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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft this morning disclosed investments in more climate-related companies as part of efforts to make good on its year-old pledge to become "carbon negative" by 2030.

Driving the news: One company the tech behemoth is staking is Climeworks, a firm looking to scale up deployment of direct air capture technology that removes CO2 already in the atmosphere.

  • The size of the investment was not disclosed. Microsoft also revealed that it's a customer of the Swiss firm.
  • "Through Microsoft’s purchase of negative emissions from Climeworks, we will permanently remove 1,400 metric tons of carbon," Lucas Joppa, Microsoft's top environmental official, said in a blog post.

Why it matters: It's part of a growing move by deep-pocketed companies and investors to back the fledgling direct air capture sector — and pay them for carbon removal.

The volumes currently being removed are a tiny drop in the bucket, but DAC could be among the technologies that eventually join the list of meaningful tools against warming.

  • Another firm, Carbon Engineering, counts backers including Bill Gates, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum.
  • Climeworks' other investors and customers include e-commerce heavyweight Shopify.

The big picture: The Climeworks investment is among several updates this morning from Microsoft on its climate efforts, including two other new outlays from its $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund.

  • It is backing the early-stage, climate-focused VC fund Congruent Ventures, as well as the foundation-backed Southeast Asia Clean Energy Facility, which Joppa notes "aims to drive market adoption of existing technologies in underfunded markets."

By the numbers: Microsoft also tallied some of what's happened since its pledge last January.

  • President Brad Smith said in a separate post that Microsoft cut its overall emissions by 6%, or roughly 730,000 metric tons.
  • "We have purchased the removal of 1.3 million metric tons of carbon from 26 projects around the world," he said.
  • Bloomberg looks more at those efforts and some of their hurdles here.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

GM plans to end sales of gasoline powered cars by 2035

GM CEO Mary Barra at the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles in Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors is setting a worldwide target to end sales of gasoline and diesel powered cars, pickups and SUVs by 2035, the automaker said Thursday.

Why it matters: GM's plan marks one of the auto industry's most aggressive steps to transform their portfolio to electric models that currently represent a tiny fraction of overall sales.

11 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

The big picture: Dressel won the race in 21.07 seconds.

  • He previously won gold in the men's 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter freestyle and 4x100-meter medley relay in Tokyo. He also broke the world record in the men's 100-meter butterfly final on Friday.
  • Dressel had two gold medals going into the Tokyo Olympics.

Go deeper: Full Axios Olympics coverage

2 hours ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases in state since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.