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Musk Offers $100M for Carbon Capture Technology

It can’t come a moment too soon.

Despite the fact that the world’s richest increased their wealth dramatically during the pandemic, there were still some moments of philanthropy that might even warm the heart, and hands, of Bernie Sanders himself.

The latest is from Elon Musk, the man battling it out with Jeff Bezos for world’s richest person, who has announced an initiative that targets innovation related to climate change.

In a competition announced late last week, Musk says he will give $100 million in prize money for the person or team who can develop the best carbon capture technology.

Carbon capture is designed to pull carbon emissions from the atmosphere and store them, in an effort to reduce the amount of remove greenhouse gases and, ultimately, slow down related climate change. This has always been touted as an accessory to carbon reduction strategies, but while progress in being made on that front, carbon capture technology still has room for improvement.

According to Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, carbon capture technology has actually been around, in early iterations, since 1938 but industrial facilities today are capturing “less than one percent of the CO2 that is required to meet the Paris agreement targets for 2040.” But the good news, says Friedmann is that there are several technologies that show significant promise and that it’s generally agreed that the processes are safe.

President Biden has also said he plans to accelerate the development of carbon capture by providing tax breaks and federal investment dollars. Musk’s attempt to sweeten the pot could mean accelerating this kind of development further… and it can’t come a moment too soon.

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