When I finally find the courage to tell my young daughter about the climate crisis I’m half-expecting to hear this innocent rejoinder: “If we’ve spewed all that carbon pollution into the air, can’t we just suck it back out again?”
It’s not a silly question. “Direct air capture” (DAC) — an industrial process that removes carbon dioxide from ambient air so it can be locked away underground (or recycled into products like synthetic fuels) — sounds like science fiction. However, the technology to vacuum clean the skies already exists; it just hasn’t been fully industrialized yet. It’s a climate insurance policy we shouldn’t ignore.