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Fossil-fuel industry embrace raises alarm bells over direct air capture

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Reuters or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Fossil fuel companies advocate for direct air capture (DAC) as a pivotal solution for achieving "net zero," which involves extracting CO2 from the atmosphere; however, its slow transition from R&D to real-world application has raised concerns even among its proponents
• According to the source, the support of these polluters raises concerns since DAC essentially offers them a way to continue emitting high volumes of carbon while investing in DAC to ‘clean it up’

🔭 The context: Direct air capture (DAC), an emerging technology extracting carbon emissions from the air and highlighted for its scalability, permanence, and verifiability, operates at 18 facilities worldwide, sequestering about 10,000 metric tons of CO2 annually
• However, despite its potential, critics argue its high costs—currently impractical for offsetting the world's 50 billion tons of annual CO2 emissions—pose significant economic challenges

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: According to proponents, DAC offers a promising solution to reduce atmospheric CO2
• It's viewed as more scalable than reforestation and provides a more permanent solution, with its ability to offset emissions being pivotal for global net-zero targets

⏭️ What's next: More DAC facilities are anticipated to become operational shortly, including a significant one in Texas by 1PointFive targeting 500,000 tons of CO2 capture annually by 2025
• While governments and corporations, including the U.S. Biden administration, are investing billions in DAC hubs, if failures in implementation persist, there may be a retreat from the technology

💬 One quote: “DAC is simply way too costly to compensate for all of the emissions.” (Christoph Gebald, Chief Executive Officer of Climeworks)

📈 One stat: Critics argue that even at a quarter of its current cost, using DAC to offset global fossil fuel emissions would require a staggering $12.5 trillion annually, likening it to the global spend on waste management

Click for more news covering the latest on carbon

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