The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with their forays into lab-grown meats and bug
consumption, tout carbon capture technology as the perfect way to achieve net zero.
This promise of a captive carbon future will be shown to be an almost complete hoax, and one of the more blatant examples of corporate greenwashing. Maybe even on par with the "green bond".
The idea of a machine that can take carbon out of the atmosphere is not a lie. Machines being built in Iceland will have the ability to take 36,000 tons of CO2 directly out of the air per year. However, the largest issue with this technology becomes readily apparent in its extensive energy consumption. It takes 2,650KWh currently to remove 1 ton of carbon from the sky. According to Our World in Data the US, on average, produces 380 grams of CO2 per KWh. This means that for every 1 ton of CO2 removed from the atmosphere, 1.007 tons is produced.
But some may note, that many of these CO2 suckers are not connected to the national grid, but instead are connected to their own green energy solutions. Be that next to a geothermal plant, solar panels, or wind turbines. However, instead of building a contrived and inefficient carbon capture technology, it would surely be better merely replace the highly polluting energy plants with these green energy solutions.
Instead, large companies now have even larger spending goals they can place on their websites about how they're saving the planet one ton of CO2 at a time. Microsoft "pre-purchased" 1400 tons of CO2 recovery from one carbon capture plant. In addition, if you google "carbon capture" there is a myriad of results talking about how it will be an ever-growing technology to save the planet.
If only there was some form of organic "carbon capture" technology that would require little to no maintenance or cost, and run off nutrients, water, and sun.
Instead, large banks, corporations, and universities continue to push for carbon capture, when
removing the sources of pollution with cleaner alternatives is not only a more immediate solution but one that we already have the technology to implement. Excessive tunnel vision on emergent technologies like carbon capture will lead to valuable funds being diverted from actually limiting the impact of the climate crisis.
Rather, eyes should be drawn to energy alternatives, like spending more of the Gates' endless money on green energy. Other ideas include building thorium-nuclear reactors, chastising the polluting mega-corporations, and transforming infrastructure to be far less carbon-intensive.
The sources of pollution continue to be ignored as their solutions are deemed "too impactful to human life" and firm profits. Carbon capture is an example of money being thrown at issues with the hope they'll disappear, with no actual sacrifice being made. As it stands, governments, "well-meaning" philanthropists, and corporations will continue to evade responsibility. We may live to see the evitable environmental disaster slip away for yet another decade.