MCC participates in lavish “Arte” television documentary on carbon removal technologies

The German-French culture channel explains the options through impressive on-site reports, and has them evaluated by our group leader Jan Minx as a studio guest.

One of the technologies for carbon removal: mangroves are bred for reforestation in special tree nurseries in Bangladesh. | Photo: SWR/Saeed


The large-scale retrieval of the most important climate gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Earth's atmosphere is becoming the second pillar of climate protection, alongside the scaling back of emissions towards zero. It is now the subject of an ambitious TV production: under the title “Cooling of the Earth”, the German-French culture channel “Arte” describes the possible extraction processes in visually stunning reports. The film was made with the support of the Berlin-based climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change). It will be broadcast this Saturday (26 August) at 9:45 p.m., as well as September 6 at 1:00 a.m. and September 8 at 10:35 a.m.CEST, and will also be freely available on the Arte media library until 23 November.

“Concerning carbon removals and climate protection, we can still get it right, but it's going to take hard work,” says Jan Minx, head of the MCC working group Applied Sustainability Science, describing the central message of this bold information offering. As an expert in the television studio, he evaluates the reports produced by camera teams in Germany and abroad, together with Assistant Secretary Jennifer Wilcox from the US Department of Energy and Julia Pongratz, geography professor at the University of Munich.

The 52-minute Arte production shows how carbon removal from the atmosphere can be made possible, for example, by reforesting mangrove forests in Bangladesh, or through the production of biochar in an Austrian power plant. Biochar can be used to force the sequestration of CO2 in farmland, and it can possibly also be used as an alternative to cement in the construction industry. Moreover, the film focuses on the construction of Germany's first wooden skyscraper in Hamburg's HafenCity, carbon removal through huge air filtration plants in Iceland, CO2-absorbing algae cultivation as a basic material for carbon fibres, and the distribution of crushed minerals over land, which enhances the process of weathering and thus also the binding of CO2.


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