March 12th, 2010
05:16 PM ET

Is carbon dioxide a commodity?

 Michael Williams, an energy commissioner in Texas, took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference.  He touted Texas-style solutions as an example of what the right can offer. "CO2 is a commodity," he said. "It's not a waste; it's not a pollutant. Al Gore may be afraid of it but I've got oilmen in Texas who pay $20 a ton for it." Williams said Texas produces 200,000 barrels of oil every day with the help of CO2.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, carbon dioxide, CO2, is a greenhouse gas - a gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through human activities like burning fossil fuels, along with other processes, such as animal respiration. According to the Department of Energy, one-third of carbon emissions in the United States come from power plants and other large emitters.

Given the heat surrounding the climate change debate, CNN Fact Check Desk wondered: Do Williams' comments highlight a potential two-for-one energy solution? Can we use carbon dioxide emissions to collect more oil, turning trash into treasure?

Fact Check: Is carbon dioxide, which would otherwise be considered a waste product, a commodity in Texas?