Carbon removal isn’t just for giant corporations hoping to offset their environmental impact. You can give the gift of captured CO₂ and do a solid for the planet while getting a guaranteed conversation starter for your friends and family.
The leader in the space is Swiss company Climeworks, which operates a Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant and actually performs the process of CO₂ removal and underground storage based on your purchase.
Read on for instructions on giving carbon removals, plus other great environmentally friendly gift ideas this holiday season.
First thing’s first, what exactly are we talking about here?
Carbon removal is such a mainstay of media coverage and corporate talking points that it can be easy to lose track of what exactly the various technologies are, and why they’re being deployed as a tool in the climate change fight.
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Direct air capture (DAC) is a technology able to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air and, when it is combined with storage (DAC+S), it is possible to physically remove the CO₂ from the atmosphere, as it is pumped deep underground safely and permanently. This technology can be used anywhere in the world and when powered by renewable energy, it’s one of the purest forms of carbon dioxide removal.
Does that sound like a scheme hatched by some James Bond villain? It does, right?
Except, in a world that still decidedly runs on the burning of fossil fuels, Direct air capture (DAC) is a technology able to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air and, when it is combined with storage (DAC+S), it is possible to physically remove the CO₂ from the atmosphere, as it is pumped deep underground safely and permanently. This technology can be used anywhere in the world and when powered by renewable energy, it’s one of the purest forms of carbon dioxide removal.
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You may have heard of Swiss company Climeworks from its first generation business model, which involved reselling CO₂ to soda companies like Coca-Cola. The company has shifted its operations to DAC+S, which it considers a crucial move in combatting climate change.
This year Climeworks raised $650 million USD to support its operations. Part of its business model? Selling carbon removal to conscientious private consumers, including as giftable credits.
How to give carbon removal credits this holiday season
Head to Climeworks’ climate impact gift page and select a plan. Pre-populated plans start at $30 for removing 25kg of CO₂ and go up to $102, accounting for 85kg. You can also create a custom plan.
Climeworks also offers monthly plans for ongoing supporters. To date, about 17,000 people have signed up for one of the plans.
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There are four fields to fill out:
- Who is the gift for?
- Timing: Customize when the recipient should receive the gift.
- Design: Choose which of our three beautiful designs you’d like to use.
- Personal message: Write a personal message to your recipient. The message will be included in the gift email and the gift PDF (max 500 characters).
According to Climeworks, removal and storage of your gifted carbon capture will be performed within six years or earlier. The variables are Climeworks’ plant utilization and operation schedules. Recipients get a certificate verifying their purchase.
Want alternative gift giving options? There are lots of opportunities, starting with a donation to an organization doing good work on climate action. The Clean Air Task Force is a good example, a non-profit environmental organization that encourages resilient solutions to climate change, especially in promoting technology and policies that are required to get to a zero-emissions, high-energy planet.
And you know what else captures CO₂ from the air? Trees! Give the gift of trees planted in U.S. National Forests. The Trees Remember is a nonprofit that makes planting trees in National Forests a priority. Alternatively, One Tree Planted gives gifts of newly planted trees in multiples of 1, 20, 50, and more.
Or maybe you’re old school and want to put something shiny under the tree? Gifting transportation technologies like bikes and e-bikes can help reduce reliance on cars for quick chores and even longer commutes. And since exposure to the outdoors is often a catalyst for environmental stewardship, nothing beats a pair of hiking boots or awesome camping tech.
Is carbon capture a viable solution?
There is compelling criticism of carbon capture, which is that it actually enables industries to ramp up carbon emissions while still hitting emissions targets. Ultimately, even many supporters of carbon capture don’t tout it as a solution, but rather a mitigation technology (and a fairly complicated one to boot) to help redress some of the damage caused by carbon burning industries. How efficiently does it do that? It’s actually pretty impressive. Here’s a great rundown from MIT you might want to check out.
Are these gifts tax deductible?
A Climeworks gift card is not tax deductible, as Climeworks isn’t a qualifying nonprofit organization. However, if you donate to one of the nonprofit organizations listed in the alternatives section above, your donation is likely tax deductible for those who itemize deductions on their tax return.
Are there any tools to calculate your carbon footprint?
Yup, there are many out there, including ones from Climeworks. The biggest polluters by far remain fossil fuel-burning industries, but you might be surprised how much of an impact individuals have.