Debating Carbon Capture

7 May 2023

Open To Debate podcast tackles Carbon Capture

This week, nonpartisan debate podcast Open to Debate tackles the question: Is Carbon Capture Essential to Fighting Climate Change?”

When it comes to carbon dioxide, last year was a record year. The world emitted more of the climate-warming gas in 2022 than in any year since scientists began recording levels in 1900. So … what can be done to prevent dangerous levels of warming? One potential method is called carbon capture and storage, a technology in which CO2 is extracted and stored in underground facilities. In fact, as recently as February, Exxon Mobil announced that it will use Honeywell technology in Texas to capture some seven million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Other companies, meanwhile, have followed suit.

But it is not without controversy. Critics say the technology is not cost-effective, is unreliable in large scales, and that the level of carbon removal needed to help the planet is well beyond current capacity. As such, they say, it is a dangerous distraction in the broader fight against climate change, potentially diluting the urgency in reducing emissions. Others say these systems are ever more adept at capturing gases from the air, and that they have the potential to become a critical tool in the battle against rising emissions.

Arguing YES, carbon capture is an essential tool in the climate fight, is Katherine Romanak, Research Scientist for Bureau of Economic Geology. Arguing NO is Mark Z. Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program.

Find the full episode at the Open to Debate website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get podcasts.