The world's richest man, Tesla CEO and SpaceX boss, Elon Musk may finally want to address climate change - and find a solution to it.
On Twitter, Musk announced that he is "donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology." In an additional tweet he added that there would be details next week.
Carbon capture in itself is just the act of capturing carbon from the atmosphere. When combined with storage, Carbon capture involves trapping the carbon dioxide at its emission source, transporting it to a storage location (usually deep underground) and isolating it.
Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021
Details next week— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021
After Musk posted the tweet, several tweets pointed out that maybe the easiest way to counter carbon trapping was nature's own creation: Trees.
🌲 trees— Metadoxy (@Xirong7) January 21, 2021
A tree?— Ross Gerber (@GerberKawasaki) January 21, 2021
But is just planting more trees enough?
Carbon capture has actually been in use for years,m even if it hasn't been for the environment. The oil and gas industries have used carbon capture for decades as a way to enhance oil and gas recovery. Only recently, has thinking about capturing carbon for environmental reasons begun.
Currently, most research focuses on carbon capture at fossil fuel-powered energy plants, the source of the majority of man-made CO2 emissions. Many of these power plants rely on coal to create energy, and the burning of coal emits CO2 into the atmosphere, says a report in How Stuff Works. So to effectively attempt carbon capture, the aim should be at industries and power plants to actively reduce it.
Trees, on the other hand are a great solution but it may not be enough. In June last year, two studies published in the journal Nature Sustainability found that large-scale tree planting is not a simple solution to climate change. One of the two researchers said that new forests may not offer the desired financial incentives and reduce biodiversity. It will also have little impact on carbon emissions.