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ASU Sustainability News LightWorks News

September 26, 2017

Now is the time to map paths to the breakthrough research programs and forward-looking university-business partnerships that will serve as the hubs for this new carbon economy. This is an economy in which low-carbon industry and primary energy production are joined by industrial centers, agricultural regions and food-producing ecosystems that turn excess CO2 into consumer goods, fuels, building materials and fertile soil. With deliberate but ambitious planning, the United States and collaborators in other countries can develop the knowledge, technologies and human capital to catalyze the new carbon economy by 2040.

In June 2017, a one-day workshop was held at Arizona State University to begin mapping out the work of a consortium focused on creating a framework for the research programs necessary to support the new carbon economy. The workshop brought together experts from Arizona State University, the Center for Carbon Removal, Iowa State University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Purdue University.

Participants agreed that now is the time to lay out a carefully-considered, ambitious roadmap for building the new carbon economy. They discussed the long view as well as immediate actions in this effort to address countries’ environmental and economic concerns, and to restore the carbon balance for a prosperous future.

Time is needed to develop and fortify the technical knowledge and human capital that the new carbon economy will require. Time is also needed to establish the institutions that can cultivate and sustain human capacity and capabilities. The first step is a roadmap that will guide research and capability development, which must extend beyond any single institution and demands a global, coordinated network of institutions.

New Carbon Economy Consortium is supported by academia, visionary philanthropists, policymakers and companies interested and able to pivot their agriculture, food production and engineering expertise toward turning excess CO2 in the atmosphere into valuable products and industries.

As new voices and expertise are incorporated into the consortium, it will redefine and re-prioritize the most promising avenues of action. Next steps are to determine scientific and technical research programs most likely to yield immediate, actionable results; to identify policies that can spur innovation and help create appropriate markets; and to incorporate the sociopolitical dimensions of carbon removal and utilization into the consortium’s development.

Once firmly established, this robust university-business consortium will advance the new carbon economy across the globe and across industries, including chemical products, farming, forestry, building materials, fuels, food production and more.

Download the New Carbon Economy Consortium Workshop Report.

For more information, please contact Samson Szeto, Communications Program Coordinator for ASU LightWorks®.