An in-depth look at the people and the science behind our attempts to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere with direct air capture.
Drawing on interviews with stakeholders at the intersection of climate science, energy technology, and public policy, Paul McKendrick's investigation traces more than 20 years of technological development with direct air capture, from Biosphere 2; to multi-million dollar promises from Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk; to the opening of Orca, the world's largest commercial direct air capture facility, in Iceland in 2021.
Figuring prominently in this narrative is the genius of Klaus Lackner – who, along with others – has fueled intense scientific and political debate, and spurred a value chain that spans finance, industry, technology, policy, and academia.
McKendrick's clear and riveting prose presents the full story of this fascinating pursuit for the first time, inviting readers to learn more about this critical climate intervention option.
Paul McKendrick is the author of The Bushman's Lair. Prior to writing books, he worked in the energy sector as a partner in a firm dedicated to developing and financing renewable energy projects, in addition to stints in the electric utility sector, the oil and gas sector, and investment banking. He lives in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
"McKendrick's meticulous reporting captures the birthing pains of direct air capture technology – pulling carbon dioxide out of the air – which, as the climate crisis worsens, could ultimately become one of the world's most important industries."
– Justin Gillis, award-winning journalist, co-author of The Big Fix: Seven Practical Steps to Save Our Planet
"How do we remove the carbon emissions we have already put into our atmosphere? In Scrubbing the Sky McKendrick tells a compelling story of the people and companies searching for the breakthrough that solves our biggest climate challenge. By connecting the dots from historical insights, McKendrick allows for failures and missteps, but leaves us with a sense of optimism that this seemingly impossible task may be within our reach."
– Peter McTeer, author of Sustainability is the New Advantage
"McKendrick's carefully researched dive into the hidden science of direct air capture reads like a fast-paced adventure story – one with enormous implications for all of us."
– Alex Hutchinson, author of Endure and columnist for Outside and the Globe and Mail