By David MacDonald I f you’re like me and grew up watching TV in the 80s and 90s, you learned two things about the environment: 1) CO2 emissions are bad and 2) Companies that have steel-structured, catwalk-covered buildings with silos and smoke stacks are evil. It was a comfortable format for Saturday morning cartoons like Stop the Smoggies, Captain Planet – and for you Cana- dians reading this, The Raccoons – but it was far from a fool- proof guide to industry and infrastructure. According to CNN Money’s Edward Vega, the Swiss-based company Climeworks has made a giant leap in the world of negative emissions technology. In the early fall, the almost $6 million USD Climeworks plant near Zurich will begin capturing commercially-viable C02 for nearby greenhouses using turbines with special filters run by low energy heat from burning refuse. The natural fertilizer is then distributed through pipelines to the on-site greenhouses for food production with the remainder being sold to food chains for fountain drinks. Climeworks came together in the hopes of helping Swit- zerland exceed its Paris Agreement commitment by solely reducing global CO2 emissions by 1%by 2025, Vega reports. Negative emissions technologies aren’t without their con- troversy. While reforestation projects are widely hailed as prudentially C02-conscious and sound, some atmospheric and oceanic solutions have been met with greater scrutiny in the scientific community.
The self-projected global impact of Climeworks’ first decade may seem ambitious – lofty, even.
But if other large-scale negative emissions technology projects follow suit between now and then, Climeworks might just reach their goal, even if only by proxy. If there’s anything we’re all in together, it’s managing global warming, and that’s one thing I did learn on Saturday mornings that still holds true, even if the Smoggies of today will never understand.
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • JULY 2017
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