Holocene Blog
Setting the Stage, Globally

Each year, 10s of 1000s of global citizens attend the Conference of the Parties, or COP — organized by the United Nations.

This tradition began in 1995 and has come to focus most pointedly on global, environmental topics such as climate change, biodiversity, and desertification. Highlights from COPs storied history include 1997’s COP3 which created the Kyoto Protocol (widely known as the advent of carbon crediting schemes) and 2015’s COP21, from which the Paris Agreement was created (global framework for limiting warming to 1.5-2C or less).

This year, the United Arab Emirates hosted COP28 in Dubai and Holocene’s Co-founder & CEO Anca Timofte, participated in the events as part of the broader, Breakthrough Energy delegation.

Bringing COP to You: Key Themes from COP28

Attendance at COP28 is generally viewed as a privilege. Even with over 85,000 delegates at COP28, the list of those who sought to be present and engage in the dialogues is at least twice as long.

As such, we brought together our top 3 takeaways from the conference to bring the latest globally, to you.


Carbon removal, with direct air capture as its leading face, took center stage at last year’s COP27 summit in Egypt.

At COP28, a commitment to scale carbon removal entered the COP Global Stocktake for the first time. The global agreement among the world’s nations on collective action to address climate change. The final text of the COP28 Global Stocktake includes a call for “accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies” including “removal technologies.”

The interest was further seen through outlets like Carbon Removals at COP, which hosted our CEO for an interview and published a global map of carbon removal projects, highlighting Holocene.


A climate transition bastion, Nat Bullard, recently noted that “The easy stuff is over.” when it comes to delivering on corporate and national climate commitments. While that might not be entirely true within every organization, what’s certain is that the first 20% of decarbonization is much easier than the last 20%.

At this year’s COP, global leaders continued to avidly seek new climate technologies that could play a meaningful role in the transition. With any technology… speed, scale, and affordability were the topics of interest.

For example, this year’s summit took a high interest in “white hydrogen” or geologic hydrogen, as it rings near to the traditional oil and gas community and could provide vast sums of hydrogen, with significantly less power requirements, and much lower costs. This “moonshot”, if the promise turns into realized potential, could kick-start a clean hydrogen industry seeking near-term solutions.


Lastly, among the climate transition community their was strong excitement and ambition, met with measured disappointment, after the final agreements and commitments lacked the “teeth” and specificity, that some might have hoped.

For example, while the Global Stocktake included a pledge from more than 100 countries to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030 and mobilizing more than $57 billion in climate capital… the agreement to replace fossil fuels with clean energy by 2050 for global net zero lacked specificity and action planning.

Holocene would encourage its peers to remain persistent, as this “cyclic” theme of progress & potential, measured by disappointment, has been persistent across the climate transition over the last two decades. Nonetheless, meaningful progress has been, and continues to be, made.

Moving Forward, Making Progress

COP28 is just one stage for global convening, deal-making, and ambition setting. Our experience indicates that the hard-work and delivered progress often exists outside convening arenas, such as COP… and rather in small, fast-moving offices, labs, and industrial facilities such as ours’ in Knoxville, TN.

You can bet that you will continue to see Holocene serve as a steadying, global presence for the advancement of carbon removal to support the nearly 10 gigatonnes, or ~20%, of net climate impact needed to deliver a net zero 2050 and beyond. Onwards.


Holocene is a direct air capture (“DAC”) technology developer and carbon removal service provider harnessing organic chemistry, and the abundant elements therein – carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen – to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere in support of restoring the climate stability and prosperity of our namesake, the Holocene Epoch. Holocene is proud to call some of the biggest names in direct air capture and climate tech commercialization as partners — including Breakthrough Energy, XPRIZE, Frontier Climate, Stripe, Shopify, Klarna, the DOE, and more.