Creating a carbon economy

carbon capturing machineOn Thursday night at the Barrett & O'Connor Center in Washington, D.C., Arizona State University hosted a panel that discussed how society can transition to a carbon economy — as in, pulling carbon from the air and making money from it in an effort to fight climate change. A financier, a businessman, a policy expert and the inventor of a carbon-capture machine discussed the opportunities and obstacles involved in turning waste into capital at “Hacking for Carbon: Building an Innovation Pipeline for the New Carbon Economy.” Panelist Klaus Lackner, a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Anne Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, has been thinking about how to manage carbon since the 1990s. A physicist and environmental engineer at ASU, where he is the director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Lackner has built a machine that pulls carbon from the air. “There’s no practical way to stop this in time,” Lackner said, referring to the predicted global rise in temperature. “We have to take it back. … We have to think about these technological fixes.” Their panel was part of a workshop, the goal of which was to consider how government, philanthropy and private capital can fund and de-risk a pipeline to create new technologies for the energy transition from hydrocarbons to renewable energy like solar and wind power. The discussion was hosted by the ASU Wrigley Institute in partnership with the National Council on Science and the Environment, the Security and Sustainability Forum and Carbon180.
Photo: (From left) Tony Michaels, CEO of Midwestern BioAg; Sarah Kearney, founder of Prime Coalition; Bob Litterman, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability board director; Erin Burns, associate director of policy at Carbon180; and Klaus Lackner, director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at ASU, spoke at the “Hacking for Carbon” event at the ASU Barrett & O’Connor Center in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by William Brandt/LightWorks
Top photo: The direct-air carbon-capture machine at ASU's Polytechnic campus, a project of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. Photo by Ken Fagan/ASU Now