Climate carbon technologies considered

July 26, 2012 at 4:52 PM
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NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) -- Pulling carbon dioxide from the air and storing it to stabilize climate may become increasingly important with ongoing global warming, U.S. scientists say.

The upfront costs of emerging technologies to directly take carbon out of the air will likely be expensive, they said, but such technology may well become cheaper as it develops and becomes more widely used.

Cost should not be a deterrent to developing such a potentially valuable tool, researchers from Columbia University said in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The techniques could target sources of CO2 that other types of carbon capture and storage cannot, and have the potential to lower the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, they said.

"The field of carbon sequestration, the field of capture and storage as a community is too timid when it comes to new ideas," lead author Klaus Lackner said. "You cannot rule out new technology simply because the current implementation is too expensive."

Developing systems to capture CO2 directly from the air is the key, researchers said.

Estimating the cost of such technology right now is impossible, they said, but if a mass-produced device could capture a ton of CO2 per day, a million of them, like forests of artificial trees, could capture more than 10 percent of human output.

"In a way, it's too late to argue that we shouldn't consider [such] solutions," Lackner said. "We have to push very hard right now, and we have to have every means at our disposal to solve this problem."

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