New York — Say it’s the very near future, and you’re a worker put out of work in the declining oil industry. You’re highly educated, and you’ve been well-compensated, but as it becomes clear that burning more oil will wreck Earth and civilisation, the stuff you make gets properly priced to reflect that reality, and quickly your industry ceases to exist. Good for the planet, but you’re out of a job! What to do?

You go to the local job centre, which tells you the US department of energy is sponsoring a public-private company to build direct-air-capture factories. Now instead of pumping a source of carbon dioxide out of the ground, you get to suck CO₂ out of the atmosphere and inject it back underground...

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