NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 23, 2008

Scientists at Columbia University are developing a carbon dioxide (CO2) scrubber device that removes one ton of CO2 from the air every day, says the Heartland Institute.

While some see the scrubber as an efficient and economical way to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, many environmentalists oppose the technology because it allows people to use fossil fuels and emit carbon in the first place.

According to Columbia University physicist Klaus Lackner, who is leading the research team:

  • Producing a large number of CO2 scrubbers can keep to a minimum any rise in atmospheric CO2 without the economically painful elimination of inexpensive energy sources.
  • This technology would allow people to use fossil fuels, which they will be using anyway, without destroying the planet.

Environmental activist groups such as Greenpeace have consistently opposed similar technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration, because they do not address what they see as the root of the problem, says the Heartland Institute.

"This is just one more piece of evidence that environmentalists aren't concerned about solving a problem," said Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. "Every problem, as they see it, is one way to restrict people's lifestyles, and if you come up with a technological fix that can solve a problem but doesn't require sacrifice and lets us go about our business the way we were before, they're not happy about it, even if it solves the problem."

Source: Krystle Russin, "Environmentalists Oppose New CO2 Scrubber Idea," Heartland Institute, August 1, 2008.


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