Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Devote a bit of your valuable time to a TED Talk on carbon capture

With all that's going on - you know, that old virus thing and all - it's perhaps hard to focus on other things that may be at least as important. Like climate change, for example.

But I encourage you to spend ten minutes of your valuable (or probably not so valuable any more) time on a TED Talk. This one is from Myles Allen, climate scientist and contributor to IPCC reports, and he argues that, while it is important to pursue carbon taxes, electric vehicles, renewable fuels, etc, we are just not going to be able to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 without actually decarbonizing fossil fuels themselves, by extracting and storing the carbon in our fossil fuels.

Allen argues that by quickly creating a carbon disposal industry, there is still a chance that we can achieve this ever more improbable goal, but the only actors with the expertise and the deep pockets to do so are the fossil fuel companies themselves. The technology already exists, but it is expensive, and the fossil fuel industry needs to be encouraged and/or forced to do the necessary.

Like most TED Talks, it is short, snappy and compelling, boiling a tough, intractable and complex problem down into a seemingly simple, obvious and inescapable conclusion. It's a bit light on just how this intractible problem and its inescapable solution will actually be made to come about in practical terms, and how much it might cost. But it's certainly compelling. And, hey, it makes a change from looking at COVID statistics.

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