I’ve wanted to write about Klaus Lackner’s air capture ideas for a long time. They originated in his work at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the ’90s, and I met him and talked about the work at the time. But I didn’t really get it, and never wrote about it. In recent years I’ve been actively watching for an opportunity to visit the subject, and his visit to UNM last week gave me the chance.
Beginning at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the mid-1990s, and since 2001 at Columbia University, Lackner has poked and prodded anyone who would listen with this deceptively simple idea: If the atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning is a problem (which he thinks it is), why not clean it out of the air directly?
The idea has won support from some of climate science’s most famous names. And yet, surprisingly, it also has drawn opposition from some advocates of greenhouse gas reductions,