Yes, you read that headline right. Unfortunately, many countries, including the US, are nowhere near on track to meet the commitments they’ve made to curb the burning of fossil fuels. Globally, emissions are again rising when they should be falling sharply. It’s not a pretty picture.
The encouraging news is that companies, investors and the US government are all getting serious about a crucial climate technology–removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, it will be essential to remove billions of tons of CO2 from the air.
I’m not a newcomer to this topic. A decade or so ago, FORTUNE magazine published my story about carbon removal, headlined The business of cooling the planet. I followed up with e-book, published by Amazon, called Suck it up: How capturing carbon from the air can help solve the climate crisis. Reporters can be too late with a story, and they can be too early. I was, in this case, too early.
But things are changing! Several billion dollars are flowing into the business of carbon removal. Money is going to startups to develop and scale technologies for getting CO2 out of the air, and big companies are putting up even more money to pay for what are often called “negative emissions.” Eventually, government action will be required but these are important steps.
I wrote about all this at Medium, in a story headlined Suck it up, revisited. The best line in the story comes from Chris Sacca, a venture capitalism who wants to invest in carbon removal. He said:
Removal means removal. It means mopping up the 170 years of extractive sludge milk we’ve already spilled. Removal means we grab CO2 pollution already out there and sock it away permanently. As it has been described quite eloquently by others: When you only have one swimming pool, you gotta fish out the turds already floating around while simultaneously convincing people to stop dropping new turds.
You can read the rest of the story here.