The topic of sustainability is at the forefront of international debates and initiatives. While governments try reaching global agreements, private companies look for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. In the rush to protect the Earth for future generations, the next trend is called “carbontech.”
In fact, carbon is toxic, for both people, nature, and the atmosphere. That’s why many businesses and travelers want to reduce their carbon footprint. Truth to be told, this latest eco-friendly boom is going even further. Reducing the impact isn’t enough anymore. Now it’s time to find a way to use that carbon.
What is carbontech?
In short, this green trend looks for ways to capture the carbon and to turn it into a useful product. The goal is to take something so harmful to the environment and to make it beneficial, even for different industries. Carbontech is a newborn in the world of innovations, but it has great promises. So, investments are still scarce. Still, many companies are jumping into this wagon, looking out for both profits and the planet.
The opportunities for business
To fully understand the potential of this sustainability trend, the company Carbon 180 issued a report. It all started with the analysis of Global CO2 Initiative, which suggested that this eco-friendly innovation has the potential to reach a trillion-dollar global market value. Since different industries can benefit from carbontech, the market is expected to reach $5.91 trillion per year.
The available market for this trend is huge and Carbon 180 suggests that fuels are the biggest segment. So much so that it amounts to 85% of the US market. After fuels, on the podium stand building materials (second place) and, finally, plastics. Indeed, an eco-friendly innovation to help to fight the damage of plastics and all related products.
So, the opportunities of this initiative are definitely optimistic. So optimistic that in 2021 the former New York state governor Andrew Cuomo launched the Carbontech Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program. With the goal of reducing the metropolis’ emissions by 85% by 2050, Cuomo pushed $9 million into research. But this isn’t the only instance of governments, organizations, and companies working with this carbon-less trend.
WWF & carbontech
The organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) aims to develop these initiatives with the main goal of preserving our unique flora and fauna. For example, the WWF launched an international challenge (although focused on Canadian nature) to award various individuals or groups with contracts up to $100,000. Furthermore, each finalist receives a $25,000 grant. This is also possible thanks to the partnership with RBC Tech for Nature and Microsoft. The challenge includes three categories:
The applications opened in June 2021 and the WWF is expected to announce the winners in 2023.
“Canada is facing dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. By safeguarding existing carbon-rich ecosystems, and restoring habitat that absorbs even more carbon, we can slow and reverse climate change while allowing biodiversity to thrive,” wrote the WWF on its website.
The voices from the opposition
While this sustainability trend can help the environment, there are still critics. One of the main criticism against carbontech is storage. Plus, is this really needed?
”There are a number of reasons why carbon capture is a false climate solution,” said Carroll Muffett, chief executive at the non-profit Center for International Environmental Law to CNBC, “the first and most fundamental of those reasons is that it is not necessary.”
So, storing it is hard and so is carbon capture. And not many solutions have been proposed. Finally, the boom of carbontech might distract industries and governments from looking into renewable alternatives like solar. The critics believe that, while this trend is useful, it’s not the answer to protecting the Earth. It’s a step forward, but not the solution. The fight against climate change needs both.
Why it matters
While this might not be the answer to save the planet, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Carbon emissions are difficult to lower because they have become part of the way we do things -and we produce them. Reaching zero emissions might be possible, but it will take more and more generations of work and dedication. So, carbontech is essential to have an optimistic outlook for the future. Despite its challenges, its benefits might prevail. It’s another step towards sustainability, just like the trend of ungardening.