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Another option is to build power plants that burn wood and bury the carbon dioxide released.
Carbon Engineering, set up in 2009 with support from Gates and Murray Edwards, chairman of oil and gas group Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, has raised about million and extracts about a tonne of carbon dioxide a day with turbines and filters.
“Since the Paris Agreement, the business substantially changed,” he said, with a shift in investor and shareholder interest away from industrial uses of carbon to curbing climate change.
“Relying on big future deployments of carbon removal technologies is like eating lots of dessert today, with great hopes for liposuction tomorrow,” Christopher Field, a Stanford University professor of climate change, wrote in May.
Jim Thomas of ETC Group in Canada, which opposes climate engineering, said direct air capture could create “the illusion of a fix that can be used cynically or naively to entertain policy ideas such as 'overshoot'” of the Paris goals. Average surface temperatures are already about 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial levels and hit record highs last year.
The United Nations says the targets are way off track and will not be met simply by reducing emissions for example from factories or cars - particularly after US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the 2015 pact.
They are pushing for other ways to keep temperatures down.
And isolating carbon dioxide is complex because the gas makes up just 0.04 percent of the air.