Under many projections for limiting climate change, capturing a large amount of carbon dioxide will be necessary to keep global warming to a few degrees. The reason for this is simple – there is no other way for us to reduce our emissions within the necessary timeframe. Even with rapid deployment of renewable energy, electrification, and increased efficiency, carbon removal will be needed to address emissions from hard-to-decarbonize sectors like aviation, shipping, and agriculture.
Carbon capture has a bad rap for being too expensive and difficult to deploy at scale. However, there’s been a recent surge of startups in carbon conversion and utilization – a.k.a. reusing carbon as an ingredient for materials. This space, which has received a number of different monikers (e.g., carbon to value, carbon utilization, and carbontech) may represent a major shift for the carbon ecosystem and encourage higher levels of capture necessary to meet a 1.5-2ºC future.