America enters 2023 faced with two opposing realities: greenhouse gas emissions are going up, but the opportunity to slash those emissions has never been better.
Heat-trapping gasses in the U.S. rose again last year, according to the Rhodium Group. Even though renewables outpaced coal on the grid, emissions climbed in the buildings, heavy industry, and transportation sectors.
Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act could reverse that trend over the next decade. The law, which was the result of years of political pressure and behind-the-scenes dealmaking, devotes nearly $370 billion to domestic clean energy deployment. It could cut emissions by 40% by 2030.
But now the real work begins.
On this week’s episode of The Carbon Copy, Jigar Shah and Katherine Hamilton join host Stephen Lacey to talk about the new era for climate solutions deployment in America. The three former co-hosts reunite for some real-talk about the stakes ahead for implementing the IRA.
Stephen Lacey 00:00
Hey folks, a couple quick words before we start the show. This show is a partnership between Canary Media and Post Script Media and our partners. Canary Media needs your help this giving season. Financial support from listeners like you is critical to Canary’s newsroom. Any tax-deductible donations you make go straight to funding their award-winning journalism on the solutions of climate change on energy equity, workplace diversity, and so much more, including this podcast. Donations help grow Canary’s reporting operations so they can continue to tell more stories and investigate more leads. Go to canarymedia.com, click on the donate button to give a gift today. Thank you so much. There’s been a really big shift in the climate tech world in the last couple of years. And I noticed that this fall when I was at the GreenBiz Verge conference. This is a conference with thousands of people. It’s got a ridiculous amount of tracks, from food tech to supply chains, to electric cars to buildings. And I wanted to go see a panel on engineered carbon removal one afternoon. So I got there on time, expecting there to be like a handful of people in the room. And in my decade and a half of attending energy conferences CO2 removal has never been this buzzy topic that attracted a lot of people. But I walked up to the door and the room was jammed. I was one of the last people to squeeze in. And I made my way through and got my back against the wall. And I looked around and it was an incredibly diverse group of mostly young people furiously taking notes, taking pictures of every slide, and closely following this guy.
Julio Friedmann 02:09
I got into the business of carbon management 20 years ago in carbon removal 12 years ago. And I talked to a lot of empty rooms before I talked to rooms like yesterday.
Stephen Lacey 02:20
Julio Friedman is the Chief Scientist at Carbon Direct. He’s devoted his career to the science of removing carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. He’s held prominent positions in academia and government. And he says the surge of interest in carbon removal reflects a couple of shifts. One is just the scientific urgency.
Julio Friedmann 02:37
In 2014, the IPCC report said carbon removal, “I don’t know if we need it.” In 2022, they said, “Oh my God, we absolutely need it and in huge volumes,” and that reflects the maturation of the science, the understanding of climate risks. The fact that emissions have gone up for the past eight years, like oh, that stuff has weighed in.
Stephen Lacey 02:57
And the other reason is that the technology of engineering carbon out of the air has matured considerably. This is turning into a real business.
Julio Friedmann 03:04
Now, this is not a philanthropic effort. There’s money to be made. There’s projects to be built, there’s credits to be sold. And that is all new in the past two years.
Stephen Lacey 03:20
Just the last year alone, venture investments and carbon removal have doubled. top tech companies are buying credits or taking equity stakes in cutting-edge projects. And it’s not just propellerheads talking to themselves at niche conferences. A new wave of young talent is taking notice.
Julio Friedmann 03:35
So we were all holed up in COVID lockdown and we get out and suddenly everybody’s like, talk to me about carbon.
Stephen Lacey 03:44
This is The Carbon Copy. I’m Stephen Lacey. This week, the state of carbon removal. There is no way we can hit net zero emissions without stripping lots of carbon out of the air. We’ll hear from Rafael Broze of Microsoft about how the company is investing in this space.
Rafael Broze 04:01
You’ve got to start taking into account: okay, how long are we actually keeping carbon from the atmosphere for sure? And that’s what’s leading us down that road towards engineered solutions.
Stephen Lacey 04:11
And we’ll hear from Julio Friedman about the scientific urgency, the tech advancements and what could push or hold back scale.
Julio Friedmann 04:19
It is massive in terms of scale and scope. That is daunting. We are laughably outgunned on this challenge, but whether I’m optimistic or pessimistic, the work looks the same. We still got to do it, or else we’re in a world of hurt.
Stephen Lacey 04:43
So as we chart the rise of interest in carbon removal, January of 2020 was a pretty big turning point. That’s when Microsoft unveiled a plan to become carbon negative by 2030.
Microsoft speaker 04:53
We must take responsibility to address the carbon footprint of our own technology and company but we will also go beyond that. By 2050, we will remove from the environment, all of the carbon we have emitted directly or by electrical consumptions since our company’s founding in 1975.
Stephen Lacey 05:14
Carbon reductions are a big piece of the goal that’s making efficiency improvements or investing in renewables and renewables credits, getting suppliers to cut emissions, basically avoiding putting carbon into the atmosphere. Part of that pathway also includes investing in emerging carbon removal techniques.
Microsoft speaker 05:30
So today, we’re also announcing a new $1 billion dollar Climate Innovation Fund to accelerate the development of carbon reductions and removal technologies.
Stephen Lacey 05:46
And that means building a team of people like Rafael Broze who need to go out and find the projects that actually work.
Rafael Broze 05:52
I am one of the managers of Microsoft’s carbon removal program. I’ve been with that program for about two and a half years and I’ve helped from the early days to build portfolio strategy, review projects, and structure the kinds of deals that we’re doing to build the carbon removal industry.
Stephen Lacey 06:11
When we talk about carbon removal, we’re talking about two distinct methods, nature-based solutions and engineered solutions. Up until now, most investments in carbon removal have gone toward nature-based solutions. And Rafael is evaluating a wide range of options in that area.
Rafael Broze 06:26
The key nature-based solutions I think of as falling into forestry or soil types. So on the forestry side, there are things like agroforestry aforestation, reforestation, planting trees where there are not trees now. There’s also something called improved forest management, which is changing the way we manage existing working forests to store more carbon for longer. On the soil side, there’s a number of practices that appear to lead to greater soil organic carbon buildup, like no-till agriculture, and cover cropping.
Stephen Lacey 06:57
These methods can definitely work. But they have to be closely monitored, sometimes on the ground, sometimes by satellite, lots of projects are not providing long term carbon benefits because they aren’t being properly maintained. There are also climate risks. Microsoft faced this a couple years back with a major forestry project.
Rafael Broze 07:15
One of the projects that we purchased from in 2020 burned in the Bootleg fire. And so that risk went from a theoretical number on a page, you know, 2% risk of reversal of the product lifetime to “well, it happened” and was that reversal risk the right, was that quantified? Well, and that’s something we’re focusing on more and more, how can we find carbon removal projects that aren’t going to face climate risk in the future.
Stephen Lacey 07:40
And that is one of the reasons engineered carbon removal is becoming more attractive for companies with aggressive targets, and some extra money to invest. I sat down with Rafael at the verge conference to talk about what the solutions mix will look like for Microsoft. Can you talk about what the engineered solutions you’re identifying, currently working with or have on the horizon are?
Rafael Broze 08:06
Yeah, absolutely. I think the the best known one is direct air capture, or DAC. And I’ll cover that briefly. I think it’s very well covered elsewhere. Companies like Climeworks, like Carbon Engineering, and Heirloom and others are devising ways to take CO2 directly from atmosphere. And there’s a diverse set of approaches there. But basically, you build a large, something that we would all recognize as a big plant, a big steel on the ground plant. And, you know, you capture CO2 from the atmosphere. You concentrate it, you liquefy it, and you have a storage partner who puts it underground. There are other approaches, of course, as well. There are a lot of biomass-based pathways. You can call it biomass with carbon removal and storage or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. A good example of this might be Charm Industrial here in the Bay Area that is turning crop waste in the Midwest, in, you know, in giant blender sort of process and injecting it underground. And that acknowledges that plants are actually very, very good at capturing carbon slowly over time. And so if we can find the waste streams in those in those agricultural systems, and then turn that waste into carbon removal, that’s a very viable strategy. I’ll add a caveat. And this is one of the things that we’re running into. And I would say like, my philosophy, and I think Microsoft’s philosophy is in this space to just learn by doing and then transparently relate what we’re seeing. And we’ve known for some time that we’re going to have to, there’s a limit, there’s an edge to the amount of sustainable biomass in the world. And we’re getting closer and closer to operationally defining that and we hope to be able to turn out some principles sometimes sometimes soon, publicly say, here’s how we think we should define this.
Stephen Lacey 09:54
And to be clear, this is not overtaking investments in renewable energy. This is complementary to clean energy goals.
Rafael Broze 10:02
Absolutely. That’s not a trade off that we’ve seen internally.
Stephen Lacey 10:06
Talk about how this space has evolved. You know, the Microsoft announcement was a very big deal. And other corporates have said that they’re going to, you know, make other similar kinds of investments and early technology risks and engineered carbon reduction solutions. Try to make sure that they have really high standards for selection of projects. And it does feel like something new is happening in this space. How much momentum do we see behind the carbon removal space right now? Generally,
Rafael Broze 10:36
We see a lot of momentum at this moment. You know, there were a series of announcements in the spring, the First Movers Coalition, Frontier Climate. There was a very large deal announced between Airbus and 1.5. Altogether, you’re talking one and a half, maybe $2 billion in publicly pledged money that doesn’t include folks who are coming in out of the wings that haven’t announced yet. And so I think there’s a lot of momentum there. Down the road, I think we’ll see more and more sectors coming in, as they realize, especially the hard to decarbonize sectors, as they identify that they have relatively limited alternatives for decarbonization.
Stephen Lacey 11:17
So the demand is increasing, but supply is not matching demand right now, at least on the engineered side. Do you see that alleviating? I mean, you said that you eventually see a 50/50 breakdown between nature-based solutions and engineered solutions? When do you expect to see a lot more supply of the engineering solutions come online.
Rafael Broze 11:36
I think we should be seeing a lot more supply for engineered carbon removal in 2024 2025, 26, and 27. Those are when we see the first of a kind, really large plants coming online. And that’s where I think that supply is going to catch up with demand. And then we’re going to be you know, doing deployment led innovation and seeing the green premium come down and seeing who does a little bit better. And going with those folks.
Stephen Lacey 12:02
Can you talk about the scope of this challenge beyond just Microsoft? I mean, we need to pull many Gigatons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Like how big is the problem generally?
Rafael Broze 12:12
Yeah. So if I recall my science appropriately, we need probably 10 Gigatons. That’s 10 billion tons per year of carbon removal in, say, 2050. And then, you know, you add or subtract that depending on how you think we’re doing with decarbonization overall. So probably call it 10 to 15 Gigatons a year. Worldwide, we think the carbon removal market carbon removal capacity per year is about 3 million tonnes. So we’re off by 10,000x. And that’s a very imposing scaling curve. And that’s why we’re putting so much work into this, not only so that Microsoft can be carbon negative in 2030. But so that we can have jumpstarted the development of an industry that society is going to need very much as we get the remainder of decarbonization on track.
Stephen Lacey 13:06
So when you wake up in the morning, and you’ve got this 10 Gigaton number hanging over your head, I mean, like, do you wake up and feel excited about that challenge? Or does it overwhelm you? How do you approach this work?
Rafael Broze 13:23
This is a dream job, right? We’re doing we’re doing the work. But this is a 10 or 20 year project, right? And we’re in the early innings of discovering how to do carbon removal. Well, we’re going to do is keep learning by doing, keep telling folks what we’re seeing and try and going to build a quality projects that that really are going to make a difference.
Stephen Lacey 13:42
Again, that’s Rafael Broze. He’s the manager of the carbon removal program at Microsoft. Coming up, we’re gonna go back to Julio Friedman, who gives us a tour of a place he calls Carbonville and it’s pretty messy there. So how do we scale these emerging engineered solutions and make sure that they’re creating real lasting carbon removal? Julio Friedman spends nearly every waking moment of his day thinking about exactly that.
Julio Friedmann 14:20
I am the carbon wrangler. And that’s actually my job title at Carbon Direct. I am the Chief Scientist and Chief Carbon Wrangler.
Stephen Lacey 14:28
How did you get the name carbon wrangler?
Julio Friedmann 14:31
I realized that was what I did. It was an epiphany at a set of sidebar meetings to COP22. in Marrakech, a wranglers job is to take something that’s in the wrong place and put it in the right place. nothing inherently bad about carbon. It’s in our beer, and we like it there. It’s in our bodies and we like it there. It’s in food, but we do not like it too much of it in the air and oceans. And so we’ve got to wrangle it out.
Stephen Lacey 15:01
Julio likes to call the carbon market carbonville. And Carbon Direct is kind of like the tour guide there that works with some of the world’s biggest tech and industrial companies to understand carbonville’s geography and economy.
Julio Friedmann 15:12
Carbonville is a mess. It is heterogeneous, it is complicated. You need to understand forests and direct air capture and biomass sourcing, it is not an easy place to work. It’s exactly why you need a bunch of scientists. And so we have done our best to match high quality supply in the CO2 removal system to customers who have that demand. And that business is brisk and growing.
Stephen Lacey 15:38
Well, how messy is it? According to Carbon Direct’s analysis, only two and a half percent of carbon credits are delivering durable removal.
Julio Friedmann 15:46
That’s a very small fraction. And the rest of it is other stuff. It’s buying renewable energy projects, its waste management challenges. Some of that’s avoided emission Some of that’s reduced emissions. But in a net zero world, people need to buy removals. And when they got into this, like, “Oh, I’m gonna go out and buy removals” and they suddenly realized there was very little of that in the market.
Stephen Lacey 16:08
So we have ourselves a major imbalance, a lot of emerging demand for high quality credits, but a lack of high quality projects out there in the field. So the morning after his presentation to that packed room, I sat down with Julio to talk about what it will take to clean up carbon fill.
Julio Friedmann 16:28
So in that two and a half percent we talked about, there are valid projects in every vertical in every pathway. So that includes a forestation and reforestation, you have barren land, you grow a new forest, that is valid, durable removal, it has to be managed well, many of these projects aren’t. It has to be validated by people on the ground and verified by spacecraft and stuff. But there’s no mystery about it. We know how to do those things. So there are good reforestation projects. There’s also good improved forestry management projects, where they reduce the rate of harvesting, they allow more carbon to accumulate in the forest. And that’s another way to pull CO2 out of the air and oceans. There are valid CO2 storage projects in soils, where people have done a good job of returning carbon from the atmosphere into the soils. Sometimes it’s structured soil amendments, sometimes as just organic humus. But that works, mangroves do a job, they also put carbon. And they also provide additional benefits, like coastal resilience, and in some cases provide food for communities like so there are additional benefits that come with that carbon benefit. You can also have sort of the far end of the engineered spectrum, you can hoover CO2 out of the air in oceans with direct air capture devices that works, you can accelerate the carbonation of minerals, minerals, weather, and they turn from silicate minerals into carbonate minerals. And that binds the carbon in mineral form. There’s companies now that are coming forward to do that. You can do something like waste to energy, and then capture that CO2 and store it. And there are projects starting around the world to do exactly that. One of my favorite ones is a little one in Sweden, Stockholm Exergi, where they’re taking basically a waste plant that heats the city of Stockholm right now. And they’re gonna capture all that CO2 and store it in the North Sea. All of those approaches work. They’re all sound, but they have different price points. They have different durability. They have different customers, they have different regulatory frameworks, because they’re happening all over the world. They’re happening in different commercial ecosystems. And so everything I said works, but that’s not the same thing as they are at scale today, or they are easy to scale. That’s where these choke points come into the system.
Stephen Lacey 18:49
So these these poor projects, they’re just not verified there. They won’t last long. What’s the what is the problem with them?
Julio Friedmann 18:57
So there’s a mix of stuff. So again, some of what is out there is valid, avoided emissions. Right. Some of it is not. As one example, there was a study done recently in India, they found half of the wind projects that were built there were not additional at all. That means half of them were just nothing. The other half were credible avoided emissions. So if you want to buy avoided emissions, you can but that’s not removal. Those windmills did not remove anything from the air and oceans. It’s not that they’re bad. They generate clean electricity, great, but they do not remove CO2 from the air and oceans. That’s what people wanted to buy. Similarly, a good reduction project, say in the market is methane destruction. So people own a dairy farm and they’re trying to destroy their fugitive emissions. That reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a very real way. That’s great, but it’s not removals. So some of what’s in the market is valid, but it’s not removals. Some of what’s in the market is bollocks. And we’ve discovered that. Not just us, I mean, there is now a thriving journalistic train of people who go out and find bad projects. And nobody wants to be caught with their pants down. Many of our customers are concerned very much about reputational risk. So they want to make sure that what they’re buying is valid. Those are technical questions. And the market standards don’t exist. This is a key issue. All of the people who do certifications built the certifications for a different business model. Right? They were trying to demonstrate that the project that they said happened happened, and they have a whole bunch of checkmarks. on him, again, I’m not throwing shade. We need companies like Vera, and Gold Standard, and others in the market to do that work. Similarly, the the exchanges, companies like South Pole and so forth, they have a good business trying to bring that supply together in a way that helps people with cost, but they were not built for that. There is no SEC for carbon, none. And developing protocols and standards like that is time consuming and expensive and deeply technical. So do you wait for the ISO to come up with a standard on their own? Do you wait for DG CLIMA and Brussels to do this for Europe? Or do you lean in and try to do useful stuff in the meantime. And so it’s complicated in the market and the most. That’s the right way to say it. It’s the companies that care the most that are doing the most, there are thought leaders and investing the most, they want to make sure that what they’re doing is sound, and that they get the service they bought. It’s pretty straightforward. But you need a bunch of science in the heart of what you do.
Stephen Lacey 21:43
I think it’s important to take a step back here and talk about why we are discussing carbon removal. So this is a 10 Gigaton problem, we need to take 10 Gigatons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. How big is that challenge?
Julio Friedmann 21:57
So it’s enormous. And it’s exactly why we started the company. Our founder, Jonathan Goldberg, realized that the carbon removal market will necessarily be the biggest market of all human history, and he wanted to be in it. So he started the company. Just for comparison, all of the oil and gas that has moved around the world is about 5 billion tons. That is the minimum amount of CO2 removal that the IPCC says we need. It might be as big as 10 Gigatons, the cumulative volumes are between 300 billion and a trillion tonnes. Okay? That just again, for comparison, a trillion tonnes is twice what we have emitted over human history. Okay, it’s a big number. And it is, like 500 times bigger than one country’s emissions; it’s huge. And so even if we zero out emissions everywhere, we still have to do emissions removal. And that is independent of the job of reductions. We have to reduce everything we can as quickly as we can. Very few people actually debate that. But the point is, we must now do removals as well. And the volumes are huge. And the prices today are low. So we actually have to figure out a way to create the supply, slowly get the prices to a point where they’re useful, and deliver the projects we want. It’s tough business.
Stephen Lacey 23:31
So let’s talk about one of the first choke points, which is just cost. At the scale that we’re seeing these engineered solutions what are the ranges of costs per tonne of CO2 removed.
Julio Friedmann 23:43
So before I answer that, let me step back a little bit. Right now, the nature based solutions that are good, are the lowest cost, they are ranging in price between say 20 and $35, for the good stuff. We’ve seen those prices inching up, it’s not crazy to imagine there’ll be in the $50 range soon. As land gets scarce as the good opportunities get snapped up, we expect the cost of nature based solutions to increase. Conversely, today, the technology solutions are very expensive. Direct air capture, say is on the order of $600 a tonne. A good biochar project might be on the order of $150 a tonne. A good biomass with carbon capture project might be between 150 and $300 a tonne. As those deployed those costs will go down. So there will be some point in the future where there’s cost parity between the nature based solutions and the engineered pathways. That is inevitable. But I don’t know if that’s in 2030 or in 2040 or in 2050. Nobody knows. So in the near term, we actually have to grow supply in all of these systems. We need more of these engineered pathways and hybrid pathways like biomass with CCS but we also need to scale up the nature based solutions, because that’s what’s cheap and available today. And at our company we are building portfolios for our customers where there’s a blend of all of this stuff that manages risk, that manages price, and that manages questions like durability. One of the problems with trees is they burn, and then the CO2 goes back in the air. Rocks don’t burn. It’s just a different physics and chemistry. One costs quite a bit more than the other. And so one of the questions is, do you buy the carbon? Or do you rent the carbon? Or do you lease the carbon, those have different price points and different durability is in different business models. All of that is shaking out of the market real time.
Stephen Lacey 25:34
So what are the other bottlenecks in the engineered space?
Julio Friedmann 25:39
So there are three things that keep me up at night about the engineered pathways, and it is not cost. We’re going to innovate, the cost will come down. But there’s three things that keep me up at night. The first of those is human capital. We probably have enough engineers, but they’re not in the right place yet. They’re not trained. We certainly don’t have anybody else. We don’t have specialty welders, electricians; we don’t have the people who will permit these projects; we don’t have tax equity lawyers who know what I’m talking about; we do not have the full complement of business and worker skills to deploy. And until we do, we’re gonna be rate-limited by human capital first, if you know something about carbonville today, you can change jobs every six months for a higher salary, because there’s no people out there. Thing, too, is infrastructure. You’re not moving electrons, you’re not moving memes, you’re moving molecules. So you need the infrastructure to do that. And some of that stuff like transmission grids, some of that stuff like ports that can ship and receive and move CO2 and biomass. Some of that are pipelines, whether they’re hydrogen pipelines, or CO2 pipelines and CO2 storage sites, that infrastructure largely doesn’t exist. And it’s hard to deploy until we have more of it. The last thing that keeps me up at night is the permitting. And permitting is not just a question of governments executing. It’s also a question of the communities associated with these projects. And some communities do not want forestry projects. Some communities do not want direct air capture projects. Most communities do not know anything about this space and don’t know what they want. But we won’t get the permits to do this until we have a broader acceptance and large groups of people who say yes, and even then, it might take seven years to turn the crank on a project, that’s just too long, we got to get fastpath for all this stuff. So these are the things that worry about, I believe will overcome them. I’m optimistic. But I can’t be jejeune about it, either. There’s work to go around.
Stephen Lacey 27:44
So those first two human capital and infrastructure, it leads me to wonder why multinational oil companies haven’t been getting into this space more aggressively. If they’ve got the engineering talent, and they’ve got the infrastructure expertise.
Julio Friedmann 28:00
That’s actually really easy. First of all, no one asked them to, they deal with customers who want fuel, they provide fuel. So until people really ask them to do that they’re not gonna. Second of all, they couldn’t make money. Until very recently, this just looked like a deadweight economic cost, right? So if you brought a big CO2 removal project to the board of a big multinational company and said, “hey, put a billion dollars into a direct air capture project,” they would say no thank you. We could put a billion dollars to get a return instead. Right? Now that there is policy evolving in many nations. Some of it is regulatory policy that caps emissions. Some of it is like the European Trading System. Some countries like Canada now have $170 carbon tax, which is quite a lot. In the United States, we don’t do taxes, we do incentives. We have now $180 a ton for direct air capture incentive that is a few months old. Unsurprisingly, the energy companies are excited now! Now they are getting into this space because there’s revenue. It’s not that complicated. I never asked myself, “why has my kid not cleaned up there room?” The reason why it’s because I haven’t asked them to I haven’t told them or I haven’t incentivize them, right? Until we do those things. Of course, my kids not going to clean up the room. Of course, an energy company isn’t going to do what is outside the scope of an energy company. That said, last point on this, if we’re gonna do this at scale, the skill set in energy companies is hugely valuable, not just the injecting CO2 into the subsurface, which like they’re the only people who know how to do that. But pulling together a $2 billion project. That’s something energy companies do kind of all the time. Putting together the capital stack, managing the team of engineers, like investing in innovation. Energy companies have a lot of skills and a lot of human capital that we’re going to need to pull this off. So I’m glad they’re getting off the sidelines and starting to become more active. That’s useful. And we will all be glad they did.
Stephen Lacey 30:08
There’s a lot more cash coming into carbonville through the form of government investment, the inflation Reduction Act will bring in, you know, record amount of government investments in this space. What are we seeing? How transformative could it be?
Julio Friedmann 30:23
Unquestionably, hugely transformative. The incentive stack that is in the inflation Reduction Act is unparalleled, by any nation, anywhere. That is driving investment in the US and a hugely important way. Before that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is also transformative is creating a bunch of that infrastructure I was talking about. And it also includes big grants for things like hubs, where you can co locate a lot of this stuff and save on infrastructure costs, and train a workforce. Those two pieces of legislation are hugely transformative. And frankly, I’ve been to meetings now where other nations come to me and said, “Is there a way you can get the US to reduce its incentive stacks, it’s kind of making us look bad.” So our response to that is, “You could up your game, you could add incentives, and we’ll see how well this goes.”
Stephen Lacey 31:18
So this 10 Gigaton challenge is astonishingly large, can feel overwhelming, but there’s they’re real projects happening, small relative to the scale of the problem, but certainly technological progress that seems really promising. When when we have this conversation 20 years from now, how do you think we’ll be characterizing the market?
Julio Friedmann 31:39
It’s impossible to say. My guess, is based on what happened with batteries, and solar. You know, 20 years ago, solar was a failed set of department of energy projects in the Mojave Desert, that were ridiculously expensive and tiny. And other than that, people were buying solar panels for vanity or spacecraft. And then things changed. And our world got a lot better, right. 20 years ago, the only lithium ion batteries in the marketplace were for camcorders. Camcorders don’t even exist anymore, right? But that was how they got their entry into the market because people wanted to keep filming their kids. Like literally that was it. So it’s impossible to guess how these things are going to be. But I think we are going to see a change of incumbents. I think we’re going to see a whole new set of pathways for CO2 removal that we haven’t even imagined yet stuff like wood burial is becoming a thing, and it does remove carbon dioxide. I think we will begin to see new laws and new protocols. Everything from the revisions to the London Convention of the Sea, to Article 6’s complete collapse and dissolution. I think we’re gonna see all these things. But mostly what we’re gonna see is a handful of really energetic young entrepreneurs today, ending their careers with success. They are going to say I spent my life working on this problem and it worked. And I contributed, and we went from all of us going to die to we all have a future. And that’s what gets me so excited every time I get out of bed and enter the world.
Stephen Lacey 33:22
Julio Friedman is the Chief Scientist and carbon wrangler at Carbon Direct, and The Carbon Copy is a co production of Post Script Meda and Canary Media. Remember, if you want to support Canary Media’s journalism, go to canarymedia.com and you can donate there you’ll see a tab at the top of the page. Really, they’ve got a fantastic team of journalists, we are so honored to be working with them, and your tax deductible donation will go to a really good cause. This episode was produced by Alexandria Herr and me Stephen Lacey, Sean Marquand is our engineer. He also composed our theme song. The original music came from echo Finch and blue dot sessions. Post Script Media is supported by Prelude Ventures. Prelude is a venture capital firm that partners with entrepreneurs to address climate change across a wide range of sectors. That’s advanced energy, food and agriculture, transportation, logistics, advanced materials, manufacturing, advanced computing, and now media. Give us a rating review on Apple or Spotify. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for doing that. It’s really helpful and send your thoughts on social media as well. I am Stephen Lacey. This is The Carbon Copy. We’ll catch you soon.
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