Completely Disposing of CO2

One interesting aspect of the olivine weathering concept is that it doesn’t only remove CO2 from the atmosphere, as other proposals do. I recall having blogged on Marc Gunther’s book “Suck it up” last March.

If you remove CO2 from the atmosphere, you’re not done yet. You still need some safe way to dispose of the CO2.

If you capture CO2 from burning coal in a coal power plant, you’re not done yet. You still need some safe way to dispose of the CO2.

In contrast, if you remove CO2 from the atmosphere by enhanced olivine weathering, you’re done. You don’t need to worry about storing CO2 in some underground site safely.

So, here’s what legislation should do. If you cause 1 kg of CO2 emissions by driving a stinking gasoline car for 10 kilometers, you should pay for whatever it costs to pull 1 kg of CO2 out of the atmosphere and dispose of it safely.

In other words, carbon prices should not result from permit markets, as they do now under the European Emission Trading System. They should result from whatever it costs in the real world to actually capture and dispose of safely one ton of CO2.

That would add a surprisingly small amount of cost to driving. With a car emitting 100 gram per kilometer, it would drive 10,000 kilometers for the cost of one ton of CO2. Proponents of olivine weathering quote a cost between 10 and 15 Euro per ton. Going with the lower price, we would be looking at 0.1 cents Euro per kilometer.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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