Canadian Company Turns Air Into Fuel In Climate Change Fight

In an industrial plant in Squamish, British Columbia, a picturesque town near Vancouver where snow-capped mountains touch the sea, an environmental revolution is afoot.

Scientists are sucking up carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere — and turning it into fuel.

A growing crop of companies, including Carbon Engineering, the Bill Gates-funded Canadian firm behind the Squamish plant, are banking on this direct air capture technology being a potential solution to the planet’s climate woes.

A Carbon Cache

Scientists have warned that unless global temperature rise is limited to below 2 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels, the damage to our planet may be dire and, in some cases, irreversible. But to achieve this goal, net carbon dioxide emissions must decrease to nearly zero by 2050, experts say.

That’s a target that many believe we’re not going to hit.

“The climate policy mantra — that time is running out for 2C but we can still make it if we act now — is scientific nonsense,” wrote Oliver Geden, head of research at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in the journal Nature last May.

Scientific teams have scrambled to find strategies to tackle the climate crisis in the wake of such ominous predictions. Most of these plans have thus far focused on reducing emissions, such as adopting cleaner energy sources and agricultural processes. But in recent years, the conversation has expanded to include another possible solution: capturing emissions.

Specifically, capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air and also from fossil fuel-burning power plants and other CO2 sources, and burying this gas deep underground (a process referred to as carbon capture and storage or CCS).


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