Another Climate Distraction – Quacks like a DAC

Review of: “Is Sucking Carbon Out of the Air the Soution to Our Climate Crises, Or just another Big Oil boondoggle?” Mother Jones November December, by Clive Thompson, illustrations by Keith Negley

It’s not arbitrary that the benign phrase “catch and release” has been found on the lips of those advocating for direct air capture of CO2 (DAC).  The trout wrangler wading in an idyllic forest stream catching and then releasing natures magnificent wild trout – a bucolic carbon capture meme.   Follow the sunk assets of the fossil fuel industry and you will find the bank roll that sourced and spins this you-can-have-your-carbon-cake-and-eat-it-too anthem.

Direct air capture development needs to advance, but to allow the fossil fuel industry to tout DAC and the combustion engine as a necessity to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions?  It’s tempting to make fun, but it’s not funny.  Justifications to slow the dismantling of carbon dominant transport and industry is flat out dangerous.

Direct air capture should be used as a tool to help US coal states move into the climate action economy.  The DAC science works, and carbon capture has a very localized roll to play.  It might be particularly useful in Manchin’s Virginia to capture the energy of our most aberrant climate change denialists by providing them DAC industry jobs (and other green industry jobs.)

We are going to see these tech band-aids touted and even gain traction. Direct air capture is another tool in the fossil free economy tool kit, but DAC should remain a minority consideration in where we put our time and resources when it comes to measures to address climate change.

I want to thank Mother Jones and Clive Thompson for the in-depth reporting that is again at least 3 steps ahead of the rest of the media.  As provocative and challenging as ever, the “Suck it Up” article is another “gird your loins” moment for the authentic climate activist/professional.  The next distraction from doing the hard climate policy implementation work is here, and it’s called DAC.