10 May 2011:
Capturing CO2 from the Air
Remains Cost-Prohibitive, Study Says
Systems designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will have a “very limited role” in the fight against global warming, according to a new study by the American Physical Society
. While it is technically feasible to pull CO2 from ambient air — as opposed to capturing and sequestering emissions
directly from power plants — the costs will remain too high to make it a viable option
for decades to come, researchers say. The study said that pulling CO2 from the air costs about $600 a ton, compared with roughly $80 a ton to capture it directly from the flue gas of a coal-fired power plant. The most significant challenge is the low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere; while flue gas from a coal plant contains about 10 percent CO2, concentrations in ambient air are only about four-hundredths of a percentage point. “We have to deal with our centralized power sources first,” said Robert Socolow, a Princeton researcher and co-chair of the study. Advocates of direct air capture, however, say the technology remains in its early stages and that it would be a mistake to write it off as an option in reducing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.