art with code

2018-08-01

The carbon capture gambit

To control the climate of the planet, stopping the loss of carbon to air is not enough. To gain control of the temperature of the planet and the carbon economy, we need to mine the carbon that's been lost into the air.

There are proposed air-mining mechanisms for carbon that run at a cost of 3-7% of GDP. And that's before significant optimizations. To gain control of the climate and amass vast carbon reserves, we would only need a sum of money equivalent to a few years' worth of economic growth. If we invest now, we'll get a massive head start on future mining operations by other countries, and will end up in an immensely powerful geopolitical position. Not only will we have control over the climate of the planet, we also end up in the possession of all the carbon lost into the air.

Control over carbon will give us control over the carbon-based fuel economy. Most of the carbon accessible carbon on the planet is right there in the air, ready for the taking.

Every year, more than 7 gigatons of carbon is lost in the atmosphere in the form of CO2. We can estimate the market value of this lost carbon using the price of coal. Coal is around 50% carbon, with the rest composed of impurities. The price of coal is around $40 per ton. Pure carbon could be twice as valuable as coal. At $80 per ton, 7 gigatons of carbon would be worth $560 billion dollars. More than half a trillion dollars. Every. Single. Year.

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