I live in Minnesota and I am concerned about my carbon footprint. I know that heating and cooling are large contributors to emissions globally.
This video from the excellent Youtube channel Technology Connections concisely describes why directly burning fossil fuels in homes for heating is preferable for now in cold climates, until carbon neutral energy generation can produce and store much more energy for the grid. It is less efficient to generate electrical power via natural gas or coal, transmit it to homes and use it to run an electric furnace than it is to burn the fuel directly.
Update: New video from Technology connections makes the case that heat pumps with current tech actually change this math, because they move around energy from the environment, they can be more than 100% efficient. So in short, this is more evidence to back up the respondents to this question. Moving to heat pumps ASAP will reduce carbon output, even with the current grid that has lots of fossil fuels in the mix. And things only get better as energy generation decarbonizes.
I also know that carbon capture technology exists, targeted at a few areas that I'm aware of personally. There are direct carbon capture technologies for the transportation sector, like this company backed by YC for capturing carbon directly from trucks.
I also know of even more discussion happening around capturing carbon from the air. This has the nice impact of being able to correct our historical emissions if used widely enough. These projects however are energy intensive in themselves, as they are looking for a proportionally sparse amount of carbon in regular air that is mixed with lots of nitrogen an oxygen. I do understand that planting trees may be more efficient than any of these mechanical/chemical processes in the short term, but that isn't really the point of this discussion.
I tried looking around to see if there is anything being developed that can apply this same principle of direct carbon capture on transportation vehicles, and attach it to a furnace. So far I haven't found much, mostly just articles about technology about potentially turning AC units into carbon capture devices, but these seem again to be pulling carbon out of the air, not capture furnace emissions directly. It seems like an easy path to reduce current emissions, I have a carbon dense stream of gas I intentionally vent out of my house so I don't build up CO2 in my living space, but could I instead put that into a carbon capture device?
I did find one article discussing this directly, but it was published pretty recently and says the work is pretty theoretical at this point. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132321010209
Is there something obvious I'm missing that explains why this isn't being discussed more? Does an HVAC system produce too much exhaust to process right away? Could we install a holding tank for the exhaust that would be fed into a carbon capture system?
I do understand that any carbon capture system doesn't magically destroy the carbon, this system would produce some liquid or solid that contains carbon and oxygen. Like the climeworks site says of its capture technology's biproducts "Once the CO₂ is captured, it can be permanently and safely turned into stone through rapid mineralization which is a natural occurrence where the CO₂ reacts with basalt rock." So maybe it is simply a problem of being too much of a hassle to get people to properly handle these byproducts if a residential system like this was developed?