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Technology & Engineering Pollution Control

Scrubbing the Sky

Inside the Race to Cool the Planet

by (author) Paul McKendrick

Figure 1 Publishing
Initial publish date
Feb 2023
Pollution Control, Global Warming & Climate Change, Environmental (see also Environmental Science)
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) Gold Award Winner - Environment/EcologyFinalist for the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction - Alberta Literary Awards

An in-depth look at the people and the science behind our attempts to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere with direct air capture.

Drawing on interviews with stakeholders at the intersection of climate science, energy technology, and public policy, Paul McKendrick's investigation traces more than 20 years of technological development with direct air capture, from Biosphere 2; to multi-million dollar promises from Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk; to the opening of Orca, the world's largest commercial direct air capture facility, in Iceland in 2021.

The question of what will be necessary for direct air capture to reach a meaningful scale, and how much it will cost, has fueled intense scientific and political debate, and spurred a value chain that spans finance, industry, technology, policy, and academia.

McKendrick's clear and riveting prose presents the full story of this fascinating pursuit for the first time, inviting readers to learn more about this critical climate intervention option.

About the author

Paul McKendrick lives in Canmore, AB, where he enjoys spending time in the mountains with his family. He holds degrees from UBC and Dalhousie. Most of his career has been spent in renewable energy, and more recently he has become the owner and operator of a running and Nordic ski store with his wife, Kylie.

Paul McKendrick's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Will appeal to both sceptics and advocates of DAC...whether one sees DAC as a saviour or a distraction to the race to save the planet, you can expect to come away significantly better informed on both arguments."
- Nature Journal

"McKendrick's meticulous reporting captures the birthing pains of direct air capture technology - pulling carbon dioxide out of the air - which, as the climate crisis worsens, could ultimately become one of the world's most important industries."
- Justin Gillis, award-winning journalist, co-author of The Big Fix: Seven Practical Steps to Save Our Planet

"How do we remove the carbon emissions we have already put into our atmosphere? In Scrubbing the Sky McKendrick tells a compelling story of the people and companies searching for the breakthrough that solves our biggest climate challenge. By connecting the dots from historical insights, McKendrick allows for failures and missteps, but leaves us with a sense of optimism that this seemingly impossible task may be within our reach."
- Peter McTeer, author of Sustainability is the New Advantage

"McKendrick's carefully researched dive into the hidden science of direct air capture reads like a fast-paced adventure story - one with enormous implications for all of us."
- Alex Hutchinson, author of Endure and columnist for Outside and the Globe and Mail

Praise for The Bushman's Lair :

" The Bushman's Lair is a riveting, fast-paced, and suspenseful account of one of BC's most notorious and fascinating fugitives. Just as the Bushman carved out his own cave somewhere in the thick of woods along Shuswap Lake, author Paul McKendrick skillfully carves out the Bushman's engrossing story onto the page. The deeper McKendrick digs, the stranger the truth becomes."
- Grant Lawrence, CBC personality and author of Adventures in Solitude

"A must read. You won't be disappointed."
- Sage Birchwater, The Ormsby Review

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