3. Carbon removal tech is having a moment
Remember last week's revelation that Carbon Engineering, a firm trying to commercialize machines that directly pull CO2 from the air, raised $68 million?
It's hardly the only action in the wider carbon removal space.
Driving the news: Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator has thrust carbon removal startups into the spotlight amid growing concerns over climate change, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Why it matters: Venture capital's natural appetite for funding moonshots could make it a positive force — if it overcome disappointments from last decade's failed cleantech investments.
How it started: In October, YC asked for program applications from startups and nonprofits working to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- The "request for startups" came two weeks after a major UN report concluded that carbon removal will be needed to prevent warming from reaching a tipping point.
- Still, the two relevant startups that participated in YC's most recent accelerator program, which concluded last week, are using better known approaches — providing project verification for carbon offsetting projects and turning carbon dioxide into a fuel — than the techniques highlighted in October.
What investors are saying: "For too long, the world has ignored the scientists, inventors, organizers, and entrepreneurs who are pursuing solutions that could dramatically reduce emissions, remove carbon from the atmosphere, actively cool the planet, and save human, animal, and plant life as we know it," venture capitalist Chris Sacca told Axios via email.