Carbon removal strategies will play an essential role in drawing down CO2 levels. A carbon removal industry is developing that includes natural options like planting trees and restoring prairies and wetlands, pulling CO2 from the atmosphere with Direct Air Capture, and various technical approaches that engineer changes in the environment or rely on injecting CO2 into deep geological structures. But will the industry be a good neighbor to the human communities and the natural world? That’s the question asked by our guests, Nikki Batchelor, director of the $100-million XPRIZE Carbon Removal program, and Alayna Chuney, managing advisor at Carbon180, an NGO working to reduce and reverse the impact of carbon emissions.
The XPRIZE, funded by the Musk Foundation, awarded 15 $1-million interim prizes during 2022 to the most promising entrants on a path to deliver a viable carbon capture business that can remove at least 1,000 tons of CO2 per year. The remainder of the prize will be presented by Earth Day 2025. Following the first round of awards, the XPRIZE team and Carbon180 surveyed entrants to understand their commitment to environmental justice. In February, they released a report, From the Ground Up: Recommendations for Building an Environmentally Just Carbon Removal Industry, that summarizes their findings and presents recommendations about how the nascent industry should engage with the communities where they operate. Nikki and Alayna were the report’s lead authors, and they discuss environmental justice, community involvement, and how to achieve an equitable carbon capture industry. You can learn more about the XPRIZE for Carbon Removal at xprize.org and Carbon180’s mission and work are explained at carbon180.org.
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