Humanity must also remove CO2 from the air

Two centuries of burning fossil fuels have put more carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere than nature can remove.

As that CO2 builds up, it traps excess heat near Earth’s surface, causing global warming. There is so much CO2 in the atmosphere now that most scenarios show ending emissions alone won’t be enough to stabilize the climate — humanity will also have to remove CO2 from the air

Technology to remove carbon mechanically is in development and operating at a very small scale, in part because current methods are prohibitively expensive and energy-intensive. But new techniques are being tested this year that could help lower the energy demand and cost…

Since CO2 mixes quickly in the air, it doesn’t matter where in the world the CO2 is removed — the removal has the same impact. So we can place direct air capture technology right where we plan to use or store the CO2.

The method of storage is also important. Storing CO2 for just 60 years or 100 years isn’t good enough. If 100 years from now all that carbon is back in the environment, all we did was take care of ourselves, and our grandkids have to figure it out again. In the meantime, the world’s energy consumption is growing at about two percent per year…

The article proceeds in detail to examine both capture and storage of CO2. Process development is already underway. Production – requiring subsidy to start; but, with capacity to develop into cost efficient and profitable methods – is possible with existing research. More research, concurrent with production, is needed.

How much of our labor force has been lost to COVID-19?

Olivier Douliery/AFP

…More than 850,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States. They were parents, partners, friends and family. Many of them were also workers. Meanwhile, there’s a big labor shortage right now, with more than 10 million job openings. There are many reasons those jobs haven’t been easy to fill: the virus and variants, limited day care, school interruptions and people looking for more pay and better working conditions.

What’s been talked about less is how COVID and long COVID, a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act, have changed the workforce.

Through October of last year, more than 100 million working-age Americans, or people between the ages of 18 and 65, have contracted the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies show that about one-third of people who get COVID experience long-term symptoms, meaning that more than 30 million working-age Americans may have or have had long-COVID.

But how many of those with long-haul COVID left the workforce?…

Researchers haven’t yet been able to produce confident stable statistics. Numbers range from 1.6 to 1.9 million. That means we’re possibly undercounting casualties by 300,000 human beings. And it may be worse. Yes, no nation in the world maintains staff ready to fight a pandemic. A lot of tactics, style and weapons are being devised from scratch.

This article tells us more about what we confront, what we must solve.