Artificial Trees

This solution is currently being employed. It was presented in the story Suck it Up in our anthology.

Artificial trees are a variant of DAC (direct air capture). They collect CO2 but still need somewhere to put it. It is low risk as it’s mass-producible, but a slow win, needing a solution for CO2 disposal.

Our experts have classified it as ‘low hanging fruit’ (relatively low cost / quick win). This solution is low risk but a slow win, needing CO2 disposal.

About carbon-capturing trees

We know that stopping fossil fuel combustion is not good enough, we also have to capture carbon from the atmosphere and lock it up forever. The planting of real trees which capture carbon will make a tremendous difference in the fight against climate change. “Fake” trees using a chemical resin as a carbon sponge is cutting-edge, nascent technology with theoretical possibilities.

This solution is being triald, with the developer of these mechanic trees saying that they are able to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere 1000x faster than real trees.

CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) is a well-established oil field technology used for enhanced oil recovery. It is still a relatively high-cost solution. The story Our Shared Storm describes a scheme to divert much more investment into the sector. All and every method to increase funding in this sector is required.

Climeworks is an example of a direct air capture plant in Iceland

This video explains how carbon capture technology works. This article featuring an interview with Prof Klaus Lackner also explains the technology which is being trialled in Arizona (USA).

We also recommend watching this video from which explains the carbon removal technology used in the artificial trees.

Positive Thinking talks about the use of genetically modified trees to suck out more CO2 from the atmosphere

Similarly, in ‘39 ways to save the planet’ they talk about ways to increase photosynthesis from plants:

Climate impact: tonnes of carbon saved/removedCCS – carbon capture and storage – can already dispose of millions of tonnes of CO2 per year. It needs to be ramped up 1000 fold, which is a lot easier than the ramp required of other technologies.
Climate adaptation-resilienceCCS is a foundation technology that needs to be widely deployed at every suitable site as soon as possible.

The oil and gas industry will eventually transmogrify into the CO2 disposal industry. It will be bigger than the existing O&G industry & needs to be boldly supported.
Social justice i.e. addresses inequalities, diversity, inclusionLow.
Cost of action needed to progress goalSubstantial costs. Disposal costs of 100s $ per tonne need to be swallowed and supported by carbon taxes.
Which location is the solution most needed/applicableExisting oil and gas fields.
RiskSome risk of leaks but not in all locations.
FeasibilityIt is already a reality but it requires expanding rapidly.

Interested in progressing this solution further?

Actions for policymakers  National and eventually international carbon taxes.

End to hydrocarbon subsidies.

Direct subsidy for CCS in some cases.

Massive reforestation efforts as the natural solution to carbon capture is a must.

Land preservation efforts to prevent deforestation are essential.
Actions for funding bodiesProvide full funding for dozens of projects in multiple locations around the world.

Fund research and development of carbon capture techniques.
Actions for businessAdopt real prices of carbon and commit to 100% disposal.
Actions for public  Pay extra for energy.