World’s first multi-million dollar carbon-capture plant does work of just $17,640 worth of trees

30 04 2018

This is a shortened and reworded version of the original article.  Obviously, since we’re at the peak of global fossil fuel production, when the plateau ends sometime between now and 2025 and production declines exponentially, greenhouse gas emissions will start to drop dramatically as well. Meanwhile, transportation, supply chains, diesel engines, blast furnaces, the chemical industry (500,000 products made with and OF fossil fuels), are utterly dependent on petroleum. We simply can’t kick the fossil fuel habit no matter how much we’d like to since there are no commercially viable alternatives (I explain why in my book: “When Trucks Stop Running”).

Alice Friedemann  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical PreppingKunstlerCast 253KunstlerCast278Peak Prosperity , XX2 report


Editorial Staff. June 2, 2017. World’s First Multi-Million Dollar Carbon-Capture Plant Does Work Of Just $17,640 Worth Of Trees—It’s The “Worst Investment In Human History. National Economics.

On May 31st the world’s first commercial carbon dioxide capture-plant was opened in Hinwil, Switzerland.  It’s designed and operated by a Swiss company called Climeworks, and uses a modular design that can be scaled up over time.

The company says that the plant will remove 900 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year by passing it through a special filter that isolates carbon dioxide molecules.

What will happen to all of this carbon dioxide?

Some of it will be cycled into nearby greenhouses to help the plants grow and some to use in carbonated beverages, the rest underground.

The company says their technology could be used to stop climate change.

They estimate that 250,000 such plants would be necessary to capture enough carbon to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s goals of capturing 1% of global emissions by 2025.

Why would anyone do this when you could plant beautiful trees instead, trees that provide shade and fruits, as well as take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and replace it with breathable oxygen?  Trees are really good at this. It only takes an average of 98 trees to remove 1 ton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year.

That means that this plant is worth only 88,200 trees per year — and really more than that if you add in the enormous carbon and energy footprint for the fabrication of all the parts.

We can’t compare the costs of Climeworks “solution” to trees, because Climeworks doesn’t state the cost of their plant on their website—probably because it’s egregiously high.

But we do know the cost of planting trees.  You can sponsor charities to plant trees for you at 20 cents per tree.

We probably don’t even need to plant more trees, we just need to stop cutting them down to make room for new development and ranch land—better land management is actually our cheapest, and most effective option at preserving the environment.



9 responses

30 04 2018

Might have overdone the number of trees on my 720 sqm block. But yes more trees

30 04 2018

There’s no money to be made planting trees

1 05 2018
Brandon Young

That is the exact cause of the climate crisis – the financial incentives are not aligned with the goal of sustainability of the biosphere.

It also points directly to the required solution, which is to get the financial incentives right, and then simply let the climate crisis solve itself, with the market determining the most efficient mix of changes to business as usual.

If the financial incentives reward preserving natural carbon sinks like rainforests and mangrove systems, then that is what the economics and politics will deliver. If the financial incentives reward artificial carbon sinking technologies according to their efficiency, then the global race will be on to rapidly develop them.

A single fee on all global emissions could fund rebates for all natural and artificial carbon sinking operations. It is that simple, with the size of the fees and rebates determining the rate of the transition to a low emissions economy.

So, getting the financial incentives right is not complicated at all, but until we can collectively get our head around the concept of using price signals to control market outcomes, we will continue to fail miserably.

1 05 2018
Cupid Stunt

“You’d have to add more area of trees than there is area on the planet to have a noticeable effect on solving the climate change problem” said Dr Peter Wadhams, Emeritus Professor of Ocean Physics from Cambridge, in a October 2017 interview for Extinction Radio.

Besides, “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do” (a Ronald Reagan classic from 1981).

1 05 2018

“You’d have to add more area of trees than there is area on the planet to have a noticeable effect on solving the climate change problem”

If that’s true it puts the lie to Climeworks’ claim that we ‘only’ need 250000 plants like theirs… ah, I see they have a caveat on that.

A big part of the problem with ‘trees’ is that we’ve always been felling them faster than we plant them. One tree is good; more is better.

I had a — very short — discussion once with one Internet know-it-all (claimed to be a statistician) who insisted that before planting lots of trees it would be necessary to do an extensive impact assessment. Shame we don’t do that every time we decide to demolish a forest.

2 05 2018

@pendantry-they said 250000 plants are needed to capture just 1% of global emissions.Let that sink in

2 05 2018

@Steve – yeah, I know. That was the caveat…

1 05 2018
Cupid Stunt

“If that’s true” he says it at c. 18:00.

And Dr David MacKay put it this way in his “Without hot air” (a free ebook):

“If anyone proposes using trees to undo climate change, they need to realise that country-sized facilities are required. I don’t see how it could ever work.”

2 05 2018

Maybe planting trees isn’t the solution. But felling more of them certainly isn’t.

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