Why aren’t we spending more money on it?
David W. Keith, a physicist at the University of Calgary, reviews some of the technologies for air capture of carbon and notes that there is not a single government program devoted specifically to that purpose. Dr. Keith estimates that less than $3 million per year in public money is currently being spent on related research, even though it could potentially be a bargain. He writes:
[Early] estimates suggest that air capture will be competitive with technologies that are getting large R.&D. investments. For example, the cost of cutting CO2 emissions by displacing carbon-intensive electricity production with roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels can easily exceed $500 per ton of CO2. Yet even skeptics suggest that a straightforward combination of existing process technologies could probably achieve air capture at lower cost. And the fact that several groups have raised private money for commercialization suggests that there are investors who believe that it is possible to develop technologies to capture CO2 from air at costs closer to $100 than $500 per ton of CO2.
When I wrote about Richard Branson’s $25 million prize for figuring out how to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, I wondered if governments and other entrepreneurs would follow his example (and if we would someday have nanobots gobbling up carbon dioxide). So far, I guess, the answer is no, but perhaps Dr. Keith’s article will stimulate some interest.
Don’t count on it. It doesn’t give them enough control over our lives, or force us to tighten our hair shirts sufficiently.
[Sunday evening update]
Things seem to have gotten a little off track in comments. Let me restate the question, to get more useful responses. Given that the people currently running the country think that atmospheric CO2 is a problem, and given that we are currently spending much money to address this (wind, solar, other non-nuclear “green” tech, etc.), why are we not spending a higher proportion on this? I contend that I have already described why. The collapse of the Soviet Union having (at least temporarily) given socialism a bad name, the socialists have taken over the environmental movement, and are using it as a Trojan Horse for their (non-environmental) collectivist agendas. I’m looking for alternate explanations from the usual defenders of the watermelons. I’m also looking for plausible ones, but I don’t expect to see them.