Trump's climate plans are despairing most Americans. This Swiss plant is reason for hope.
Today in America, Donald Trump decided to leave the most significant climate treaty of the 21st century.
At a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, the president announced that the U.S. would begin the process of pulling out of the Paris Agreement, which requires signatories to strive to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, two engineers unveiled this baby:
As the U.S. plans to keep pumping out biggie-size amounts of carbon dioxide, the Swiss will be sucking the noxious planet-cooking gas out of the sky.
The Swiss plant, operated by Climeworks, is powered by waste heat and can capture 900 metric tons of CO2 annually, according to its designers.
The plan is to sell the trapped carbon to a local greenhouse for use in fertilizers.
"Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the two degree target of the international community," Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climeworks, said in a press release.
The rest of the world is moving forward on climate change, and nearly 70% of Americans agree that we should too.
Unfortunately, with a climate change skeptic in the White House, repping the only major political party in the world that denies the effects of climate change, our government apparently plans to continue desperately sifting through various elements, rocks, and viscous liquids to see what else we can burn.
Meanwhile, China and India — two of the world's largest non-U.S. polluters — are on track to blow past their Paris-mandated emissions targets. Yesterday, the European Union and China committed to remain in the agreement, regardless of U.S. action.
At the same time, the cost of solar energy is plummeting in the developing world, making it more affordable than ever. In India, solar power is already cheaper than burning coal in existing coal plants.
Climeworks plans to sell the CO2 captured in their plant to companies producing carbonated beverages and carbon-neutral fuel in the hopes of making carbon capture economically attractive.
Because the plant captures CO2 directly from the air, it doesn't have to be located near a source of emissions — and can be installed virtually anywhere.
Innovations like these will continue to green the Earth and and grow the economy.
Occasionally, they even make their creators rich in the process. That's something America's free-market-loving political leaders — especially those who campaigned on running the government like a business — should be able to get on board with.
Slowly but surely, the world is realizing that uncooking the planet isn't just the right thing to do, it creates jobs, drives growth, and spurs investment.
Even the United States' biggest cities and states are moving forward, despite the Trump administration's decision to stay put. That's reason to hope.
Trump may be in favor of getting off the climate change train.
The rest of the world is saying, "All aboard."