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Okay, this is going to be speculative, but we are facing an existential threat to civilization if not humanity, and therefore we must explore the more outré options. What I am proposing is creating a CO2 recovery station on the Argus dome (-80.3667, 77.353) in Antarctica. That place is the highest and sometimes the coldest place on the surface of the Earth. In the coldest day of its winter, the temperatures may reach as low as July 2005: −82.5 °C (−116.5 °F). You can go there now for a webcam view. One of my previous posts on this location for the permanent storage of seeds: Dome Argus in Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.

Antarctica Ice Flow showing the Argus Dome (in blue area just below RC of “East AntaRCtica”)

The advantage of pulling CO2 out of the air at this location is because when the air is that cold it will not take as much energy to create pressures necessary to reach the temperature of condensation. At the elevation of 4,093 m (13,428 ft) the CO2 will not condense but it is closer to condensing. There will need to be an input of energy to create liquid or solid CO2. It is very costly to bring in diesel fuel to power a generator to run a compressor to liquefy the air to create the liquid CO2 and other liquids. A large windmill would probably function better in the dark of Antarctic winter. It will be necessary to have the temperature near -100 °C to cause deposition back to solid CO2. Obviously, all of this is very costly, but the energy needed to pull the CO2 out of the air is far less than the energy released by burning of the fossil fuel from which the CO2 came into the atmosphere. Thus a carbon tax would be imposed to balance the cost of burning the fuel. Ha, lots of luck with that.

Another possibility, and this is reaching, is to create an automatic cold spot at the Argus dome that is so very cold that the CO2 would solidify out of the air. That isn’t impossible because at that location in the dead of winter the sky temperature is approaching absolute zero. Thus a black surface, protected from the wind by a couple of layers of glass, would itself radiate energy and drop to a very low temperature. It would be lower than -100 °C and might be low enough that a self-sustaining removal of CO2 from the atmosphere would take place.

Desperate times call for desperate efforts.

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