AUSTIN (KXAN) – Carbon180 is a nonprofit environmental organization. Their key goal is to work with policymakers, entrepreneurs, and peer organizations across the United States to design policies that will bring necessary carbon removal solutions to much broader and larger scale.

Meteorologist Sean Kelly spoke with Alayna Chuney of Carbon180. She takes the lead on the organization’s environmental justice work. You can read the interview below to learn more.

Sean Kelly, KXAN News: So tell me, what is Carbon180?

Alayna Chuney, Carbon180: So Carbon180 is a climate nonprofit, on a mission to reverse two centuries of carbon emissions. So, working closely with policymakers, entrepreneurs and peer organizations, we design policies that will bring necessary carbon removal solutions to gigaton scale and doing so in an equitable and just way.

Kelly: Tell me about the goals for the future and what short term solutions you currently have in play.

Chuney: So as you know, we are in a climate crisis, and we can’t afford for the planet to be warmed up any faster. So speed is a priority for us to do carbon removal. But here at Carbon180 we believe that community buy in as well as research and development is necessary to have equitable and just projects that not only benefit the Earth, but benefit society in general.

Carbon removal is when carbon dioxide is taken from the atmosphere and stored for a long period of time. So two things must occur, we must take or remove carbon from the atmosphere. And then the second is it must be stored for a long period of time. I also have an analogy, which I think what sticks so well with people. So let’s compare today’s climate crisis to an overflowing bathtub. The first step to address the problem is obvious. Let’s turn off the faucet. And we use the faucet as the example to create ways to stop carbon dioxide emissions from things like our cars, or from existing smokestacks. But that doesn’t fix the water that’s already in the tub itself, which in this case, is carbon dioxide, or the legacy admissions that represent the 2 trillion tons of carbon already into our atmosphere, which leads me to carbon removal. So there’s a whole portfolio of solutions that can help us drain that water, or remove the current carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Kelly: So sequestering carbon is not just the full end solution, we still need to do it in conjunction with other climate actions correct?

Chuney: So one thing I do think worth is mentioning is that sometimes there’s a bit of confusion between carbon capture and carbon removal. And in our case, carbon capture is the scrubbing. So it’s looking at existing facilities and seeing how we can limit the current emissions coming out. While carbon removal is actually pulling what we currently have in the atmosphere.

Carbon removal in comparison to carbon capture. (Image courtesy: Carbon180)

Those solutions range from land-based solutions, which we already have, like trees. So we already have trees planted. But that’s not enough right now. So we need more super trees that can suck in that carbon dioxide. And then we also have carbon sequestration from soils. So our farming practices, were already having current farming practices in which we’re sequestering that CO2. But what are some things that we can do better, and we have things like the farm bill to help advance that technology or that science to show how we can improve removing current carbon. And then we have technology. So we have things like direct air capture, which is a very new technology. But if you think about it, the direct air capture is this huge facility.

Carbon180, we are focused on removing the legacy admissions by bringing all of these solutions up to a scale that can make a significant impact on our climate.