We probably don’t need to remind you of the importance of reducing carbon emissions, but you might be less familiar with progress around removing the gigatons of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere and ocean.
A new initiative led by Stripe called Frontier, in partnership with Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, and McKinsey, is putting the topic in the spotlight. The plan is to purchase $925M worth of carbon removal from companies developing carbon removal technologies. The model is called an AMC (advance market commitment), a term borrowed from NGOs working on vaccine development and distribution. It works like a binding contract that guarantees a viable market for a product once it’s successfully developed. Frontier intends to encourage researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors to accelerate the development of carbon removal technologies by guaranteeing future demand for them.
Stripe is using Stripe Climate, a tool that allows businesses to direct a fraction of their revenue towards carbon dioxide removal, to provide some customers to Frontier.
Frontier is one of many global and corporate initiatives in the carbon removal space. Climeworks just raised $600M for its direct air capture technology. Governments are trying to do their part too. The UK and EU have committed to capture 6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
While some may celebrate the news, if you’re feeling skeptical, we don’t blame you. So far, fewer than 10K tons of carbon dioxide have been captured to date, and it’s believed 6 billion tons need to be removed by 2050 to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and limit global warming.
So is Frontier just a marketing stunt from some of big tech’s most controversial players? There’s no doubt such a partnership will make a big PR splash and executives be early to pat themselves on the back. But the reality of our meager progress against carbon removal reveals that we all need to be doing more to support such technologies and we’re hopeful that Stripe’s solution may kickstart more progress.
Are you optimistic about Frontier? Join the conversation.
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