Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: MarianaM on 30/09/2019 10:35:09

Title: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: MarianaM on 30/09/2019 10:35:09
Crista asks...

We take carbon in liquid (oil) and solid (coal) forms and turn it into a gas (CO2) which goes into the atmosphere which contributes to the warming, and also dissolves in the oceans making them acidic.
Is there any way to extract this ‘gas’ carbon and convert it back to ‘liquid’ or ‘solid’ form? I suppose this is what a tree does but are any scientists attempting this? Or is just removing the atmospheric CO2 not going to prevent the change in temperature?


What do you think?
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: alancalverd on 30/09/2019 18:22:17
I remain sceptical about the supposed impact of CO2 on atmospheric temperature, but it is very easy to conduct an entirely beneficial experiment.

Trees, and plants in general,  are very good at extracting CO2 from the air. Animals are very good at generating CO2 from plant material. If we stop clearing forests and eating farm animals we will generate 25% less CO2 with no reduction in human happiness. If we reduce the human population (by simply not having too many children) we will further reduce anthropogenic CO2 and actually improve everyone's living conditions, with a longterm goal of carbon-neutral sustainability at a Western standard of living for all. 

The experiment costs nothing, actually saves money, has an immediate payback in terms of standard of living, and should yield a definitive result within about 10 - 20 years: if we reduce CO2 emission and the temperature continues to rise, that ain't the problem, but a smaller population with more efficient agriculture (meat production is an enormous waste of food and energy) will be better able to survive the inevitable climate change.   

Win-win, no cost, immediate reward. What's not to like?
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: Bored chemist on 30/09/2019 20:18:06
If we stop clearing forests and eating farm animals we will generate 25% less CO2 with no reduction in human happiness.
No.
Bacon.
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: alancalverd on 01/10/2019 00:06:47
My ancestors stopped eating bacon about 6000 years ago. Time the rest of the world caught up!
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: syhprum on 02/10/2019 15:14:12
The reason your ancestors' gave up eating both pork and shellfish was because of the large number of parasites that they carry unless carefully farmed.
I was surprised on a recent visit to France to be served with bacon containing tape worm cysts they have long since been eliminated from the bacon you get in the UK.     
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: Bored chemist on 02/10/2019 20:53:41
My ancestors stopped eating bacon about 6000 years ago. Time the rest of the world caught up!
The rest of the world learned to cook.
But 6000 years without bacon may explain the grumpiness.
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: evan_au on 02/10/2019 21:47:24
Quote from: OP
Is there any way to extract this ‘gas’ carbon
Yes, it's possible - but CO2 is very diluted in the atmosphere, so it takes energy to collect it again.

That's why some "carbon capture" projects collect it where it is most concentrated - at the hot smokestack of a power station.

But it still takes an immense amount of energy to turn CO2 into a useful fuel - in fact, it takes more energy than was released by burning the coal/oil/natural gas in the first place!

As noted by others, trees have access to solar power and can do this task (provided we grow more trees than we burn).

Many "engineering" carbon capture & storage projects aim to store it somewhere out of sight, and hope that it is also out of mind. It still takes a lot of energy to compress CO2 and pump it underground into old oil wells (for example). But most areas don't have suitable geology for long-term storage.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: syhprum on 02/10/2019 23:36:26
"My ancestors stopped eating bacon about 6000 years ago" It would seem that Alen  is accepting the chronology of Arch Bishop Ussher a rather surprising thing to see on a scientific Forum.
Title: Re: Can we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?
Post by: alancalverd on 03/10/2019 07:47:21
I didn't say the world began 6000 years ago, but Jewish history probably did.

Quote
I was surprised on a recent visit to France to be served with bacon containing tape worm cysts they have long since been eliminated from the bacon you get in the UK.
Never mind. We will soon be released from the EU food quality regulations that permit such stuff to be freely traded.   

Quote
But 6000 years without bacon may explain the grumpiness.
Me grumpy? You should listen to Corbyn and Hitler!