May 19, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Tech company Stripe funds four CO2 removal projects

Illustration of someone wiping away smokestack emissions.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The payment tech company Stripe is funding four carbon dioxide removal projects as part of its plan announced last year, which advocates had called a pioneering corporate foray into these nascent markets.

Why it matters: Pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere — not only cutting new emissions — will be an important tool for limiting global temperature rise, a major UN-led scientific report concluded in late 2018.

Driving the news: Stripe unveiled Monday the first negative emissions purchase deals in its $1 million annual commitment. They're working with...

  • The Swiss direct air capture company Climeworks.
  • Project Vesta, a California nonprofit seeking to testing use of a mineral called olivine at beaches to capture CO2 (Reuters has more here).
  • The Canadian firm CarbonCure, which "sequesters CO2 in concrete by mineralizing it into calcium carbonate."
  • Another California entity, Charm Industrial, which is testing a process for "preparing and injecting bio-oil into geologic storage."

What they're saying: "This is really important to show that companies can take actions to advance carbon removal fairly quickly after making commitments to do so," Noah Deich, executive director of the group Carbon180, tells me.

  • "The biggest new entrant into the space is Microsoft which has pledged to remove their entire cumulative historical carbon footprint. But Stripe is still first in putting a strategy into practice," he says.

The big picture: Some of it is quite expensive. The projects range from $75–$775 per ton of CO2 removed.

  • Stripe's discussion of the Climeworks project — which has the highest per-ton removal cost — notes that one goal is to be among the early movers that helps drive costs much lower.

Go deeper: Scientists say major push for CO2 removal needed

Go deeper