A garbage disposal for carbon dioxide – knowledge

What would modern man be without a garbage disposal? What to do with all that stuff that nobody needs anymore? And that occupies the place where the new stuff is supposed to go, which is now mostly ordered and delivered. And then this ubiquitous packaging: bags, foils, cups, lids, cardboard boxes.

There has only been organized garbage collection in Munich, for example, since 1891, i.e. for 132 years. That is enough for people to regard them as quasi God-given. What could be more obvious than setting up a garbage disposal system for what is perhaps the world’s biggest problem: carbon dioxide. The so-called “Carbon Capture and Storage” (CCS), the underground storage of CO₂, is intended to help global warming to keep bearable.

Until now, this was practically impossible in Germany, mainly because the risk of leaks seemed too great. In a new evaluation report on the carbon dioxide storage law, the Federal Ministry of Economics now states that the technology is now mature and CCS is necessary in order to achieve the climate goals. According to this, in 2045 between 34 and 73 million tons of CO₂ per year would have to be stored several hundred meters underground. It should not be about business as usual, but about previously unavoidable emissions in the cement, lime and glass industries. How this is supposed to work, why Norway is a pioneer and which companies already smell big business – you can do all this read my report from this week.

Only the future will show whether CO₂ waste disposal will work and, above all, to what extent it will be economical. Anyway, I keep my fingers crossed. Without CCS it will be even harder climate change to break. And under the ground lies another, potentially huge beacon of hope in the climate issue: geothermal energy. In a big story in the weekend edition of the SZ my colleague Tim Schröder writes: “A gigantic power plant, if you will, slumbers at the foot of humanity – you just have to use it.” Up to 40 percent of the heating requirement in Germany can be covered by pumping warm water from deep underground.

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Let’s go! Bring the hot water upstairs. And pushes carbon dioxide down when absolutely necessary. The world needs to step in now and pull out all the stops to avoid the worst.

This text is from the weekly Newsletter climate friday you here for free can order.

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