How to Extract CO2 Already in the Atmosphere

How to Extract CO2 Already in the Atmosphere

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Slate on why we need to remove, not just cut, CO2 emissions Lawrence Krauss argues that we have to remove excess carbon dioxide from the Earth atmosphere — not just stop or slow emissions. "In addition to undertaking dramatic global efforts to reduce present and future CO2 emissions, we need a strategy for addressing the carbon already up there," he writes, explaining the various methods of extracting carbon emissions from the air. The key, he says, will be funding: "Though there could be huge advantages to directly extracting carbon dioxide from our atmosphere instead of from its source, there has been almost no R&D funding to explore making it a reality. Meanwhile, literally hundreds of billions of dollars have been put into subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and production. If direct air capture proves economically competitive at all, it could potentially be scaled to control atmospheric concentrations with falling marginal cost."

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Quartz on Tesla cars as status symbols What kind of car is Tesla making? "Among buyers willing to spend close to six figures to get from Point A to Point B, first quarter US sales numbers that show Tesla Motors’ Model S electric sports sedan is outselling by wide margins the Mercedes S Class, BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8," Todd Woody reports. "That doesn’t just boost the Silicon Valley automaker’s bottom line; it’s good for its long-term strategy. While Nissan, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other manufacturers have been fighting over early adopters of the electric car, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has been busy taking the concept to the next level, emulating the German ultimate driving machines favored by well heeled doctors, dentists and realtors."

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Time on recent troubles of the green movement Michael Grunwald considers the fate of Fisker Automotive, which is showing signs of going bankrupt, in terms of the U.S. government's eight-year-old green energy loan program. "Everyone knew some loans would go bad. The hope was that some loans would change the world," he writes. "Fisker probably won’t, but that doesn’t mean it was a dumb bet all along. An exhaustive Republican investigation found no wrongdoing connected to the Solyndra loan, and there’s no reason to think the Fisker loan was shady either. Like Solyndra, it was once considered a game-changing example of American innovation. Like Solyndra, Fisker raised a billion dollars from private investors. But like Solyndra, Fisker couldn’t cut it in the marketplace." He later adds: "So it goes. Companies that receive tax breaks and subsidies fail all the time. Ordinary Americans who get tax deductions and subsidies fail too. Success is not guaranteed in a capitalist economy. The loan program provided a jump start, not a free ride."

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National Geographic on an anti-fracking activist in South Africa Sandra Postel profiles anti-fracking activist Jonathan Deal: "With no prior experience in grassroots organizing, Deal orchestrated a campaign against fracking in South Africa to protect the Karoo, a semi-desert region of the eastern Cape that he had come to know and love. Famed for its beauty, the Karoo boasts the richest diversity of succulents on the planet, and is home to many unique species of lizards and tortoises, as well as the riverine rabbit, one of the most endangered mammals in all of Africa." Deal's hard work reaped reward: "Deal's hard work and personal sacrifices – he poured his family’s savings into the campaign – paid off when, in April 2011, the South African government announced a nationwide moratorium on fracking. But the moratorium lasted only 17 months: in September 2012, the government lifted it. Still, Deal and TKAG had gotten South African officials to take the dangers of fracking more seriously, and studies are now under way to more carefully examine fracking’s risks to the Karoo environment."

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The Independent on the failure of the Clean Development Mechanism Assad W. Razzouk investigates the Clean Development Mechanism, a part of the Kyoto Protocol, which is intended to help country lower emissions. He sees a failure: "For the past 10 years global carbon markets have been synonymous with the CDM, which enables emission reduction projects in developing nations to sell carbon securities to developed country polluters. Buyers use the carbon credits to offset their emissions while sellers receive new investments, technologies and jobs. ... The CDM was on track to deliver $1 trillion in financing but is currently delivering none at all because the carbon price signal it is sending is zero: negotiators in [Bonn, Germany] are negotiating agreements and frameworks, while sending — via their own CDM system — a signal that pollution has no cost.  The private sector relied on developed world governments to create sustained demand for the carbon offsets generated from clean energy projects.  Governments did not deliver what they committed to and the CDM collapsed."