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Energy & Science

A Carbon-Sucking Startup Has Been Paralyzed by Its CEO

Global Thermostat is America's best hope to pull CO2 directly from the air. Insiders say pioneering, brilliant co-founder Graciela Chichilnisky has held it back for years.

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Photographer: Illustration: AJ Dungo for Bloomberg Green

The prototype of the device meant to stave off climate devastation looks like a shipping container wrapped in vibrant green Venetian blinds. Fans atop this shell are designed to draw air into the device, where a honeycomblike structure full of proprietary chemicals extracts carbon dioxide from the air, removing an ever-so-slight bit of planet-warming gas from the atmosphere.

Climate scientists call this technology direct-air capture. It’s basically an air filter for the Earth.