RMI Builds Carbon Dioxide Removal Expertise Through New Initiative

RMI has acquired The Climate Map to build internal expertise on carbon dioxide removal and assess its long-term role in a climate-secure future, alongside necessary emissions reduction efforts.


Boulder, CO – July 20, 2022

RMI, formerly Rocky Mountain Institute, is acquiring The Climate Map, a nonprofit that conducts comprehensive science-based assessments of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solutions, and develops roadmaps for the responsible research, development, and deployment of those solutions.

CDR refers to the removal of carbon dioxide from the air or the oceans (as opposed to point-source carbon capture, which involves the capture of carbon emissions from fossil fuel plants and industry). RMI is committing more resources and expertise to CDR to better understand the CDR field and catalyze its development in an equitable and sustainable way.

RMI’s CDR initiative will assess CDR’s long-term role and collaborate with leading global researchers and practitioners to mobilize action on critical projects and priorities to advance CDR, alongside the emissions reduction efforts that remain critical to climate stability.

“Those of us dedicated to the energy transition have worked to avoid a scenario where CDR is needed, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that it will be,” said Jon Creyts, chief program officer, RMI. “While we believe that policy, markets, and the solution landscape should be focused on deploying the cheapest and most effective resources first, the CDR industry is the waste management industry of this century and will need to grow in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. By standing up this new initiative dedicated to CDR mapping, RMI is signaling the need to speed up more solutions this decade.”

“We formed The Climate Map to address the enormous gap between how much carbon removal we will need in the coming decades, and the limited amount that has been researched and tested to date. It’s clear we need more shots on goal,” said Remi Bouteille, board chair, The Climate Map. “We need an entire industry that doesn’t exist yet, we need it to be beneficial for society, and we need it to develop fast. Catalyzing this requires systems thinking, a long-term view, and collaboration across sectors. RMI’s capabilities in these areas make it the right partner to take this ambitious and important project to scale.”

“There are many potential CDR pathways, from enhancing plant growth, microbial activity, and rock weathering, to wholly engineered processes for the removal of carbon from the air or the ocean,” said Jeremy Grantham, trustee of Grantham Environmental Trust. “CDR is in its infancy, with many pathways in testing for the first time, and many yet undiscovered. The field is ripe with opportunities for new ideas, new markets, and new jobs, and RMI is poised to bring the future of CDR forward, sooner.”

Through the acquisition of The Climate Map, the following experts will join RMI as full-time staff:

  • Daniel Pike, Principal, RMI: Daniel is a social scientist and MBA by training, with a fifteen-year track record of contributions at the frontier of climate change mitigation. Prior to leading and building The Climate Map between 2020 and 2022, Daniel advised businesses, government agencies, foundations, and nonprofits focused on achieving climate and conservation impact.
  • Cara Maesano, Manager, RMI: Cara is a physicist by training, with expertise on the mechanics of different CDR pathways and their potential impacts. She has expertise in Geochemical CDR techniques such as enhanced weathering, ocean alkalinity enhancement, and mineralization.
  • Silvan Aeschlimann, Manager, RMI: Silvan is a social scientist and journalist by training, with experience conducting research and roadmapping work across CDR, and synthesizing insights from science and practice into recommendations for different audiences. He has particular expertise in direct air capture and storage and in geochemical CDR.

“CDR is a long way from where the world needs it to be. But we’re coming into RMI with a fantastic team, research partners, and funders, just as CDR is attracting a groundswell of talent, investment, and support. At RMI we’ll ramp up our efforts to advance the CDR field globally, in collaboration with our new RMI colleagues and, we hope, many more partners outside of RMI,” said Daniel Pike.

RMI’s acquisition of The Climate Map and the launch of its new CDR hub is supported by leading philanthropists, corporations, and venture capitalists active in the CDR ecosystem, including the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, Stripe Climate, Preston-Werner Foundation, Protocol Labs, and Lowercarbon Capital.

Nan Ransahoff, head of climate at Stripe, said, “Carbon removal is in its infancy, and we’ll need a portfolio of solutions to get us to the required scale. RMI’s work will help identify promising carbon removal pathways we may not have yet tried or fully explored. We’re hopeful this work will illuminate critical gaps and attract talent to focus on filling them.”

The Climate Map and RMI would like to acknowledge and thank a number of individuals for their immense voluntary contributions, as co-founders and advisors, to the development of The Climate Map and its acquisition by RMI:

  • Joel Armin-Hoiland (CEO, Climate Finance Solutions),
  • Remi Bouteille (CEO, Quadrature Climate Foundation),
  • Robert Höglund (CEO, Marginal Carbon AB),
  • Erin Lindgren (Chief of Staff, Activate),
  • David Mann (Co-CEO, Spark Climate),
  • Ryan Orbuch (Partner, Lowercarbon Capital),
  • Noah Shannon (President, ND Shannon Associates),
  • Charles van Tassel (Product Manager, Cleartrace),
  • Ryan Wise (Former SVP, AthenaHealth),
  • Daniel Yawitz (CEO, Climate Pathfinders Foundation).

Learn more about RMI’s CDR work, here.

For media inquiries please contact:

Marissa Gantman, Strategic Communications Director, RMI – mgantman@rmi.org

About RMI 

RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

More information on RMI can be found at www.rmi.org or follow us on Twitter @RockyMtnInst.

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