Isaias Hernandez Featured in Newsletter

Isaias Hernandez is an educator and creative devoted to improving environmental literacy through content creation, storytelling, and public engagements. 

He is more commonly known by his moniker, Queer Brown Vegan: the independent media platform he started to bring intersectional environmental education to all. His journey to deconstruct complex issues, while centering diversity and authenticity, has resonated with a worldwide audience. He also collaborates with other leaders from the private and public sectors to uplift and produce stories of change for his independent web series, Sustainable Jobs and Teaching Climate Together

Isaias is based in Los Angeles, working as a full-time content creator, public speaker, and dog daddy.

As he focuses on sustainability broadly and not carbon capture and utilization specifically, he posed questions to the Global CO2 Initiative, instead of us asking him questions.

Carbon capture technologies are inspired by nature. Can you share with us how these technological advancements will provide a future in removing tons of carbon?

Indeed, nature removes carbon dioxide from air and water for various reasons. Plants, for example, use it in photosynthesis to produce anything from wood to fruit; animals can use it as building materials to produce shells, e.g. in mussels. 

Illustration of the photosynthesis process.

Natural decomposition of certain rocks can bind CO2 as carbonates. Technologies can similarly take out CO2 from the environment and use it to make products. If done right, it can be far more productive with less space and time than what nature requires.

The CO2 that was added to the environment through excessive human activity, mainly combustion, can be harvested and used to make products that otherwise would be made from petroleum, natural gas, or coal. 

Even if we magically stopped all emissions tomorrow, there would still be too much CO2 out there for a long time. It is the developing world where people often suffer more from the impacts of climate change. We owe it to the people there to take action. Removing CO2 is imperative.

Instead of burying captured CO2 underground, we need to learn how to maximize using the carbon from the captured CO2 to make products. Using carbon from captured CO2 to make products will help make carbon removal more affordable compared to underground carbon storage. This will provide the best help to people who are the hardest hit by climate change and will hopefully help improve their standard of living.

Long-lived products (e.g. concrete) will help to reduce the CO2 levels in the environment and short lived products (e.g. clothes or soap) can help us to create a circular carbon economy without the need for fossil fuels.

What are the benefits of carbon capture technologies, especially when meeting sustainability goals for our corporations, local governments, or our democracy? 

First and foremost, carbon capture technologies allow us to harvest carbon for products that would otherwise have to be made from fossil carbon.

Biomass is another source of non-fossil carbon, but we do not have enough biomass to meet the world’s needs for carbon products. Some manufacturing such as cement and steel production are so hard to decarbonize that they may never be completely decarbonized. Therefore we need to capture their emissions. 

Continue reading answers to Isaias Hernandez’s questions