This is the second installment of a new monthly series on our blog called "Profiles in Carbon Removal". Here, we share stories about individuals working on carbon removal. Meet Peju Adeosun! Peju is passionate about a sustainable economic development and climate change. She can be reached on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Read her answers to our questions below!
Center for Carbon Removal: What inspired you to get involved in carbon removal?
Peju Adeosun: I became engaged in the Carbon Removal space during my Sustainable Energy masters at Imperial College London. I'm a Chemical Engineer and I was seeking to expand my skill-set more towards the policy and social side of energy and sustainability. I stumbled upon the opportunity to write my thesis on how UK & EU policy could support innovation in carbon removal. This was the first time I'd even heard of the concept of going beyond carbon neutral and becoming net carbon negative. Given how critical carbon removal is to a less than 2°C future, I was incredibly surprised that this area wasn't being discussed or supported in a more systemic way. When the opportunity arose to continue to work and support this area, I couldn't pass it up.
CCR: What are you working on in relation to carbon removal today?
PA: I'm currently working on the Virgin Earth Challenge, Richard Branson's $25 million innovation prize to find scalable and sustainable carbon removal methods. It was launched in 2007 by Richard Branson and fellow judges including Al Gore, Tim Flannery, James Lovelock, and Sir Crispin Tickell. The prize is looking for a solution that can prove its technological viability, economic feasibility, long-term sustainability and that it has no potentially negative social or environmental impacts.
What is the one thing that you are most excited about in the carbon removal field today?
PA: One of many things I'm excited about is synthetic or renewable sustainable fuels produced by carbon removal techniques. This isn't technically a carbon negative product, since the carbon captured and sequestered during its production will be re-released once the fuel is consumed. However, one of the challenges often faced by actors in this field is the lack of support they receive from policymakers and other stakeholders that could be integral to their success and future scalability. Synthetic/sustainable fuels are a commodity being sought by investors and policy makers alike in the context of climate change mitigation in general. So this application for carbon removal techniques could enable the necessary policy and stakeholder engagement that the wider carbon removal space needs in the near term, to allow for real carbon negative processes to compete and thrive in the long-term.
CCR: What's one thing you'd like to see the carbon removal community be doing differently?
PA: Despite working for an innovation competition, I'd actually like to see more collaboration. The carbon removal field needs to develop and scale very quickly. To do this we definitely need more collaboration.
CCR: What do you need in order to achieve your goals for carbon removal?
PA: I want to see more supportive and enabling actors in this space. Policy makers and financiers that are serious about mitigating climate change need to start integrating carbon removing activities into plans for the future, without undermining the emissions reduction efforts that must also continue. We need to start backing up the targets we set with practical actions to create an environment that will allow different solutions to flourish.