Contents: introduction, guest appearances, further reading, transcript, sources, credits
"We can put it right back down the very same well that we got the oil and gas out of" (Katherine Romanak)
Measurable, instant, continuous carbon capture, and safe, reliable, permanent storage. Sound too good to be true?
Actually, this is exactly what engineered solutions like DAC (Direct Air Capture) and geological sequestration claim to bring to our carbon removal toolkit. The former promises technological innovation that does a tree's job better than a tree. The latter offers one of our surest bets that once we've got the CO2 down, we can keep it down, out of the atmosphere for as good as forever.
Naturally, however, these unnatural solutions have catches, complications... even controversies. Are we engineering our ways out of one problem and into several others?
In this episode, Tom and Emily suck it up, dig deep and take a plunge into some of humankind's most tech-heavy attempts at fixing our carbon problem.
This episode's guests
Many thanks to our excellent guests in this episode:
- Dr Katherine Romanak, Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas
- Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering
Want to delve deeper now you've listened to the show? Look no further than the list below of articles, podcasts and other resources. They helped us to learn more about engineered approaches to carbon capture and storage, and we think you might like them too...
Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction
MIT Technology Review
July 8, 2021
Five rules for evidence communication
November 19, 2020
A comment article in Nature, offering quick tips and experience from evidence communication. In short: inform, not persuade; offer balance, not false balance; disclose uncertainties; state evidence quality and inoculate against misinformation (i.e. "prebunking" - address concerns or potential misunderstandings directly).
Nan Ransohoff and Ryan Orbuch, Stripe Climate Team
My Climate Journey
September 4, 2020
A conversation with two key members of Stripe's climate team, who are responsible for the company's negative emissions commitment made in 2019.
Carbon Capture Projects Map
July 18, 2018
Map of all active (operational, planned etc) carbon capture projects in the world. Good overview of what's going on where. Correct as of mid-2018.
A Matter of Degrees: Cleaning up the carbon mess
A Matter of Degrees
November 19, 2020
An exploration of different ways that we can remove carbon from the atmosphere. A great place to start on your carbon removal journey.
Carbon Removal Mechanisms
July 24, 2020
This article provides a very useful introduction to the carbon cycle, and how the carbon removal mechanisms discussed in the series interact with it. In particular, the distinction between avoided emissions and negative emissions is worth paying attention to.
Removing CO2 from the atmosphere won't save us
December 7, 2015
An article from two climate scientists, explaining why we must prioritise emission reductions over carbon removals. Published during the Paris climate conference in 2015.
Carbon removal academy (free course)
November 30, 2020
Academy with articles, videos and other useful resources split into different chapters. The Carbon Removal Academy is a useful course for getting up to speed with all things carbon removal.
From tree planting to CO2-sucking machines: How could ‘negative emissions’ help to tackle the climate crisis?
February 10, 2021
A good overview of negative emissions in general, including the challenges faced by each NET
Without carbon capture, the world can't meet its climate targets
January 10, 2021
We need to take CO2 out of the sky
February 22, 2020
A carbon removal 101, written by a non-specialist after a few months of learning. Useful for understanding different measurements of CO2, and for accessing his own reading list for "negative emissions"
Carbon Removal Glossary
March 1, 2021
This spreadsheet provides definitions for well over 100 phrases associated with carbon removal.
Public perceptions of carbon dioxide removal in the United States and the United Kingdom
July 1, 2020
A study of public perceptions of CDR in the UK and US - lots of interesting findings to dig into, including outlining some of the objections that the public may raise to the use of CDR.
Intro to 10 'negative emission' technologies
April 11, 2016
A whistle-stop tour of 10 major techniques to remove GHGs from atmosphere, along with a helpful diagram and set of explanations.
Carbon Dioxide Removal Primer
January 1, 2021
A summary of all things carbon dioxide removal related, written by several experts in the field. An invaluable resource, available as a book or freely available online.
Negative Emissions source materials
May 1, 2020
A link to applications completed by different CDR projects for support as part of Stripe's negative emissions commitment
The Earth's Carbon Cycle: animated diagram
May 22, 2019
Really nice video of the cabron cycle and how it has changed since pre-industrial era
Greenhouse gases must be scrubbed from the air
November 16, 2017
An early introduction to the need for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere, for hard-to-abate sectors. Uses the example of Sweden's decarbonisation pledge.
Carbon removal permanence calculator
December 9, 2020
This calculator estimates the upfront costs needed to make a temporary carbon removal strategy permanent over time, and allows comparisons with more permanent techniques.
We need to talk about carbon removal
October 1, 2018
The positive allure of negative emissions
August 9, 2019
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- Emily Swaddle & Tom Previte - co-hosts
- Ben Weaver-Hincks - producer
- Henry Irvine - researcher
- Sam Floy & Patrick Carter - project managers
- Mercy Barno - editor
- Sam Carter - music producer
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