Alphabet, Meta, Stripe, Shopify, McKinsey Launch $925M Carbon Removal Effort

Frontier Carbon Removal

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Apr 13, 2022

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Frontier Carbon Removal

(Credit: Pixabay)

A group of businesses including the parent companies of Google and Facebook is investing $925 million over the next nine years to purchase permanent carbon removal as well as develop and advance technologies for the process.

Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta and McKinsey Sustainability are launching Frontier, an advance market commitment (AMC), to advance permanent carbon removal. The companies say the program aims to show researchers and investors there is a demand for a carbon removal market.

Frontier is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stripe and also will be funded by the thousands of businesses that purchase carbon removal from Stripe Climate. This makes Frontier the world’s largest coalition of carbon removal purchasers by funding and membership, according to the group.

The AMC will facilitate carbon removal purchases by helping early-stage carbon removal suppliers piloting new technologies with low-volume pre-purchased agreements. The program will also help more advanced suppliers with scaling their technologies and facilitate agreements between buyers and suppliers.

The latter effort will enable the purchase of tons of future carbon removal and when they are delivered help suppliers secure financing for their deployments, according to the AMC.

Frontier will identify technologies with the best long-term potential and will help advance them through purchases as well as supporting the efforts. Frontier says this will likely mean paying initial higher prices per ton to accelerate those technologies.

The organization intends to find technologies that will store carbon for more than 1,000 years, take advantage of carbon sinks less constrained by arable land, will eventually be affordable at less than $100 a ton, have a large capacity, and ensure meaningful environmental justice outcomes.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says removing gigatons of carbon already present in the atmosphere and in oceans is necessary to reach international climate goals. As of 2021, fewer than 10,000 tons of carbon have been permanently removed from the atmosphere from these kinds of technologies and McKinsey Sustainability says the amount of carbon removal needed by 2025 to reach IPCC goals will miss by 80%.

The IPCC says an average of 6 billion tons of annual carbon removal by 2050 is needed to hit the 1.5-degree Celsius target of the Paris climate agreement. The United States has listed carbon removal as a piece of its goal to reach net zero by 2050.

Among the founders of Frontier, Stripe first committed to carbon removal in 2019 with a $1 million commitment and its Stripe Climate program currently has a $15 million commitment to purchase carbon removal from 14 companies in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Shopify has also purchased more than 39,000 tons of permanent carbon removal.

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