Thongchai Thailand

A CO2 REMOVAL PLAN

Posted on: February 9, 2021

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF AN ONLINE ARTICLE ON A CLIMATE ACTION PLAN OF REMOVING CO2 FROM THE ATMOSPHERE. LINK TO SOURCE: https://www.xprize.org/prizes/elonmusk .

PART-1: WHAT THE ARTICLE SAYS

LARGEST INCENTIVE PRIZE IN HISTORY: $100 MILLION : XPRIZE Carbon Removal is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity — fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is the largest incentive prize in history, an extraordinary milestone. The world’s leading scientists estimate that we may need to remove as much as 6 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2030, and 10 gigatons per year by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change. For humanity to reach the Paris Agreements goal of limiting the Earth’s temperature rise to no more than 1.5˚(C) of pre-industrial levels, or even 2˚(C), we need bold, radical tech innovation and scale up that goes beyond limiting CO2 emissions, but actually removes CO2 already in the air and oceans. If humanity continues on a business-as-usual path, the global average temperature could increase 6˚(C) by the year 2100. This four-year global competition invites innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans ultimately scaling massively to gigaton levels, locking away CO2 permanently in an environmentally benign way. Solutions will be scientifically evaluated across multiple criteria such as; amount of CO2 removed, life cycle analysis of the removal process, energy efficiency, land footprint and sequestration capabilities. Any carbon negative solution is eligible: nature-based, direct air capture, oceans, mineralization, or anything else that sequesters CO2 permanently. Team registration opens with the announcement of the full competition guidelines on Earth Day, April 22nd 2021. The competition will last for 4 years through Earth Day 2025. To win the competition, teams must demonstrate a rigorous, validated scale model of their carbon removal solution, and further must demonstrate to a team of judges the ability of their solution to economically scale to gigaton levels. The objective of this XPRIZE is to inspire and help scale efficient solutions to collectively achieve the 10 gigaton per year carbon removal target by 2050, to help fight climate change and restore the Earth’s carbon balance. Teams can submit entries across natural, engineer and hybrid solutions. Judges in the competition will evaluate the teams based upon four basic criteria: A working carbon removal prototype that can be rigorously validated and capable of removing at least 1 ton per day. The team’s ability to demonstrate to the judges that their solution can economically scale to the gigaton level. The main metric for this competition is fully considered cost per ton, inclusive of whatever considerations are necessary for environmental benefit, permanence, any value-added products; and The final criteria is the length of time that the removed carbon is locked up for. A minimum goal of 100 years is desired. The $100M in prize purses will be distributed in the following manner: After 18 months, at the discretion of the competition judges, the 15 top teams selected will receive $1 million each. Milestone Awards will kickstart team fundraising for their operating budgets to achieve the full-scale demonstrations required to win the prize. In the same timeframe, a total of twenty-five $200,000 student scholarships will be distributed to student teams competing. The remaining $80M in Purses will be distributed as follows: Grand Prize Winner (1st Place): $50M 2nd Place: $20M 3rd Place: $10M All information preliminary and subject to change so sign up to stay up to date with competition news and announcements. Full competition guidelines, prize purse and more information to be confirmed on Earth Day, April 22nd 2021. WE WANT TEAMS TO BUILD REAL SYSTEMS THAT CAN MAKE A MEASURABLE IMPACT AT A GIGATON LEVEL. WHATEVER IT TAKES. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. ELON MUSK Co-founder and CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company. WE HOPE TO PUSH THIS CRITICAL FIELD FORWARD IN THE SAME WAY THAT THE ANSARI XPRIZE MOVED COMMERCIAL SPACEFLIGHT. PETER H. DIAMANDIS, MD, Founder and Executive Chairman, XPRIZE. IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO USE HUMAN CREATIVITY, INNOVATION, AND COMPETITION TO REWRITE OUR HISTORY AND CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL OF US ON THIS PLANET WE CALL HOME. ANOUSHEH ANSARI CEO of XPRIZE. “THE DAY BEFORE SOMETHING IS TRULY A BREAKTHROUGH, IT’S A CRAZY IDEA”, PETER DIAMANDIS.

PART-2: COMMENTARY

CLAIM: “The world’s leading scientists estimate that we may need to remove as much as 6 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2030, and 10 gigatons per year by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change

RESPONSE: Climate science says that the airborne fraction is 50%, meaning that 50% of fossil fuel CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere and cause atmospheric CO2 concentration to rise: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/12/29/climate-scientist-explains-the-carbon-budget/ .

This means the removal of 6 gigatons per year will offset 12 gigatons per year of emissions and the removal of 10 gigatons per year will offset emissions of 20 gigatons per year. Currently our emissions are 36 gigatons of CO2 per year and that means that our emissions can be offset completely by removing 18 gigatons per year.

The Airborne Fraction equation may imply that the the economically efficient form of climate action is CO2 removal and not emission reduction and this is the likely insight of the genius of Elon Musk that the climate scientists could not see being blinded by anti fossil fuel activism.

Image result for the genius of Elon Musk

PART-3: STATISTICAL ISSUES WITH THE AIRBORNE FRACTION

However, even the genius of Elon Musk is constrained by statistics. Before we invest in either the climate science proposition of eliminating the use of fossil fuels and moving to wind and solar or in the genius of Elon Musk of simply removing half of our emissions from the atmosphere, it must be shown that there really is an airborne fraction. That can only be established with analysis of the emissions and atmospheric composition data to determine whether atmospheric composition is responsive to emissions.

This analysis is presented in a detailed study of the airborne fraction in a related post on this site: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/12/29/climate-scientist-explains-the-carbon-budget/ . The analysis of the data for annual emissions and annual changes in atmospheric composition does provide the needed evidence for the existence of an airborne fraction. The findings imply that there is no evidence that atmospheric composition is responsive to fossil fuel emissions and that therefore there is no evidence of an airborne fraction.

CICERO
CLIMATE SCIENTIST & CLIMATE ACTION CARBON BUDGET GENIUS PROFESSOR GLEN PETERS

PART-4: CONCLUSIONS

From the analysis presented above and in the related post on the airborne fraction we find that the empirical evidence does not show that there is an airborne fraction such that the climate science proposition of moving the world’s energy infrastructure from fossil fuels to renewables will have a measurarble impact on the rate of rise in atmospheric CO2 concentertion.

However, it is here that the genius of Elon Musk is fully appreciated if we identify the issue not as fossil fuel emissions but as the observed rise in atmospheric CO2. Thus, simply by removing the measured annual increase in atmospheric CO2, whatever its source may be, atmospheric CO2 can be stabilized. There is a lot that climate science can learn from the genius of Elon Musk.

Image result for the genius of Elon Musk

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  • chaamjamal: Good point. The shoreline ugliness is not only an eyesore but it stinks and also attracts huge numbers of flies and other such creatures. I was one of
  • Paul H: The shoreline waste problem could be alleviated in part if Asian nations didn't dump lorry loads of plastic into rivers and seas. I sadly didn't save
  • chaamjamal: "Too few in number and powerless against the hypnosis of the masses" Sad but true and well put. Thank you for that insight.
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