Could carbon-removal tech make travel more sustainable?
© Good Travel Guide, October 2021
As the biggest technology capturing carbon from air is being inaugurated in Iceland, let’s see if carbon-removal tech can make travel more sustainable.
We have now been hearing about carbon offsetting to compensate for travel emissions for a while but this solution is controversial (read about our opinion about it in our blog article here). Indeed its efficiency is not proven, and recent huge wildfires releasing a large quantity of carbon raised questions on schemes based on tree planting.
New forms of management for carbon in the air are therefore emerging: carbon removal tech. The start-up Climeworks has indeed created a technology that captures carbon in the air with a CO2 collector and turns it into stone before injecting it in the ground. It has a dozen plants in Europe, the world’s largest just being inaugurated in Iceland. A lot would be needed to slow down climate warming but the technology is promising. Indeed, Climeworks CO2 collector is 2,000 times more efficient per area than planting a tree.
Travellers are encouraged to financially participate in carbon removal on the platform Tomorrow’s Air launched with Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). The platform also aims at raising awareness and offers virtual tours of a Climeworks plant in Switzerland via Airbnb Experiences for travellers, making carbon removal more understandable and accessible. Subscription to participate financially in this carbon removing solution is much more expensive than traditional carbon offsetting schemes. But on the other hand, the latter are way too cheap, considering the limitations of tree planting and other offsetting projects. Maybe the cost of the new technology indicates the enormous financial implications of the climate challenge. It therefore remains a challenge to develop even better options to compensate for the impact of travel to the planet.
In conclusion, the new technology is an effective way of compensating our travel emissions. And as long as we are not ready to pay for this, we should keep on making sustainable choices and fly less to minimize the carbon we release in the air. Read more about this on the BBC.