This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Every few years, the world’s top scientists come up with hundreds of different scenarios, all aimed at limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The successful plans all require serious emissions cuts — not surprising, as humans have put more than 1.7 trillion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over the past three centuries. But many of those plans also require something else: sucking carbon out of the atmosphere. The challenge is that no one can agree on the best way to do it.
Carbon removal is a catch-all term for anything that people do that pulls CO2 out of the air and stores it somewhere else. To meet the world’s climate goals, we would need to do this on a massive scale — anywhere from 440 billion to 1.1 trillion metric tons before the end of the century. That’s more carbon than the U.S. has emitted in its entire history.
So how do we remove all that carbon? There are two carbon removal ideas that have really captured the conv... Read more