as "we need to let the experts decide, average people don't understand nuance" or "we don't want rule by mob/majority" or "get involved in your local community meetings instead" or "what if the people vote to exterminate minorities", etc. But the fact of the matter is that some sort of direct-democracy, or individual-level decision making (such as suggested above regarding tax-spending) would allow society to self-correct and adapt without the need for complicated and "expert" interventions. I understand the extreme examples, sure, but we're not even trying to involve the populace more for even minor things.

On a side note, with my conspiracy hat on, this is why "electronic" voting is opposed so heavily. That and the whole "votes have to be anonymous yet independently verifiable but not linked to your identity because you might sell your vote" nonsense. Because the natural consequence of a reduction of cost when it comes to voting is that we'd end up voting on more granular things and more often, and we can't have that. Instead we want people to enact change by fostering "movements" and "protesting for change", because that really doesn't do anything at the end of the day.


> Like you said with today's and maybe the last 1-2 decades technology, there is no excuse for not going with more direct democracy like voting.

The average American isn't remotely qualified to make these types of decisions. That's why direct democracy has never, ever, in the history of humanity, worked in a society above a few dozen people.

> I understand the extreme examples, sure, but we're not even trying to involve the populace more for even minor things.

Let's try a non-extreme example - naming a post-office. The lefties want to name it after Rosa Parks and the righties want to name it after Stonewall Jackson. The vote ends up 51/49 in either direction - how do you feel that type of conflict would resolve itself in 2020? It's much, much better for the stability of the government to keep passionate people away from the majority of the mundane work of government. Plebiscites should be reserved only for massive issues, like changes to the Constitution.

> On a side note, with my conspiracy hat on, this is why "electronic" voting is opposed so heavily.

It's because security experts have repeatedly exposed how flawed these systems are, and how cheaply and effectively voting is done with paper and pencil.


> The average American isn't remotely qualified to make these types of decisions.

So what? that's just an excuse to keep power away from them. We are already getting incredibly important decisions made by totally unqualified people (e.g. Pandemic response by the current administration) not only are making bad decisions, they are making them in their own best interest, in detriment to the people they are supposed to represent.

> That's why direct democracy has never, ever, in the history of humanity, worked in a society above a few dozen people.

Examples please? What country/government has ever implemented a real/direct democracy?


You call it an excuse, I call it a valid reason. The current administration is a perfect example of what happens when you let people with no qualifications make decisions that impact the entire country. The current administration if failing in large party because it isn't acting according the norms and structures of the current system, and they are encouraging "independent thinkers" to question whether the virus is even real. It's a terrible example if you are looking to say that our representative democracy doesn't work. Pandemic response was top notch under the previous administration - turns out hiring experts and letting them do their work is effective.

> Examples please? What country/government has ever implemented a real/direct democracy?

That's my point. The French revolutionaries tried it for a minute until they realized you can't run a nation-state that way - it's too complex and the average person is too disconnected from the issues to fully grok the n-th order consequences. Plus the tyranny of the masses tends to get out of hand.


> The current administration is a perfect example of what happens when you let people with no qualifications make decisions that impact the entire country. The current administration if failing in large party because it isn't acting according the norms and structures of the current system, and they are encouraging "independent thinkers" to question whether the virus is even real. It's a terrible example if you are looking to say that our representative democracy doesn't work. Pandemic response was top notch under the previous administration - turns out hiring experts and letting them do their work is effective.

The current administration is a product of the current system. And it is a great example of what's wrong with it. It's amazing that you are using it to defend the system instead.

> The French revolutionaries tried it for a minute until they realized you can't run a nation-state that way - it's too complex and the average person is too disconnected from the issues to fully grok the n-th order consequences. Plus the tyranny of the masses tends to get out of hand.

Technology and data should help tremendously in solving the issues you present. Tools which were not available to the French revolutionaries. Also you shouldn't throw something completely out the window just because of one failed attempt hundreds of years ago.


> The current administration is a product of the current system. And it is a great example of what's wrong with it. It's amazing that you are using it to defend the system instead.

It's the worst system, except for all the others that have been tried. Not making rash decisions off black swan events is another reason to avoid direct democracy.

> Technology and data should help tremendously in solving the issues you present. Tools which were not available to the French revolutionaries. Also you shouldn't throw something completely out the window just because of one failed attempt hundreds of years ago.

Adding technology and data make the process even more fragile and prone to being messed with. How are you going to bash the existing government, and then act like we're somehow going to create a direct democracy based on technology that's fully secure and consistent? What happens when a hurricane knocks out power in Florida? Are they just paralyzed because no one can do their daily voting?

Voting systems should use the minimal amount of technology and the maximum amount of privacy. That doesn't even get into how most people wouldn't want the cognitive burden you are trying to impose on them.


I might agree at the municipal level.

I'm not sure people need any more authority or engagement than they already have in making decisions for people 1000 miles away.


What happens when people sell their website access and entities vote in the name of thousands of people? Do you think you could detect that?


I'd say that's a feature if you let individuals do that, but a bug/fraud otherwise.

A while back I heard someone propose the idea of "delegating" your vote to an arbitrary person and they'd vote on individual vote items on your behalf, or consequently "delegate" it yet again to someone above. Essentially creating a giant hierarchy of representation.


Which is already the way things work. All our decision power is delegated to politicians, and we don't get paid and we cant revoke it either, we can only transfer it to some other politician at the end of the term of the current one.


I have no idea. But the current state of affairs seems much worse. Politicians are already bought/influenced by corporations/entities in the open (and of course through back channels as well). There is immense corruption, some of which is even legal (lobbying).


This sounds like an unmitigated disaster. Voting already gives us awful results. We don't need more awful results.


This actually happens in Portugal. When filling your taxes you can select a non-profit to receive a cut (don't remember how much though). Family and most friends live there, and never have I heard about this changing in any way how they feel about taxes.


We already have that in the US. The government lets you deduct charitable donations.

I’d rather we could earmark our tax payments.

I wouldn’t send anything to any department involved in trampling basic human rights. I also wouldn’t pay a cent to oil or corn subsidies.

In such a system, I imagine Amtrak and the department of education would be getting 10x more than they do now.

Similarly, I suspect the US would be carbon negative in a few years.

The supreme court ruled money is speech, so I argue that not letting me earmark my payments is suppressing my speech.


I think you overestimate the number of Americans that hold your views.


What you're describing is called participatory budgeting and is used in some places.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_budgeting


Why stop at 5%? Why not 50, 100%? So let's assume people don't get the choice of "reducing" their taxes, but get to allocate on a per-budget category level how much of all their individual taxes get allocated? Someone can allocate the whole 100% of their salary to say education and 0% to military/defense spending. Another might decide to put lots into healthcare, plenty in education and none for military. Others would allocate 100% to military, etc.

Why would that be broken on a societal level, and how is it not "democratic" to allow people to allocate their "voluntarily given" taxes how they please? What are we afraid of happening? Can we not control the problem slightly and just give them high-level categories to try it out?


Well about half the people in the US don't pay any net income tax. So giving 100% of nothing towards the political goals they desire might be seen as unfair to some.

There are merits to such a system, but I suspect they don't align politically with what you intended.


Not enough people would budget for the military is my guess concerning why we haven't tried it.


I would expect military to be one of the more popular departments.


Spending money just so we can continue to spend what is already too much money burning oil, gas, and coal is not a plan at all unless you have an entity dumb enough to sink money in what is clearly a loss leading venture from day 1.

So, yes it could happen because the US government currently ticks that box already and lots of companies are benefiting from all sorts of subsidized programs to funnel tax money into the cause of destroying our planet as fast as we can. Basically, this would be a yet another tax funded effort benefiting big oil, much of the car industry, etc. It's so plausible because the same kind of things have been happening for decades already.

The question why anyone would pay for that kind of thing is indeed one that needs answering because the US seems to consistently end up with leadership actively promoting exactly these kind of things and there's an election coming up with a clear choice one way or another.


Why is this comment so unpopular? I also fail to see how these ex oil companies will profit from carbon reduction. A far more likely scenario is they apply what they have learned in oil and gas to offshore wind generation and continue to have a business model around provision of energy, e.g. the transformation of Statoil into Equinor.


The edge oil companies have is that they are experts in pumping lots of stuff IN to underground. That's what fracking is. Now, just replace the fracking liquid with the transport of CO2.


Slightly different because frack fluid is a liquid slurry at surface conditions and CO2 is gas that needs to be compressed into a supercritical state. Your point stands that oil and gas (and surrounding industry) engineers know what they're doing when dealing with the subsurface.


Once we ramp emissions way down, then we have to pull out the CO2 we've already emitted. It's not viable now, but EVs weren't viable 20 years ago. Once Europe and Stripe and California and all the early movers spend the first few billions, it will become much cheaper and more effective.


It's actually a hard problem. Think of CO2 like ping pong balls.

If you have a cube of balls 100 * 100 * 100 you've got a million balls. Then mark 400 random balls. Then lets them all fall to the floor. Find the marked balls.

That's what sifting though 400 parts per million looks like and c02 molecules are smaller than ping pong balls.


A couple of decades ago I wrote a finite difference simulator for CCS as enhanced recovery for coalbed methane. The process was financially viable in Canada due to carbon credit incentives linked to the Kyoto protocol and the relatively high price of natural gas at the time. Of course the U.S. never participated and, for a variety of reasons, the price of natural gas plummeted.

There is a CCS capable coal seam within 50 km of every coal and natural gas power plant in N. America, so in the minority of cases where falling LCOE of renewables doesn't outcompete existing generation naturally it might make sense to incentivise CCS, provided that the produced natural gas would further enable renewables.

The net carbon impact could be even more significant in China.


> "A couple of decades ago I wrote a finite difference simulator for CCS as enhanced recovery for coalbed methane."

I don't understand this, care to expand?


CO2 binds with coal 3:1 vs methane, so you can pump carbon dioxide down an injection well and produce more natural gas from a nearby well than you otherwise would.


CCS is more like paying someone to cleaning the streets in SF than having someone follow you around to clean up in case you decide to crap on the sidewalk.

Anyway, CCS is probably already economically viable because it is legal, and there’s no way large institutions will stop burning fossil fuels.

It would make more economic sense to transfer all of the oil subsidies to environmentally sustainable energy, but that’s politically impossible.

It’s no more likely than SF making it illegal to lock a bathroom, and simultaneously spending enough money for social services to reduce the homeless population.


> I can't see how CCS (carbon capture and storage) can ever be viable economically. It's pure expense.

If fossil fuels weren't available, profitable activities that currently release carbon from fossil fuels would be done in other ways.

For example, plastics could be made from plants, and a lot of carbon from the atmosphere would end up in landfills as a side effect of making disposable consumer goods.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

> The parable of the broken window was introduced by French economist Frédéric Bastiat to illustrate why destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is not actually a net benefit to society.


But no one is proposing to break anything in this discussion, right?


If the government introduces a national emissions cap ("cap and trade"), then CCS can be used to offset emissions when it is too expensive to reduce them directly. If we had an economy for emissions, then companies could do CCS to get emissions credits for what they capture, and then sell them to companies who still have high emissions.


This needs to be done. Also, it would allow individuals to buy the credits and destroy them, which would further increase the cost of emitting CO2. The trick is to set the number of credits decades in advance.


Your last sentence is funny because it proves the opposite of your point. Why don't you just stop shitting then?


You are right and I don't understand why you're downvoted.

CCS is literally unburning coal and oil. Gathering ashes (CO2) and putting them back in the ground. Instead of energy producing goods and services, it just funnels air into the ground. The energy needed for this is at least the same energy that was released in the last 200 years.

It's also needed to stave off catastrophe and civilisation collapse, but let's not kid ourselves: it doesn't produce anything, except in indirect ways. Capitalism is not equipped to deal with this scenario.


Modern market-economy states have huge businesses just supporting this and that government mandate without actually producing anything - tax lawyers for example.


Every plant is a "carbon remover". "Funnels air into the ground" can describe a potatoe plant. Surely there can be economy in that.


No, every plant is carbon storage. The only way it becomes a 'remover' if it's buried back in the ground.


I agree BUT there are new technologies that capture carbon into high-value molecules. For example, there’s a group competing in the Carbon X-Prize that has direct-air-capture that builds carbon nanotubes


A carbon tax could make it viable - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax


I'm not pretending it's a massive industry, but carbon offset partner for airlines and other companies is something that people pay for?


This is a good point. However, everything I read about air travel offset schemes suggests that the current price is way too low and does not reflect the true cost of offsetting. If people were pay the true price to offset their flights, the question is whether they would still choose to fly as much.


If you cannot pay the price for sustainable flights you should not fly. The era of unsustainable consumption at the expense of future generations is coming to an end.


That seems a dangerous argument to make. Where do we stop? What other luxuries will we only allow to those who can afford the sustainable version of it? Warm water? Having a fulfilling job that unfortunately requires commuting?

Edit: to be clear: I’m not saying we shouldn’t do anything, I’m just saying the solution cannot be to make disparity between rich and poor even larger


How is it a dangerous argument to make? Are you arguing that you should be entitled to exploit the world's natural resources by making your children and children's children's generation pay for it? You can argue that, but it makes you selfish and entitled.


No, I’m arguing that by enforcing the use of sustainable options (i.e., “you are not allowed to fly if you can’t afford carbon offsets”) and by letting people pay for it, we will make the poor poorer and the rich richer. We would basically send the majority of the world population back into the Stone Age. To avoid a social catastrophe we either need successful technical solutions or significant redistribution


Simple. We all walk in the middle of winter four hours to and from our unheated homes and offices and work by candle light. Also candles cost 45$ for the carbon offset.

Billionaires continue to have their G-wagons flown around the world for them.


It can only get more expensive as well. As we de-carbonise other parts of the economy the opportunities for offsetting will fade away.


Current carbon offset schemes for private individuals are there more to help people's conscience than help much with CO2 levels as such. Alms.


It wasn't being discussed as the solution but as an example of people willingly paying for carbon capture, and acknowledged as a small contribution. The GP comment included:

"It's pure expense. Why would anyone agree to pay for it."


People can and will pay for it IMO. Just too much friction for it right now. I explain a bit here about incentives https://thinkingagriculture.io/carbon-sequestering-incentive...


Current climate models indicate that if we want anything less than catastrophe we need to completely stop producing CO2 in 20(30?) years AND begin capturing it as well.


20-30 years from now, over 10% of the earth will be uninhabitable, so we need to start cutting emissions drastically last year to avoid catastrophe.

The outlook is getting exponentially worse each year. But, yeah, we need to be strongly net negative in a few decades.


Because the alternative is unrest, instability, and eventually mass death. It's hard to have a "competitive" economy when you've trashed your civilisation.

It takes a while, but that's the predictable final outcome of failing to remove the carbon that is causing climate change.


Look at how well the US (and other countries) has handled pandemic. Pandemic is basically a toy-problem version of climate change:

- Action must be taken before you see consequences

- The best time to act is right away, though it might not seem a big deal if you do

- You need to trust experts

- Taking some initial economic damage is unavoidable...

- ... but is ultimately much cheaper than not taking that hit

- strong leadership and a unified population is needed to align interests and create mutually beneficial cooperation

etc, etc.

But the US failed spectacularly, and most importantly learned nothing from it.

If we can’t control pandemic easily we are certainly going to fail to make any progress on global warming


I am not questioning the fact that we should transition to the zero-carbon economy and remove excess carbon from the atmosphere. I am just saying that in my view CCS is not the most efficient way to achieve it.


You might be right, and if we enact a carbon price that gives credit for CCS, the market will do a good job at figuring out what's most efficient for any given situation.


The most efficient way to do it is to forcibly remove every politician that opposes reducing CO2.

CCS is more likely to succeed and will lead to significantly less bloodshed than overthrowing all the governments at once.


> The most efficient way to do it is to forcibly remove every politician that opposes reducing CO2.

And how would you go about doing that? I am genuinely curious. Do you know of any organisation that is going to do the forcing? I would be happy to donate. Or do you know a way I can do forcible removal myself without risking my life?


I don’t think anyone has a good way to fix all the governments at the same time. The climate summits seem like a joke.

If you’re in the US, vote this fall, and hope the Democrats make good on their campaign promises.

It’s better than nothing.


agreed entirely.

there's no way forward regarding global warming with the current US insitution of leadership, comprised of both major parties. they've got to be removed for the most optimal response to climate change, but doing so will be ghastly.

that's why i've started hunting for CCS solutions/companies to invest in/ways to start a company to leverage CCS for profit. we're going to need a massive mop to clean up the mess the baby boomers are still insisting on making worse.


So, it’s pretty strong bet on unrest and instability then, I guess.


Making it “way too expensive and therefore uncompetitive” is exactly the thing that makes it “much easier to just stop shitting.”


Applications are open for YC Winter 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: