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Carbon Clean-up Camp

Carbon Clean-up Camp believes that high integrity Carbon Removal (CDR) scale-up requires more than traditional business models, policy and regulation, but also the building of deeper bonds of trust, forged through shared meaningful experiences and conversations.

Join us for 4 days of nature-based networking, community building and interdisciplinary discussion focussed on the future of CDR. This is a funded and curated gathering that is free to join for all participants.

Thursday 19th-Sunday 22nd Sep 2024

Partners & Sponsors

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Programme Questions

Where we are now and what has been holding CDR back?

How to shift from conflict and competition to a culture of collaboration?

2050 Collective Visioning | Where do we want to be?

How do we motivate more people to invest in and support CDR projects?

How do we build a meaningful CDR community?

What CDR projects are we working on and how can we support each other?

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

- Margaret Mead

About Us

Carbon Clean-up Camp is a community-building experience to support the beneficial scaling-up of carbon dioxide removal

Carbon Clean-up Camp supports the creation of cohesive communities working on the rapid scale-up of high-integrity carbon dioxide removal (CDR). The size, complexity, and urgency of the CDR challenge requires people from across society to work in concert, with a common vision. Achieving this entails building bonds of trust, across divides, grounded in shared understanding.

 

There is currently a lack of fora or processes that address this. Carbon Clean-up Camp fills that gap, offering a memorable 3-day experience for a carefully curated group of 45 people (37 UK, 8 international) in an exploratory, informal setting. This gathering offers participants the space to ask questions about who they are, how they relate, how they want to live, and how to build lasting relationships.

 

The IPCC’s AR6 report calls for no less than a transformation across society, for “rapid and far-reaching transitions across all sectors and systems”, and CDR scale-up will be no different. Carbon Clean-up Camp starts from the conviction that realising a genuine transformation begins with building close-knit groups small enough to engage in deep learning and listening, and to create connections that last a lifetime. We intend for this initial gathering to be the first of many, replicated in multiple locations, with new communities building deeper ties over time.

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Context: A Scale-up Challenge

According to the IPCC, CDR is part of all modelled scenarios that limit global warming to 2°C or lower by 2100. The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal report estimates that the world needs to remove and store five billions of tonnes of atmospheric CO2 (or equivalent) every year by 2050, and even more if emissions do not decline at the necessary pace. To do this properly – with integrity, in a way that supports climate, biodiversity, and social goals, and ensures long-term sequestration – will be one of humanity’s biggest collective endeavours, presenting both significant opportunities and major challenges.

 

The pathways and possible futures for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) are manifold. Many approaches are being developed: from ocean- and land-based techniques, like growing seagrass, afforestation or peatland restoration, to novel technologies, and new forms of energy production and agriculture. These raise big questions, including about who should pay, who benefits, who bears what risks, how long they last, and who should adjudicate outcomes. Different approaches to and understanding of the risks and benefits can foster creativity, but have also led to distrust and hampered progress. Mechanisms are needed to overcome this.

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Problem: Risk of cultural discord amongst practitioners, stakeholders, and communities

Awareness of CDR is growing rapidly, and there is a significant uptick in the flow of talent and job seekers into the sector, alongside growing investment in CDR-related start-ups and ancillary services, such as monitoring and verification. This is attracting individuals with a variety of motivations, from CDR’s reparative and distributive potential, and the love of innovation and academic curiosity, to potentially avoiding emissions cuts, and the straight-up search for financial reward. While practitioners may share some common goals, their differences can undermine effective collaboration, and in some cases have led to outright opposition.

 

In the wider public, views on CDR approaches vary considerably on issues such as cost, environmental friendliness, how they would distribute risk, whether they can be counted on in the long-term (raising important questions around storage), and whether they might decrease the motivation to reduce CO2 emissions. (Some of these questions and differences are explored in a recent paper in Nature Communications: Public perceptions and support of climate intervention technologies across the Global North and Global South.) These differences can be part of a healthy discourse. But they also risk creating contestation which undermines rather than enhances constructive outcomes, and a potential rejection of carbon dioxide removal which the world can ill afford.

 

Currently, the CDR community is addressing these challenges through multiple fora such as academic consortia and conferences, informal coalitions such as Airminers and OpenAir Collective, and professional networks like the GGR Future Leaders Network. But there is a lack of spaces and opportunities to navigate the complexities and sensitivities of scale-up in a more open, diverse setting, where participants can go beyond simply pursuing the advancement of pet projects or policies. Carbon Clean-up Camp will work with practitioners experienced in the CDR landscape as well as broader facilitation techniques, collaborative organisation, and physical practice and rituals designed to help attendees take a longer more holistic view, and to envision what a genuine transformation might look like.

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Figure 1: The complex array of interests and roles at play in the CDR ecosystem, Carbon Removal Centre 2022

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Proposed approach: Building a carbon removal community

Carbon Clean-up Camp is an effort to identify sources of misunderstanding and distrust around CDR scale-up, and to explore techniques to overcome them. Misunderstandings can emanate from many places, including deeply personal issues. This means working not only on an analytical and intellectual level, but on an emotional and sensory level, in a way that recognises people’s broader needs, interests and desires.

 

“We are humans. We want to relate to other humans. We want to feel part of a group… we really need to engage and relate to other humans who are leaders in creating this industry, and we really believe in their integrity, in their motivation. Why are they doing what they are doing? It’s very important to be certain to work with people who are aligned with your values. This gives energy and this motivates people to work with us in this industry.”

Hannes Junginger, CEO, Carbonfuture, on the Carbon Removal Show podcast 

 

Over the course of a multi-day residential programme at Selgars Mill Estate, in the heart of the Devon countryside, our programme will alternate between indoor and outdoor sessions in a twin track approach, marrying traditional problem-solving with embodied and nature-based learning experiences.

 

Our goal is to identify and address the underlying dynamics around CDR, the people and processes involved in it, and to explore a range of tools to build community and more trusting relationships that practitioners may have overlooked, or not had the time or means to unpack. 

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A Place Apart

A key element of Carbon Clean-up Camp is its beautiful rural location, far from the stress and bustle of an urban meeting centre. Selgars Mill Estate has excellent meeting facilities, and its grounds are filled with interesting nooks and crannies where people can come together as humans, think differently, and be encouraged to dream.

 

Selgars Mill Estate has developed nature-based regenerative learning programmes through its Somos and Enchanted events, which take the approach that “our body's physiological state plays a critical role in shaping how we relate and how we behave under pressure” – and bring to bear a range of  techniques that encourage greater connectedness with each other and the natural environment. It encourages a spirit of listening, enquiry and play, which allows for building deeper connections than a traditional conference or retreat.

 

Our intention is to design and facilitate the Carbon Clean-up Camp in a way that integrates nature connection, embodiment, playfulness, co-creation and open dialogue into our sessions and workshops. We will encourage participants to embrace a living systems mindset and consider more deeply their human and behavioural perspectives, and not just the scientific and technological. We will also seek to monitor and evaluate the level of engagement and collaboration post-gathering as a way to demonstrate the long-term impact of our approach in comparison to more conventional conferences.

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Participant selection, diversity and inclusion

Carbon Clean-up Camp will work closely with The Greenhouse Gas Removal Future Leaders Network (FLN) of CO2RE, the UKRI--funded greenhouse gas removal hub, which brings together solution developers, policy thinkers, consultants, corporates, trade associations, looking to “create a diverse community of members and provide spaces to convene, share ideas, develop new perspectives, and build capacity to advance UK GGR”. We will curate an invitation-only list, through phased outreach to FLN members, mentors, expansion to broader FLN contacts, and to international connections, to build an inclusive and diverse community that reflects the broader societal challenge of scaling up CDR. Participants will be chosen to maximise open-minded discussion, from diverse backgrounds and character types, assessed on the basis of a pre-event questionnaire about background, motivation, and desired outcomes. FLN would also invite 2-3 senior experts in the carbon removal space, to act as “mentors” for the participants and guide its exploration.

 

To further inclusion and diversity, organisers will take an approach that is:

  • Accessible: through accessible ground floor accommodation, venue, and programme design. 

  • Diverse and representative: the selected group brought together would cover a mix of participants from various different ethnic, cultural, age, gender, and economic backgrounds, with a broad range of different expertise (e.g., policy makers, private sector. funders and leaders).

  • International: organisers will aim to bring in 8 international participants, including from the global south, through the FLN’s wider network of contacts.

Leadersip Immersions
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"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift."

- Albert Einstein

Team Immersions

Organising Team

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Aaron Benjamin

Aaron Benjamin, UK and Europe Lead at Direct Air Capture Coalition, Executive Committee of Future Leaders Network, Illuminem

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Anton Chernikov

Anton is a designer and entrepreneur who has been working at the intersection of tech, sustainability and real estate for the past 12 years. He is the founder of House of Transformation and Selgars and the co-founder of SOMOS and enchanted.
 

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Francesca Battersby

Francesca Battersby is an expert in carbon removal governance and policy at Carbon Gap, and chairs the Executive Committee of the GGR Future Leaders Network.

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Mark Turner

Mark Turner has been a journalist, speechwriter, and climate and humanitarian strategic communications leader with multiple international organisations and NGOs (e.g., Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative), and is exploring a range of new approaches to helping people engage with the climate transition. You can see his podcast series with emerging climate technology leaders at C2GTalk.

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