A growing trend sees businesses pledging elimination of their carbon emissions using carbonomics, with some—like Unilever, Amazon and Microsoft—even launching their own climate funds to accelerate and scale promising technology solutions.
One idea that is gaining traction is direct air capture (DAC) which sucks in air and removes the CO2. In September 2021, the Canadian clean energy company Carbon Engineering will begin operations from its prototype DAC plant in Squamish, British Columbia, removing a metric ton of CO2 from the air annually. Ultimately the company hopes to scale this to 1 million metric tons per year. Other companies are also working on DAC, including the Swiss company Climeworks, which currently operates 15 plants across Europe, and New York-based Global Thermostat which has pilot plants in California.
DAC is expensive, and researchers have forecasted that we may need thousands of plants like this. Yet such solutions may be essential. According to the World Resources Institute, most climate models suggest that we need to remove billions of metric tons of CO2 by 2050 and ramp up emission reductions.