Carbon Dioxide Removal & Me: An Introduction

Hi!

This is my first Medium post and I’m going to keep it brief to just give a bit of context on who I am, why I’m starting this blog, and what I’m going to post about.

I’m a climate and energy professional with experience in sustainability development policy, climate change adaptation, and energy efficiency (here’s my LinkedIn if you want more information on my background).

There is no major issue that is unaffected by a changing climate. Care about national security? The Pentagon calls it a “threat multiplier” and the National Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment listed climate change as one of the top threats to global security.

Care about refugees or worried about migrant caravans? There is ample evidence showing that the crisis in Syria was exacerbated, if not caused, by climate change and that many of the Central American migrants hoping to come to the US are doing so in part due to climate change impacting crop harvests. The World Bank estimated that by 2050, there will be over 140 million people forced to move within their own countries in just 3 regions because of climate change. That figure just accounts for people moving within their home country so it doesn’t even factor in potential international migrants such as the 165 million Bangladeshis living in a country whose land area is 80% flood zones.

Concerned about public health? The American Public Health Association calls climate change a public health emergency.

Want to forget about all this stuff and just have a beer? Increasing drought and heat trends are projected to significantly decrease barley yields, potentially more than doubling beer prices.

I could do this about pretty much anything under the sun because everything is a climate issue in one way or another. The more you learn about it, the more dire it can seem. In fact, after reading my Masters thesis on climate change adaptation in 2015, my mother said she almost felt guilty about the world her offspring will experience. It can be overwhelming and you don’t want to be like this guy, so wrought with climate dread he’s making everyone around him miserable.

I had always been intrigued by carbon capture technologies (different than carbon removal which I’ll explain in a later post) but it wasn’t until early 2021 when I saw a headline about United Airlines contracting with a direct air capture company, Carbon Engineering, to “suck carbon out of the sky” that I began doing more research on the state of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.

When I learned more about CDR and its potential to help avert climate catastrophe, I was excited and wanted to learn more. So like Michael Phelps into an Olympic swimming pool or Scrooge McDuck into a room full of gold coins, I decided to dive right in.

Above: Editorial Process Depiction

Over the coming weeks and months, I hope to do deeper dives into what CDR is, why we need it, how it works, what the different methods are, and what it can mean for the economy and the planet going forward.

As a whole, I want to use this space to explain the issue, discuss news and recent developments, explore ideas, and just generally be part of the larger conversation around this exciting new field as it develops.

This industry will become a very big deal. It simply has to be if we’re going to have any hope of staving off catastrophic climate change.

Follow along with me as we keep up with the Next Big Thing.