Artificial carbon capture and storage, CCS can lead to a depletion of the air, and large-scale CCS plants worldwide can be counterproductive.
It is better to let nature take care of the carbon sequestration, and we must reduce the burning of both fossil and bio-based fuels. CCS could become a global disaster.
Humans have always strived to copy nature, but when it comes to imitating nature's brilliance we have always fallen short.
Everything in nature is about balance. When something is out of balance, it's all about getting it back. After many thousands of years on this planet, and with an exponential technological development, it does not seem that we are still unable to understand nature on nature's terms. Panic actions often end up doing more damage than the problem they are trying to solve. The latest in the series is CCS, so-called artificial carbon capture and storage.
Firstly, this is a complete disc boom. We hint in the name of what is the real goal, but at the same time also do something that can have unforeseen consequences. The real goal is to remove carbon from the atmosphere because there is too much carbon in the cycle. Nature does this job in an absolutely perfect way through photosynthesis and stores the carbon in biomass at the same time as it releases oxygen.
We humans are now attempting to achieve the same by permanently removing and storing both carbon and oxygen from the atmosphere. On a small scale, this does not amount to something that can change anything very much, but the premise for CCS is that this must be done on a large scale in order to make a fairly significant difference on a global basis. Remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it under the ocean floor on a permanent basis.
A CO2 molecule consists of one carbon molecule, each of which binds to two oxygen molecules. Here we have a quantity ratio of 1 to 2. In a combustion process, the carbon binds to oxygen from the air and forms CO2. It is exactly the same that happens whether we burn wood or fossil fuels. In this process, large amounts of energy are released. Now we will use large amounts of energy to capture this CO2 and remove it from the cycle. We will therefore do that as a mitigation measure so that we can continue everything else as before. No reduction in consumption or saving of energy, because now we must capture and store enormous amounts of CO2.
Nature captures and stores the carbon, and releases the oxygen. The problem now is that we collect large amounts of carbon from the ground, which we bind to the free oxygen through combustion. Two oxygen atoms per carbon atom. When nature extracts carbon and releases the oxygen back again, we have new oxygen atoms that are ready to bind up even more carbon. But now the oxygen must also be taken out and removed from the circuit?
We clearly still haven't realized that it is the amount of carbon in the cycle that is the problem. CO2 is only a symptom of the real problem. Over millions of years, nature has captured and stored large amounts of carbon in bogs, soils and sediments which have later turned into oil, coal and gas. These processes take place in nature continuously, even to this day.
CCS works against its purpose
Now we must capture and remove CO2 from this cycle at the same time as we continue to cut down rainforests and dig up and drain bogs. The natural processes must be replaced by artificial ones. Artificial processes that potentially also upset the oxygen balance in the atmosphere. At least if this is done on the scale and extent this is intended.
Here we don't even try to copy nature, we try to be smarter. Every time we have had this thought in the past it has ended in disaster. Every time. We do not solve this problem with such an attitude, but with humility. Humility that we still have a lot to learn from nature before we can do the same. If we are to solve the problem of too much carbon in the atmosphere, we must play along with nature and not try to outcompete it. We must give nature better conditions and stop our own greed. It is ourselves who lose if we fail to understand this.
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