• Pique Action
  • Posts
  • Towers So Cool, They’ll Capture Carbon 😎

Towers So Cool, They’ll Capture Carbon 😎

This week, a startup breathes new air into carbon capture, farmers in Bangladesh find a unique form of flood protection, and one European country commits to coughing up cash for climate. Let’s get into it.

Written by Shayna Berglas


Today, carbon dioxide makes up about 0.04% of our atmosphere. Because it’s such a small percentage, strategies to remove the greenhouse gas have proven challenging. Huge amounts of air and water have to pass through chemicals that stick on to CO2 molecules. With the millions of cooling towers around the world that move massive quantities of air and water every day, one company wondered… what if we could train our existing infrastructure to capture carbon?

By making small changes to a cooling tower’s plumbing, the startup Noya enables significant amounts of daily carbon dioxide capture without affecting the tower’s original purpose. At scale, they don’t just capture CO2 - they can convert it into valuable chemicals and sequester it permanently, too. 

Watch the full film here.

Pump it Up!

This year, millions of local farmers in Bangladesh are pumping massive amounts of groundwater for irrigation. Sounds bad, right? Using up our sweet, precious aquifers for agriculture? Actually, not so much.

A 2019 study contributed to by the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh showed that the area’s heavy rainfall can’t always find its way back to aquifers because they fill too quickly. When farmers extract more groundwater, the water level falls and this actually creates room for additional recharge. Between 1988 and 2018, that additional recharge equaled between 75 and 90 cubic kilometers of freshwater - more than twice the amount held back by the Hoover Dam in the US. 

The pumping isn’t only going to help the nation triple its rice production, it may also help mitigate destructive floods in the upcoming monsoon season. 

Pumping groundwater for irrigation is, unfortunately, unsustainable in many places. Dry areas like northern India, the western US, and northern China are seeing depleted aquifers. But Bangladesh and other monsoon regions like Nepal, eastern India, and parts of South-East Asia could see the benefits of irrigation not just through increased food production, but also in mitigating the effects of extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change. 

To that I say, pump it up.

Good Climate News!

Denmark has recently promised 100 million Danish crowns (or about $13 million) to developing nations affected by climate change. This is a big deal. Denmark is the first country to offer compensation for loss and damage relating to climate change for frontline communities in the most vulnerable nations of the world.

The world’s poorest often suffer the harshest consequences of climate change, despite having contributed the least to anthropogenic causes like emissions output and resource depletion. Climate catastrophes can drive people from their homes as well as jeopardize access to food and clean drinking water. All of these factors contribute to the likelihood of further conflict, hunger, and poverty in already affected areas of the world. 

Addressing these inequities means integrating adaptation response into development planning - not just sending aid to put out the fire (literally). But that takes cash. It’s why Denmark’s funding is so important - a portion of it is going to civil society workers in developing nations to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Many believe that rich countries have an obligation to pay for climate change. You know… you broke, you buy it, kind of deal. There are pledges that support the notion, including that of the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference which promised $100 billion a year in “climate finance” for governments of the Global South to contribute to energy systems built with renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. But that promise has been largely undelivered, requiring nations like the US, who just passed the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, to examine how it wants to be seen as a world leader in the fight against climate change.

The ‘loss and damage’ associated with climate change is happening now. It’s hurting communities and economies, and according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, fixing it is, “a fundamental question of climate justice, international solidarity, and trust.” 

What We’re Watching, Reading, and Listening to

Searching for more positive and informative climate content? Look no further!