Biden admin intends to ‘invest’ $1.2B to essentially vacuum carbon from Earth’s air

The Biden administration has announced that it intends to spend $1.2 billion to essentially vacuum carbon dioxide from Earth’s air.

It’s called “direct air capture” (DAC), and according to CNN, it’s very much so “akin to huge vacuum cleaners sucking carbon dioxide out of the air.”

Chemicals are then used to clean the CO2 of greenhouse gases, after which the CO2 is either stored underground or “used in industrial materials like cement.”

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy specifically said it plans to spend $1.2 billion on “two new demonstration projects in Texas and Louisiana – the South Texas Direct Air Capture hub and Project Cypress in Louisiana,” as noted by CNN.

“These two projects are going to build these regional direct air capture hubs. That means they’re going to link everything from capture to processing to deep underground storage, all in one seamless process,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters.

She added that they’re aiming to be able to remove over two million metric tons of CO2 annually once the machines are operational. This is reportedly equivalent to 500,000 gas-powered vehicles being removed from the roads.

All this said, critics were very confused over why the Biden administration is seeking to remove  CO2 when trees and plants already do that naturally:

But according to CNN, there is an explanation: “The machines are being built to essentially supercharge the natural carbon removal already done by trees, bogs and oceans – which is not happening fast enough to capture fossil fuel emissions at the scale humans are emitting them.”

And so the vacuum is meant to just be a supplement solution,  per se.

Also, these vacuums aren’t new, though according to White House senior adviser Mitch Landrieu, the ones being built by the Biden administration “will be the largest in the world.”

“Another project in Iceland that opened in 2021 removes about 10 metric tons of CO2 every day, roughly the same amount of carbon emitted by 800 cars a day. At the time, that project’s operator Climeworks said it was the largest one in the world,” CNN notes.

“The US direct air capture projects alone could increase global capacity for the technology by 400 times, said Sasha Stashwick, policy director at Carbon180 – an independent nonprofit focused on carbon removal,” according to CNN.

“The industry’s very nascent at the moment. These are meant to be the first commercial-scale deployments at the mega-ton scale. It’s a very, very big deal,” Stashwick told CNN.

This is kind of true, but also kind of not true. The problem, as noted by Deutsche Welle, is that “the technology needs to become much cheaper quickly to roll out at the scale needed to affect the planet.” And that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

Indeed, critics have many doubts about these projects:

As for who’s paying for the projects, you should already know the answer. In fact, the money for the project was appropriated via the so-called bipartisan “infrastructure” deal that President Joe Biden signed into law two years ago (and that had nothing to do with actual infrastructure and everything to do with climate change).

Oh, but there’s more. The infrastructure bill allocated a total of $3.5 billion for DAC projects, meaning future hubs will probably be announced sooner rather than later …


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Vivek Saxena


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