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What are Direct Air Captures?

As climate change worsens, more scientists are looking at direct air captures (DAC) to help alleviate the amount of carbon dioxide within our environment. Specifically, DAC’s use chemical reactions to pull carbon dioxide out of the air by bringing air into the machine which then traps the carbon dioxide. Then, the DAC uses heat to disband the molecules that are then stored underground to produce more oil. DAC’s will take out approximately 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air, remarkably more than other natural carbon removals. This is equivalent to taking around 500,000 cars away every year.

Direct Air Capture in Action (Carbon Engineering Ltd.)

However, there are some concerns from many leading environmentalists who fear that DAC will prolong the large usage of oil and other fossil fuel companies. Many fear DACs would be a way for fossil fuel companies to prolong their production of fossil fuels and thereby slow the growth of renewable energy. Additionally, there are worries that the DAC’s energy source will contribute to more emissions being released as scientists are still trying to power the DACs using clean energy.

Overall, while DACs may be the future of removing carbon dioxide from the environment, there is still much progress to be made. So far, DACs are expected to be in operation starting in late 2024 but will still not be ready for large-scale expansion. Another obstacle DACs will have to overcome is the high costs, as there are relatively few projects and resources for developing the DACs. So far, DACs cost between $250-$600 per ton of CO2, significantly more than other solutions to rid carbon dioxide. Reforestation, for example, costs less than $50 per ton. However, as the Biden Administration recently invested $1.2 billion dollars into DACs, the DAC is predicted to be reduced to cost around $150-$200 in the next 5-10 years. Furthermore, the projects will create around 5,000 more jobs for people formerly working in the fossil fuel industry, which will help steer the economy away from relying on fossil fuels.

Hopefully, as more research goes into developing the DACs, they will soon help reduce the volume of carbon dioxide and assist in stopping climate change.

How can you help?

You can help by designing sustainable buildings, signing petitions, and reducing your carbon footprint through carpooling, taking public transportation, or using other energy-efficient vehicles. Everyone can chip in, whether it’s through making small adjustments every day to your schedule, such as turning off all the lights after you leave a room to composting. We can all do something to stop climate change.

Check out this video on how DAC works:

Extra steps you can take:

  1. Joining Kids Fight Climate Change: If you want to make climate change news and information more accessible, you should consider joining us! Check out this link: Join the Team | Kids Fight Climate Change: Youth Climate Education. There are more opportunities than just writing, including designing, editing, speaking, and publishing.

  2. Volunteering at advocacy groups: VolunteerMatch is a great resource to find volunteer opportunities, virtual and in-person. Check out this link: VolunteerMatch

  3. If neither of those options applies to you, there are still ways to raise awareness! Simply by sharing articles such as this one, you are doing your part to spread important climate information. That is activism.


Lebling, Katie, Haley Leslie-Bole, Zach Byrum, and Liz Bridgwater. 2022. “6 Things to Know about Direct Air Capture.” World Resources Institute. May 2.

Nilsen, Ella. 2023. “Biden Administration to Invest $1.2 Billion in Projects to Suck Carbon out of the Air | CNN Politics.” CNN. Cable News Network. August 11.,in%20industrial%20materials%20like%20cement.

“Direct Air Capture: Recent Developments and Future Plans.” 2019. Geoengineering Monitor. October 24.

Service, Robert F. 2023. “Cost Plunges for Capturing Carbon Dioxide from the Air - Science.” Cost Plunges for Capturing Carbon Dioxide from the Air. Accessed August 22.

O’malley, Isabella. 2023. “Energy Department Announces Largest-Ever Investment in ‘Carbon Removal.’” AP News. AP News. August 11.


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