Tesla chief and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk announced a $100 million prize for the "best" technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions, and many Twitter users had the same thought - plant more trees. Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air, according to a Reuters report.
"Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology," wrote Elon Musk in a tweet, promising details "next week".
The announcement generated a huge buzz on social media, given the jaw-dropping prize amount up for grabs.
Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021
Since being shared a few hours ago, the tweet has garnered over 3.2 lakh 'likes' and thousands of responses - most of them urging the billionaire to plant more trees.
According to the American Forests Organisation, trees are a natural "carbon sink" - they pull carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into food.
"The carbon from the CO2 becomes part of the plant and is stored as wood," the organisation writes. "Eventually, when the plant or tree dies, the carbon it has been storing is released into the atmosphere." This makes deforestation one of the biggest causes of carbon dioxide emission.
"If nobody comes up with something better than trees..... let's plant some trees," suggested one Twitter user to Elon Musk in the comments section.
"Hello, this is my invention for carbon capture technology : I call it a tree," another wrote while sharing a picture of a tree.
Indian Forest Service officer Parveen Kaswan also joined the conversation with the "best carbon capture technology available".
Best carbon capture technology available. If needed i can share the details also. pic.twitter.com/5MxTimGmNo— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) January 22, 2021
His response garnered nearly 6,000 'likes'. Take a look at some of the other responses to Mr Musk's tweet:
Trees.— GVF (@i_gvf) January 22, 2021
Where do I send my bank info?
Seriously? Plant more trees— J2F (@TVOnTheSpot) January 21, 2021
Afforestation and reforestation
does this work for my submission? pic.twitter.com/YLb3sumX2T— Will McLaren (@ILLWi117) January 21, 2021
However, many Twitter users also pointed out that simply planting more trees was not a viable solution.
Fundamentally, though, we have taken hundreds of gigatonnes of CO2 out of the earth's crust, and there's not enough arable land to store it all on the earth's surface. A good portion of it needs to go back into the crust via mineral or geologic storage.— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) January 22, 2021
Not really. It would be insufficient once all the fossil inside earth is extracted . Trees can retain a certain amount till they are alive , rest go through decay process and is released back to atmosphere as methane.— AAYUSH NARAYAN (@aayushnarayan) January 22, 2021
Technology like Calcium carbonate capture is needed.
According to Elon Musk's electric car manufacturer company Tesla's website, the Tesla community has saved millions of tons of CO2 by driving electric cars.
Newly-sworn-in U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology as part of his sweeping plan to tackle climate change. On Thursday, he named Jennifer Wilcox, an expert in carbon removal technologies, as the principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.Click for more trending news