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How much energy would it take to pull carbon dioxide out of the air?

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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 Wired or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Direct air capture (DAC) of CO2, a technology being explored to mitigate climate change, requires significant energy due to the low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere
• A physicist has calculated that removing CO2 from the air is extremely energy-intensive and impractical for large-scale use

🔭The context: While DAC aims to remove CO2, the process of separating CO2 from the predominantly nitrogen and oxygen air is complex and requires substantial energy, making it an inefficient solution compared to reducing emissions
• Removing 37 billion metric tons of CO2 (annual emissions in 2023) using DAC would require approximately 764 gigawatts of power, equivalent to the output of over 1,000 nuclear power plants 

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The high energy demand for DAC underscores the need to focus on reducing CO2 emissions at the source rather than relying on energy-intensive methods to remove it afterward
• Effective climate action requires prioritizing emission reductions to avoid catastrophic climate impacts

⏭️ What's next: Investing in renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency are critical steps
• Policymakers and industries should focus on strategies that reduce emissions directly rather than relying on technologically and energetically expensive solutions like DAC

💬 One quote: “Any idea that we can maintain our current lifestyle and just suck the CO2 out of the air afterward is a fantasy,” the physicist concluded, emphasizing the impracticality of relying solely on DAC for climate mitigation

📈 One stat: The atmospheric CO2 concentration is now 420 ppm, a 50% increase from preindustrial levels

Click for more news covering the latest on carbon

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