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The base of the iceberg

April 12, 2022

Video version of this note here.

You've probably already heard that Climeworks raised $650 million to build out their fleet of direct air capture machines to suck carbon from the sky. Wow! That level of funding in a single carbon removal company is unprecedented. This puts the industry on track for a billion dollars of venture and purchases in 2022, boosted by Stripe's new $925M advanced market committment.

Climeworks is the tip of the iceberg of the carbon removal revolution. They started nearly a decade ago and have been pushing, innovating and leading the way in terms of carbon removal since.

Now I want to bring attention to what's at the base of the pyramid, people working on what's next for carbon removal. I get to see this stuff every day in the AirMiners community through our Slack channel. Inventions, problem solving, working together. I want to show you what's happening so you can dive in too.

Here's 3 examples:

1. Madison Savilow wrote on the #women-AirMiners channel, asking if there was any data on men and women working in carbontech. Nothing turned up and then the idea emerged of doing a survey together of the industry. I love this organic, action oriented nature of AirMiners. If you're on AirMiners Slack already, go work with Madison on this! Let's work together to solve every challenge. That's what is at the base of this iceberg.

2. Delaney Pues from The Foundation for Climate Restoration wrote on #general to share a new whitepaper on direct air capture solutions. What I especially wanted to highlight is she tagged Jason Hochman, Quincy Childs, and Erica Dodds in the post thanking them as reviewers who gave insights. There's the base of the iceberg again, that work going on behind the scenes in the form of insights, collaborations, sharing. This spirit is shared by Ongeleigh Underwood who published the new State of the Market report she created with her team at the Circular Carbon Network. This kind of work is enabled by reviewers, interviewees, and others who contribute data and insights. So the next time you get a request for an interview or to share insights, dive in!

One other thing I love about this. Yes, reports in general tend to be dust collectors in this fast moving industry, you can write a report and few read it. Take a different approach! Circular Carbon Network and Foundation for Climate Restoration sure are, both orgs have leaned into creating events and discussions to take the report and share it with others, examine it, ask questions. F4CR is hosting a Solution Series, and next month Ongeleigh from Circular Carbon Network is coming to AirMiners to share (keep an eye on the events calendar here).

That engagement unlocks the deep research that goes into a report. It transforms pages into into information, ideas, and solutions through YouTube videos, memes, public discussion.

3. Memes! Impossible + necessary is hard. Some days you wake up and that whole "impossible" reality just won't get out of your way. You don't have to go alone. You can join AirMiners and only look at the memes channel for encouragement and cute cat memes and you'll be better off in your quest. Jack Sullivan posted an inspiration cat meme after identifying a lack of AirMiners Cat Memes and took action on solving this critical gap.

Building, surveys, reports, memes. That's what the base of the iceberg looks like, where carbon removal solutions are imagined, sketched, and created. So come dive in, and add something to the discussion! As Stewart Brand wrote me early in my carbon removal adventures, "Strong statements in response to yours are a good sign. They are public discourse in action." Come be part of the discourse on carbon removal, even if it's just reading a few memes and giving a thumbs up to someone who wrote something that got you thinking.

Earth Week is coming up soon. That means a deluge of big climate announcements are coming up soon. Make sure to keep your eye on the base of the iceberg.


I write a weekly newsletter highlighting the AirMiners community and carbon removal industry.

Every week you’ll get insider perspective and community stories from the cutting edge of carbon removal.

The purpose of this newsletter is to accelerate the carbontech industry by speeding up connections, progress, and coordination. It's ideal for people working in carbon removal already, or beginners who want one individual's perspective. People curious about carbon removal are encouraged to sign up and see what sticks.

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