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Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) leaders gather at 4th annual Climeworks Direct Air Capture Summit to chart realistic path forward to high-quality carbon dioxide removal solutions at gigaton scale

Key take-aways:

  • The 2023 Direct Air Capture Summit successfully concluded in Zurich, Climeworks' global headquarters, bringing together all facets of the ever-expanding carbon dioxide removal (CDR) industry, and its stakeholders. 

  • Esteemed speakers, including representatives from government, academia, think tanks and the private sector addressed hundreds of guests to explore the need for credible strategies, urgent action, common standards, and robust policies, with the common goal of accelerating the adoption and deployment of climate-critical carbon removal solutions. 

  • Various sessions throughout the Summit shed light on the role of corporate commitments, the evolution of the voluntary carbon market, and the long-term economics of negative emissions. 

  • The Summit also featured sessions on global perspectives, and environmental justice, as well as stock-taking on the current state of CDR today and the role it will continue to play in 2023 climate conversations. 

Jan and Christoph keynote speech at Direct Air Capture Summit 2023
Climeworks Direct Air Capture Summit 2023 - Co-CEOs and Co-founders Jan Wurzbacher & Christoph Gebald

experts convened in Zurich for the 4th annual Climeworks Direct Air Capture Summit which explored the need for credible strategies, urgent action, common standards, and robust policies to accelerate the adoption and deployment of climate-critical carbon removal solutions. 

Over the course of the day, experts and newer-to-the-field stakeholders reinforced the imperative to scale carbon dioxide removal fast and ‘right’ in order to reach the gigaton scale by 2050. Both public and private sector investment has continued to spur interest in CDR and DAC across the globe. But with the industry rapidly entering its next phase of development and deployment, we stand at a unique moment to define what the future of this integral industry can and should look like to maximize global climate impact.  

“The world cannot get to net zero without having significant amounts of CDR. The good news is that there are a lot of options, each of which have their own set of challenges [...] Despite the challenges, it is critical to develop this industry now because it takes time to scale. If we don’t start now, these solutions won’t be available to us when we need them in mid-century.” said MIT Energy Initiative Senior Research Engineer Howard Herzog. 

This year’s Climeworks Direct Air Capture Summit explored some of the most pressing opportunities and challenges facing this rapidly growing industry, including:  

  • The urgency for the industry to focus on deployment-led innovation to accelerate project development and achieve gigaton scale 

  • The way forward on measurement, reporting, and verification and establishing trust in the CDR market via the highest possible integrity  

  • The importance of bold corporate CDR commitments and immediate action to support deployment, de-risk project development and catalyze the market for other corporate buyers 

  • The imperative to place communities and local engagement at the center of DAC deployment moving forward

Throughout all sessions, the pre-requisite to achieve rapid, deep decarbonization was reiterated, as well as the complementarity between nature-based and engineered removal solutions. 

“When it comes to climate solutions, there is no silver bullet but there’s a lot of silver buckshot, and direct air capture is one of those pieces,” said Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy. 

Among the keynote speakers at this year’s Summit was JPMorgan Chase’s Managing Director, Head of Operational Sustainability, Brian DiMarino. Representing Climeworks’ most recently announced corporate customer, Brian DiMarino outlined his views on the urgency for corporate actors to take bold, collective action in the voluntary carbon market to drive climate solutions forward.  

“JP Morgan has been buying carbon credits since 2007. Recently, there was a clear recognition we needed to do more and move closer to the CDR space, which is what led to our investment in 800,000 tons of offtake, including the largest agreement to date for Climeworks,” said DiMarino. “We need more buyers to be decisive, act with urgency, and say that this is important to them.”  

Rich Lesser, Global Chair of Boston Consulting Group, shared his insights on BCG’s latest article on “Shifting the Direct Air Capture Paradigm” arguing that CDR technologies are essential to delivering the “net” in net zero and outlining what needs to be true for the rapid cost decrease of DAC in particular, as an essential element of its scale-up journey and positive feedback loop. He said: “DAC is and should be a critical part of the journey to bring the removals to the scale that we need at the unprecedented speed we need to create this entirely new industry.”  

In an exclusive pre-recorded video address shared just before closing the Summit, Bill Gates, Founder of Breakthrough Energy, shared his optimistic vision on the industry’s progress and remaining challenges ahead. 

As a leader committed to advancing high-quality carbon removal, Climeworks is honored to provide a platform convening the industry’s leading minds to achieve climate impact at scale. The team is proud to spark conversations and inspire action and investment through its yearly DAC Summit and looks forward to next year. 

The recordings of all sessions are now available. A first selection of pictures of the event are available in Climeworks' Newsroom.  

What we focused on in previous years:

Monthly industry updates from Climeworks

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