I’ve been a devoted reader of YaleEnvironment360, an online magazine that offers excellent reporting and solid analysis of all things environmental, since its launch in 2008. So I’m pleased that this week I wrote my first story for the website.
The story is about how carbon dioxide can be removed from the air, a technology I reported on last fall for FORTUNE and that will be the subject on my forthcoming book, Suck It Up: How capturing carbon from the air can help solve the climate crisis. The ebook will be published next month as an Amazon Kindle Single. I’ll have more to say about it (and the ebook publishing model) when the book is released.
The YaleE360 story is headlined: Rethinking Carbon Dioxide: From a Pollutant to an Asset.
Here’s how it begins:
With global greenhouse gas emissions still on the rise, despite decades of talk about curbing them, maybe the time has come to think differently about the climate crisis. Yes, we need to burn less coal, oil and natural gas, but clearly fossil fuels are going to be around for awhile. So why not try to clean up the mess they make?
That’s what a handful of prominent scientists are trying to do by developing technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the air. These scientists have launched start-up companies and attracted well-to-do investors — most notably Bill Gates — along with venture capital and, most recently, the attention of Wall Street. They say their technology does not need government support, though it would help. What it needs, above all, is a mindset that regards CO2 not simply as a pollutant but as a valuable commodity.
Nathaniel “Ned” David, the chief executive of a startup called Kilimanjaro Energy, puts it this way: “The single largest waste product made by humanity is CO2. Thirty gigatons a year. It’s immensely valuable, and today we just blow it out the tail pipe. What if there were some way to actually capture it, use it, and make money?”
You can read the rest here.
Writing the story gave me the opportunity to reconnect with Roger Cohn, the editor of YaleE360, who was a classmate of mine at Yale in the 1970s (although we didn’t know one another then.) Roger, who went on to report for The Philadelphia Inquirer and edit Audubon magazine and Mother Jones, has done an excellent job with the Yale site.
A last thought: If you write a blog or host a radio show (or know someone who does) I’d like to get the word out about the book, which explains why we’ve failed to deal with global warming and why air capture of CO2 could be a promising, market-based response to climate change. I’ll be attending the first scientific conference devoted to air capture in Calgary, Alberta, on March 7-8. More to come, soon.