A climate-focused venture firm plans to invest $350 million into carbon removal startups

The problem is that we don’t know how to remove carbon on anything like these scales. Our current options include planting trees, building carbon-sucking machines and scattering around carbon-absorbing minerals. But all of these are expensive, unreliable, short-lived, untested, limited or otherwise challenging.

Lowercarbon Capital was founded in 2018 by Chris and Crystal Saka, who overseen early-stage investments in their previous firm, Lowercase Capital, on Instagram, Slack, Twitter and Uber. It has quickly emerged as one of the leading companies focusing on climate tech.

The firm, which raised a separate ફ 800 million climate fund last summer, supports companies to “buy time to unfit the planet” through three main approaches: adapting to increasing risks, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or eliminating those gases. Atmosphere. Previous investments in the latter field include hairlooms, which use minerals to obtain carbon dioxide; Running tides, which depend on seaweed; And Wordox, which developed the electrochemical approach.

In a letter to potential contributors to the new fund, Chris Saka wrote that “leaving it on its own devices, it could take up to 100,000 years for the Earth to cool to a safe level,” adding: “So, in addition to dramatic reductions in emissions, It needs to be removed and thrown into the ground. “

LowerCarbon’s founding partner Clay Dumas says the sector has a growing market opportunity given the growing purchases of tons of carbon removed by companies such as Airbus, Microsoft, Shopify and Swiss Re. He also noted the emergence of numerous platforms promising to help corporations evaluate and purchase reliable means of carbon removal, such as patch, pledge, sourceful and stripe climate, allowing its customers to dedicate a portion of their revenue to future tons of carbon offsets. Is. .

In related news, Stripe itself announced Tuesday that major companies, including Alphabet, Meta and McKinsey, are committed to buying કાર્ 925 million worth of permanent carbon removal between now and 2030. The online payment company is also an investor in LowerCarbon’s new fund, and plans to reinvest any profits from those investments in removing excess carbon.

These are concerns around the emerging sector, including the fear that companies or policymakers will rely on carbon removal instead of finding ways to reduce emissions.

Nan Rensohoff, head of the climate department at Stripe, insists that “radical emissions reduction” should be a priority for governments and companies.

“It’s really important for people like Stripe and all the partners working on it [the carbon removal program] To loudly re-emphasize that this is not a silver bullet from any stretch of the imagination, “she says.” The math is clear: we need both. “

There are also questions about how cheap carbon removal can be, who will cover the cost of pulling billions of tons, and why.

Achieving really significant levels of carbon emissions, like emissions reduction, will require government policies that either encourage or mandate a practice like the sharp price on carbon. There are already a few helpful steps, and a handful Additional proposals Is under consideration.

Rancehoff says the policy will be necessary, noting that the level of carbon emissions needed by 2050 could cost about $ 1 trillion, about 1 / 100th of this year’s expected global GDP.

“It’s hard to imagine voluntary markets scaling to that size,” she says. “Voluntary markets are great for getting us on a first-come, first-served basis, but policy has to get us there the rest of the way. I really don’t see any way around it. ”

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