Beyond Carbon Capture

To really start addressing climate change, we need to not only drastically reduce our current carbon dioxide emissions, but also start capturing past emissions from the atmosphere.

Offsetting currently unavoidable emissions is becoming more and more widespread in the race to net zero, and there are already some attempts to capture and store emissions originating from industrial origins (CCS), but they have mostly failed to meet targets, despite allowing for some reduction in emission levels.

Direct atmosphere capture (DACC) could allows us to move beyond carbon neutrality into being carbon negative. Many are looking at these solutions for their promise, some more technological, some more nature-based, some very new, others quite ancient. There is no consensus on what would be the best solution: is it regenerative agriculture, carbon mineralization, agroforestry, biochar, marine permaculture, carbon farming, capture and storage or capture and use? Or something else that has yet to be invented?

At SCA we believe that, for complex problems, the solutions will be multiple, and we are likely to need to develop different approaches working in tandem to meet the capture targets for a healthy Earth. Whatever we develop has to be done in a transparent way and keeping in mind the needs of people and planet, or we risk falling into the traps of greenwashing, business as usual and destruction of ecosystems. What do you think?

What are the most promising solutions in your view? We want to hear your voices, join the discussion and let us know your thoughts in this thread.

For the next three months, we will be doing a deep dive into carbon capture methods, researching benefits and drawbacks of each and talking to the leaders bringing the most inspiring projects to life. If there are projects or articles close to your heart that you would like us to consider, or if you would like to contribute more deeply to the research on the state of the art for carbon capture, please let us know!

It would also be a good idea to work with and see their Plan B. They have comprehensive knowledge of the issues and all groups should contribute to one another and not stick to much to their ‘political agenda.’

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It’s an important issue and one that will need rigour to get to grips with.
My guess, on the basis of reading some of the literature, is that it will require a multi-faceted approach, including,
Forest restoration
Stewardship by traditional forest-dwelling people
Selective afforestation in areas where this is ecologically appropriate - particularly previously deforested and soil-degraded areas.
Restoration and improvement of grasslands (including via carbon-friendly, extensive, livestock management).
Restoration, protection and improvement of peatlands.
Restoration of marine carbon-capturing ecosystems such as salt-marshes.
Agro-ecological transformation of food-production - switching from industrial to ecological management, including soil restoration.
However, all these approaches will need quantifying carefully and subjecting to a people and planet impact evaluation. Otherwise we end up with incoherent proposals (and you don’t have to look far to find them) that don’t stack up as credible solutions and that lead to things like the displacement and impoverishment of rural communities.

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Thank you for sharing @WorkTraderLocal! The plan has a lot of interesting proposals and ideas to look through. I’d personally prefer a bit less of the “mass extinction” narrative though as I find that it can be quite discouraging and put people more into survival mode than proactive mode.
From all the measures they suggest, are there any that you find particularly urgent?

I agree with the multi-faceted approach @ssmuk. The impact evaluation is a really important step to try and prevent unintended impacts, and that is why I feel we need to look sistemically at any proposals or technologies. Without careful evaluation greenwashing is also much easier. Do you know any watchdogs for carbon capture approaches? A report that I found interesting is this one by Compensate, on evaluation of projects for carbon offsets.