We need to cut emissions on a massive scale: a solution to carbon sequestration?

Carbon capture is the solution to the climate crisis, but only if we act now.

Or so the speakers at Climworks Air Capture Summit 2021.

The event, which runs from 14 to 15 September, explores the full potential of Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology.

DAC is a technology that captures CO2 from the atmosphere and either stores it underground or repurposes it for food and fuel.

This has been touted as a key method to keep emissions below 1.5 degrees, with Climeworks CEO and founder Jan Wurzbacher saying, “We need to remove carbon dioxide on a fairly significant scale. By the middle of the century, we need to remove 10 billion tons every year.” DAC, he says, is capable of doing just that.

FROM KS26 – The upcoming UN climate summit – in just a few months, finding solutions to the problems associated with reducing carbon emissions should be a big topic of discussion. But without cooperation, funding, and the right investment in infrastructure, experts from the world’s leading DAC companies fear the world could miss the boat.

The time has come to act now

“What if the numbers we have for carbon removal are too conservative?” asks Nicholas Eisenberg of Global Thermostat on the first day of the Climeworks summit.

“We already have very little time – less than 20 years to achieve our goals. Climate science is telling us that by 2030 we should start increasing the climate capture curve.”

Every quarter starts to matter, every calendar month starts to matter, the managing partner warns.

Eisenberg advises the global community to work to mimic the rapid deployment, funding and infrastructure that took place with the rise of solar energy.

“If we have to try to scale in 10 to 15 years it will cost a lot more, we definitely need to start those rollouts now.”

Government Infrastructure Needed to Make DAC Effective

Although the DAC is a fully functional technology, there is skepticism about how well it can work in practice. Some attribute this to the fact that factories take up land, as well as high costs and energy costs. Simply put, a huge amount of infrastructure is required to run the technology.

Amy Ruddock, vice president of carbon engineering in Europe, explained that policies are urgently needed to make DAC an effective option to reverse and combat the negative effects of climate change.

“What is the revenue stream from clearing our skies?” she asks the summit participants.

“There has to be a clear source of income, and this is where the government needs to intervene.”

While costs are high now, they will be much higher if temperatures continue to rise, she says.

Adding that fears of land impacts may be unfounded, Ruddock also says that less use of land and water through carbon capture technologies means the global community has the opportunity to pursue two goals at the same time, such as carbon capture and wildlife restoration.

Although the technology is in its infancy, the optimism of all the speakers at the Climeworks summit was evident.

As Hans de Neve, co-founder of Carbyon, puts it, “The climate catastrophe has caught the public’s attention — people are asking regulators to do something.”