walk it back United Kingdom England

02.01.2023 - 14:45:36


campaign earlier this year after becoming the first private citizen to undertake a personal 'lifetime carbon audit' following COP26. This process saw him calculate precisely how many tonnes of carbon he'd emitted over decades of fast living: high-rolling holidays, lots of flights and innumerable hamburgers. Last year, he repaid what he calls his debt to the earth – giving over $1m of his pension to carbon removal projects.

Cohon leaves from Trafalgar Square at 10.30am on Tuesday 3rd January, walking along The Mall with supporters and well-wishers. Outside the Goring Hotel in Belgravia he'll meet up with his support vehicle – repurposed shipping containers that have been painted in Professor Edward Hawkins' climate stripes. The containers function by day as an exhibition of carbon removal art, and by night as a speakeasy. Cohon leaves British soil, from Newhaven, on Sunday 8 January and will be walking for 153 days total.

walk it back sets out to revolutionise how carbon removal is perceived and supported globally: calling for greater dialogue, coordination, knowledge, governance and investment in the sector in order to safely and quickly scale carbon removal solutions. Walking alongside Cohon and supporting the carbon removal campaign over the next five months will be youth activists, mayors, CEOs, climate experts and artists. 

Founder members of the campaign include, youth climate activist network ReEarth Initiative and city leadership network United Cities and Local Governments. Partners include Patch, EFG and Searchlight Capital.

Cohon says: "When I learnt that all the carbon humanity has ever emitted is still up there, I started looking into carbon removal. What I discovered is that it takes a lot of work and money, but it's possible to get huge quantities of CO2 out of the atmosphere. The tech is there and improving all the time. But we really do need to get quicker and better at doing this, fairly and on a huge scale. If we succeed, it has the potential to actually change the course of climate history."

This walk kicks off as people in the UK consider getting rid of their Christmas trees. If we followed the Stockholm model and turned the 7 million trees we buy each year into biochar, we could not only avoid 100,000 tonnes of emissions they otherwise cause in landfill but actively lock 168,000 tonnes of atmospheric carbon back into the earth's crust.

In November 2022, walk it back published the paper Getting to Net Negative to highlight the critical role cities play in carbon removal. Cohon's walk will feature events in 10 cities along his route to engage city decision-makers. In London, untapped carbon sequestration opportunities include afforesting the Green Belt, the 1,269,800 acres of land that encircles the city: with huge benefits for air pollution, physical and mental health.  

More information on @2023walkitback and partners: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | TikTok |

Cision View original content: