Climate Action

Carbon capture: solution or sideshow? Episode 9 of the House On Fire podcast

Silver bullet for air pollution? The House on Fire podcast talks to carbon-capture pioneers at Climeworks and Carbon Engineering. Image: Chris Robert/Unsplash

James Bray
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SDG 13: Climate Action

  • Episode nine of House on Fire looks at the potential of direct air capture.
  • Will extracting carbon from the air and burying it in the ground help us meet the Paris climate goals?
  • Other episodes in this podcast series focus on the future of meat, biodiversity conservation, shipping decarbonization, and more.
  • Subscribe to House on Fire on Apple, Spotify, Acast.
  • You can find more World Economic Forum podcasts here.

In the ninth episode of House on Fire we ask what role direct air capture has to play in the global effort to decarbonise. With progress on the Paris goals still painfully slow, and the pandemic giving us an insight into the scale of task ahead to bring emissions down to safe levels, do we need to pay more attention to this technology?

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We talk to two of the leading companies in the field that actually have plants up and running. Jan Wurzbacher, CEO of Climeworks, envisages direct air capture growing into an industry on the scale of the fossil fuel industry. Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering, tells us about the big companies looking to use direct air capture as the last step to make their net zero goals reality, and how these first movers can help the technology take off.

Anthony Hobley, Executive Director of the Mission Possible Platform at the World Economic Forum, explains that getting rid of historical emissions is an indispensable part of achieving the world’s climate goals, and direct air capture is one of few technologies that can accomplish it.

Finally, Francesca Battersby, of the consultancy Foresight Transitions, relates the different ways in which governments around the world regard the technology, and how those countries that are well placed to take advantage of direct air capture can do so.

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