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Capture the carbon

29 April, 2022

The latest IPCC report, was the first to state clearly that CO2 removal is needed to achieve our climate targets. This demands more than emissions reductions and requires a revaluation of the efficacy of conventional offsets compared to new carbon capture technologies.

Perhaps it would be helpful to distinguish between carbon offsets and carbon capture, first.

When we talk about ‘carbon offsets’, we mean compensating for our emissions by funding projects that reduce emissions elsewhere. For example, last year Good Business funded afforestation projects in the UK and Nicaragua to offset the 100 tonnes of CO2e we emitted in 2020. By contrast, ‘direct air carbon capture and storage’ (DACCS) technologies permanently remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

We’ll be offsetting our 2021 emissions through afforestation projects too, as alternative options are limited, but the transition to funding DACCS needs to be made in the (very) near future.  Whilst the price of carbon capture is a barrier at the moment, it is good (and vital) that we start talking about going beyond offsetting. The more we do, the more likely it is that carbon becomes fairly priced, too.

Researchers have warned that the long-term effectiveness of afforestation is uncertain, with regular wildfires and hazard-events diminishing these projects’ stability. Even more so, the efficiency of carbon capture technology is unparalleled compared with afforestation. Climeworks are a stand-out carbon capture company and report that one of their carbon collectors does the same job as two thousand trees. Their capture and storage plants are a live example of the future production of negative emissions: reducing the amount of space and land required to sequester carbon, naturally.

All this invites serious questions about what the future of ‘net zero’ looks like: how can we innovate to net zero and provide stable, long-term solutions?

Answers to such questions demand serious effort. And fortunately, our friends at Tortoise Media are hosting their second annual Climate Summit on the 12th May to discuss these and other questions. They have invited Friday 5 subscribers to attend six interactive sessions about accelerating the race to net zero. Secure your place here by using the invite code GOODBUSINESSGUEST to gain entry.

By Bertie Bateman

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