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Carbon removal is a very expensive product that no one needs

Nearly 800 companies around the world are exploring a wide variety of methods for drawing planet-warming greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere and storing it away or putting it to use.

Carbon removal is a very expensive product that no one needs

We have tagged this article as as it imposes a serious spin on the topic.
If not more explanation provided, this article is included as propaganda because it shows clear manufacture from a government controlled dialectic, where a topic is misdirected by some actors in order to mislead people during early stages of a narrative.

A gigantic leap from the five startups that James Temple could have named in 2019.

However, the industry is in trouble because carbon dioxide removal is “a very expensive product that no one needs” and no one seems eager to pay the “true cost” for the “waste management of invisible garbage.”

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In 2021, MIT Technology Review published an article ‘Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction’.  “Corporations and nations are touting plans to suck greenhouse gases out of the air … The noise, news and hype are feeding a perception that carbon removal will be cheap, simple, scalable, and reliable – none of which we can count on,” the article said.

What was carbon removal distracting from?  Not real-world problems, unfortunately, but from “cost-effective actions needed to cut [carbon dioxide] emissions.”

In other words, one side of the climate change industry was attacking another side of the climate change industry.  What MIT failed to acknowledge is that the whole anthropogenic climate change ideology is built on “noise, news and hype.”

Commenting on MIT’s 2021 article and calling their bluff, CFact asked the question: “Who has the most to lose if the combination of US agriculture, Nuclear power and an efficient point of generation carbon capture is put together?” He listed the losers as:

  1. An entire political agenda that advocates for the ending of the foundational values that made the USA great.
  2. Large technological and corporate interests that have invested in the kind of money that is involved in solving the “climate change” problem but not in an inexpensive way.
  3. Research-based organisations that have invested time, money and reputation in this issue so that having it cheaply eliminated would not be in the best interest of them.

“You have to understand [that] when you are weaponising weather and climate, you cannot have any solution but your own.  It’s a rigged game,” CFact wrote and quoted a warning from Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address to Americans:

Yesterday, MIT Technology Review pushed another article titled ‘Why concerns over the sustainability of carbon removal are growing’.  It was written by MIT’s senior editor James Temple whose focus is on renewable energy and the use of technology to combat climate change.   

Below we have paraphrased his article avoiding its obvious biases towards promoting the anthropogenic global warming cult.  His article provides, hopefully, a sign of the imminent downfall of the carbon removal profiteers. We couldn’t resist adding notes in [square brackets] to excerpts from Temple’s article.  Hopefully, our comments haven’t taken away from the core message that the fanciful carbon removal cash cow is possibly on a downward trend.

There’s a looming problem in the carbon removal space, Temple wrote. The trouble is, carbon dioxide removal (“CDR”) is a very expensive product that, strictly speaking, no one needs right now. It’s not a widget; it’s waste management for invisible garbage that nobody is eager to pay for.

“CDR is a pure cost, and we’re trying to force it to be something that’s profitable – and the only way you can do that is with public money or through voluntary markets,” says Emily Grubert, an associate professor at Notre Dame, who previously served as deputy assistant secretary in the US Energy Department’s Office of Carbon Management.

So far, the main markets for carbon removal come from government procurement, which is limited; government subsidies, which don’t cover the cost; and voluntary purchases by corporations and people, which are restricted to those willing to pay the true cost of removal.

Given these market challenges, some investors are scratching their heads as they witness the huge sums flowing into the space.

In a report last summer, the venture capital firm DCVC said that all of the approaches it evaluated faced “multiple feasibility constraints.” It noted that carbon-sucking direct-air-capture factories are particularly expensive, charging customers hundreds of dollars per tonne.

“That will still likely be the case in five, seven, even 10 years – which is why we at DCVC are somewhat surprised to see hundreds of millions of dollars in capital flowing into early-stage direct air capture companies,” the authors wrote.

In background conversations, several industry insiders Temple has spoken with acknowledge that the number of carbon removal companies is simply unsustainable and that a sizable share will flame out at some point.

The sector has taken off, in part, because a growing body of studies has found that a huge amount of carbon removal will be needed to keep rising temperatures in check. By some estimates, nations may have to remove 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year by mid-century to keep the planet from blowing past 2°C of warming, or to pull it back into safer terrain.

On top of that, companies are looking for ways to meet their net-zero commitments. For now, some businesses are willing to pay the really high current costs for carbon removal, in part to help the sector scale up. These include Microsoft and companies participating in the $1 billion Frontier programme.

At the moment, Temple has been told, corporate demand is outstripping the availability of reliable forms of carbon removal. There are only a handful of direct-air-capture plants, which take years to construct, and companies are still testing out or scaling up other approaches, like burying biochar and pumping bio-oil deep underground.

Costs are sure to come down, but it’s always going to be relatively expensive to do this well, and there are only so many corporate customers that will be willing to pay the true cost, observers say. So as carbon removal capacity catches up with that corporate demand, the fate of the industry will increasingly depend on how much more help governments are willing to provide – and on how thoughtfully they craft any accompanying rules.

Countries may support the emerging industry through carbon trading markets, direct purchases, mandates on polluters, fuel standards or other measures.

It seems safe to assume that nations will continue to dangle more carrots or wield bigger sticks to help the sector along. Notably, the European Commission is developing a framework for certifying carbon dioxide removal, which could allow countries to eventually use various approaches to work toward the EU goal of climate neutrality by 2050. But it’s far from clear that such government support will grow as much and as quickly as investors hope or as entrepreneurs need.

Indeed, some observers argue it’s a “fantasy” that nations will ever fund carbon removal – on the scale of billions of tonnes a year – just because climate scientists said they should.  To put it in perspective, the DCVC report notes that removing 100 billion tonnes at $100 a tonne would add up to $10 trillion – “more than a tenth of global GDP.”

Growing financial pressures in the sector could play out in a variety of worrisome ways.

“One possibility is there’s a bubble and it pops and a lot of investors lose their shirts,” says Danny Cullenward, a climate economist and research fellow with the Institute for Responsible Carbon Removal at American University. 

If so, that could shut down the development of otherwise promising carbon removal methods before we’ve learned how well and affordably they work (or not).

The other danger is that it can turn public or political sentiment against the sector and kill the appetite for further investment. This, after all, is precisely what played out after the cleantech 1.0 bubble burst. Conservatives assailed government lending to green startups, and VCs, feeling burned, backed away for the better part of a decade.

But Cullenward fears another possibility even more. As funding runs dry, startups eager to bring in revenue and expand the market may resort to selling cheaper, but less reliable, forms of carbon removal – and lobbying for looser standards to allow them.

He sees a scenario where the sector replicates the sort of widespread credibility problems that have occurred with voluntary carbon offsets, building up big marketplaces that move a lot of money around but don’t achieve all that much for the atmosphere.

You can read the full MIT Technology Review article written by James Temple HERE.

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