Future Perfect

Sucking the carbon out of the sky



Most of our efforts to fight climate change, from electric cars to wind turbines, are about pumping fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But what if we could pull out the gases that are already there? Akshat Rathi, a reporter at Bloomberg with a doctorate in chemistry, knows more about this technology, called “direct air capture,” than just about anyone. He follows companies like Carbon Engineering and Climeworks that are trying to figure out how to take regular air and pull carbon dioxide out of it. If their plans work, they could mean a world with net negative emissions: less carbon in the sky than there is right now, and a cooler planet. But his reporting has also highlighted how elusive carbon capture can be, and how tricky it can be to make the tech work at an affordable price. Rathi and Vox’s Dylan Matthews discuss how direct air capture works, how it’s different from capturing carbon at a fossil fuel plant, and the struggles of one direct air capture company in particular.     Read more of Aksha