I first came across enhanced rock weathering (ERW) in February 2020. ERW, at the time, was purely academic with significant lab results and exciting papers in Nature, but without commercial application of note. Nevertheless, the CO₂ removal potential was clear; 100,000 year permanence with billion-tonne volumes each year, far beyond the impact of reforestation or direct air capture alone.
As a competitive endurance runner, I find it helpful to acknowledge what’s before us, two years in: an extraordinarily fast climb up a long steep hill. Even if all the signatories of the Paris Agreement hit their contributions, the world will still be 35 billion tonnes of CO₂ in debt. To make meaningful progress toward our global climate targets, we must remove 10 billion tonnes of CO₂ from the atmosphere every year by 2050. From that year onwards, this figure jumps to 20 billion tonnes.
Reaching those somewhat staggering numbers implies imposing and unrelenting growth for our company, and everyone in our space. So, it’s time I describe why I’m optimistic that UNDO, and the field of enhanced rock weathering, is capable of providing durable, permanent, low-cost carbon removal at scale, and potentially faster than any other pathway.