Urban Green’s Cities and the Future of Negative Emissions, Recap!

June 2, 2018

Thanks to Urban Green and the U.S. Green Building Council for putting together such a fantastic event! Was happy to be a part of the conversation with fellow speakers Chris Neidl, Samuel Man, and moderator Elliott P. Montgomery after Christophe Jospe and Jaeson Cardiff’s talks on the future of Direct Air Capture and negative emissions. Here are some pictures from the event and more on the speakers, and here’s to continuing to develop new ideas, techniques and technologies to combat climate change!

The audience was insightful, thought provoking and tough–the very New York term ‘bupkis’ even came up at one point. Figuring out how to make DAC cost effective and motivate its adoption is one key question. Incorporating it into cities and infrastructure is another.

Christophe takes a question from the panel on Nori, the world’s first carbon dioxide removal marketplace.

Audience members were engaging and insightful as we talked through some very pressing problems and how to implement next generation technologies. What to do with all the CO2 that is captured was one thing we discussed. CO2 is used by greenhouses and breweries and is worth money, but this isn’t really feasible once you scale up. How much beer do you need to drink? one audience member asked. Can the captured carbon become a product that isn’t dangerous to the environment? Liquid fuels (via algae) have long energy storage potential and offer one means of carbon recycling. Polymer technology as a replacement for plastic was another possibility, as was water desalination. But are these environmentally friendly? DAC is a modular technology like solar, which came down 100x in cost, so future feasibility and cost effectiveness look positive.

Making a case for cities being a part of the equation. Many of the DAC applications we saw were larger scale industrial installations on remote sites — ‘separate the source from the sink.’ But if climate change is allowed to move to 4 degrees and increased population projections are on track, the abundant hinterland many of these installations currently occupy may no longer be as feasible. Not all the means and methods discussed were large scale, however. Jaeson Cardiff presented the first micro scale carbon capture unit that is on offer in Canada’s residential heating market which is able to reduce emissions from single family homes.

To reverse climate change atmospheric CO2 must move to 300 ppm. We’ve got our work cut out for us! One audience member asked why not focus on taking CO2 from the oceans, and suggested that such technology might be more easily implementable. Answer: we need to focus all our energies on as many solutions to the problem as possible if we want to nail this.

Food, drinks, and networking prior to the event!


Chris Neidl
Director of Business Development, Brooklyn SolarWorks

Chris Neidl is the current director of business development for Brooklyn SolarWorks. During his thirteen-year career in the renewable energy field, he has served as a renewable energy project manager, business consultant and policy advocate in New York City, South Asia and East Africa. Prior to joining Brooklyn SolarWorks, Neidl served as the founding director of Here Comes Solar, a non-profit initiative of the local clean energy arts and education organization Solar One.

Christophe Jospe
Chief Development Officer, Nori

Christophe Jospe has a background in science translation, fundraising and communications for early-stage technologies that can capture, use and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Part of his work at Nori, which is developing a platform to pay for carbon removal certificates on a blockchain, includes scoping opportunities to integrate new carbon technologies into the built environment.

Jaeson Cardiff
CEO and Co-Founder, CleanO2

Jaeson Cardiff is the CEO and lead designer at CleanO2 Carbon Capture Technologies. He has 20 years’ experience in the heating industry and 13 years’ experience in the micro-scale carbon capture industry. Jaeson and his team have been working toward the reduction of carbon emissions from the commercial heating industry and helping to create a sustainable future for the gas utility networks.

Vanessa Keith
Principal, Studioteka

As Principal of Studiotecka Vanessa Keith is especially interested in envisioning design-oriented technical and engineering solutions to environmental problems. Her work has appeared in notable international design publications such as Frame, Hinge, Surface Asia, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Design Bureau and Mark Magazine. She is the author of 2100: A Dystopian Utopia – The City After Climate Change, a book on the future of cities in a hotter world.

Samuel Man
Policy Advisor, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

As a Policy Advisor at MOS, Samuel Man helps manage the NYC Carbon Challenge, which is a public-private partnership aiming to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Man worked at an environmental education organization, where he coordinated outreach to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. Man holds a Master of Science in the Sustainability in the Urban Environment program from City College of New York and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning from the State University of New York at Albany.


Elliott P. Montgomery
Assistant Professor of Strategic Design, Parsons School of Design

Co-Founder, The Extrapolation Factory. Elliott P. Montgomery is a futures-researcher and strategic designer. He is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Design at Parsons School of Design and is co-founder of The Extrapolation Factory, a design-futures studio based in Brooklyn. He is a former design research resident at the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, Energy. He holds a Masters Degree in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London and a Bachelors in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA.