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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The payment tech company Stripe plans to fund direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its long-term storage.

Why it matters: Experts in carbon removal methods, such as direct air capture and large-scale forest creation, call the announcement a milestone in corporate climate initiatives.

The big picture: A UN-led scientific report in 2018 concluded that pathways for holding temperature rise to 1.5°C require some level of carbon removal — not just steeply cutting and preventing emissions.

Driving the news: Late last week Stripe said it's soliciting information from parties looking to commercialize various techniques. There's at least 3 types of ongoing projects they might fund...

  • Improving natural carbon sinks with forestry, soil and farmland management techniques.
  • Direct air capture.
  • Carbon uptake in mineral formations.

By the numbers: "We expect that the best price will initially be very high: almost certainly more than $100 per tCO2, as compared to the $8 per tCO2 we pay for offsets," Stripe's Christian Anderson said in his post announcing the plan.

  • The company plans to spend at least $1 million per year to fund the carbon-sucking efforts, per Anderson, an engineering exec with Stripe.

What's next: Anderson said Stripe planned to select an "initial solution to purchase" in the third quarter.

  • He also urged other companies to follow suit and participate in joint-purchasing with Stripe.
  • "If a broad coalition of buyers commits substantial investment, we’re optimistic that the price curve will start to move," he writes.

What they're saying: "It's breathtaking and audacious, and very much worth doing," says Julio Friedmann, a former DOE official now with a Columbia University energy think tank.

  • "While Stripe is the first company to make this pledge, I certainly hope and expect they won't be the last," he tells Axios.
  • "I hope and expect this to be the first domino in a series — that's really what the CO2 removal market needs," adds Friedmann, who also is CEO of the firm Carbon Wrangler.
  • Stripe "is the first tech company I've seen talk publicly about going beyond net zero emissions to achieve net 'negative' emissions in order to be a climate leader," says Noah Deich, executive director of the group Carbon180, via Twitter.

One level deeper: I asked Deich about whether a $1 million annual commitment really matters. His reply...

  • "[I]t's roughly the commitment I would expect a software company of Stripe's size and emissions profile to pay for voluntary offsets today."
  • He calls it a "great start" that will "make a difference" in the nascent space, while noting it's still a drop in the bucket in terms of what's needed to drive down technology costs.

The bottom line: "If every tech company over $1 billion in valuation joined Stripe at this $1 million/year level, it would make an enormous difference in the pace of negative emissions technology innovation and development," Deich says.

Go deeper ... Earth’s climate-change liposuction: Sucking carbon from the air

Go deeper

Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Early voting in Austin earlier this month. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
4 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.