Philanthropic support helps fast-track technologies for greenhouse gas removal and climate repair
“Climate change is perhaps the most urgent issue of our generation and time may well be running out for us to halt the rise in global temperatures,” says Jamie Arnell (Downing 1988) who is supporting the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge (CCRC) to find innovative solutions to help repair our climate.
Jamie has joined a growing number of generous donors enabling the Centre to expand its team of researchers and staff. His gift will support a Fellowship in Climate Repair and three international PhDs each year.
Greenhouse gases – principally carbon dioxide and methane – absorb infrared radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface and reradiate back, contributing to the greenhouse effect warming our planet. There is already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: our planet is too warm. Current efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will only slow the process slightly, whereas climate repair involves finding ways to get the greenhouse gas levels down to 350 parts per million (ppm) from today’s levels of above 500 ppm carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
A primary aim of the CCRC, based at Downing College, is to fast-track scalable technologies for greenhouse gas removal and climate repair. Potential technologies include:
- Methane removal — converting methane to CO2 and water, reducing global warming potential by 90%
- CO2 Direct Air Capture — replacing the burning of methane in conventional direct-air capture with renewable electricity, enhancing the net carbon reduction
- Giant Kelp Cultivation — this sequesters carbon within oceans, raising pH levels and bringing co-benefits for biodiversity
The funding of a dedicated Fellowship appealed to me as it combines the world-class research strengths of Cambridge with nurturing new research talent and teaching younger generations at Downing. In 10 years’ time, we need to be able to say that we explored every possible idea, no matter how ambitious, to heal our planet.
Downing Master Alan Bookbinder comments: “The interdisciplinary nature of College life, where Fellows meet informally, provides an ideal space in which to spark discussions and inspire collaboration across different departments. In time, we look forward to hosting international conferences on Climate Repair at Downing to bring together world-leading thinkers in this vital field.”
Philanthropic support ensures that the CCRC can expand its research capacity at speed and collaborate with partners in Cambridge, the UK and internationally to avert a climate disaster. Director of CCRC Dr Shaun Fitzgerald comments: “Our donors understand the urgency of climate change and the need to help reach the Centre’s objectives to ensure a deep and rapid emissions reduction, to remove greenhouse gases and to discover and test targeted interventions to refreeze the polar regions.”
The CCRC is a core initiative of Cambridge Zero, an initiative that brings together the full range of the University’s research and policy expertise to develop solutions for our lives, our society and our economy.