The case for funding carbon removal
Carbon removal is critical to counteract climate change
To prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change, we should aim to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, which corresponds to reducing global annual CO₂ emissions from about 40 gigatons per year as of 2018, to net zero by 2050.
To accomplish this, the world will likely need to both radically reduce the new emissions we put into the air, and remove carbon already in the atmosphere.
Historical emissions via Global Carbon Project, "Current path" shows SSP4-6.0, removal pathways adapted from CICERO. For simplicity this chart only shows CO₂, though the modeled scenarios account for other greenhouse gas emissions, all of which will need to be reduced.
However, carbon removal is behind
Existing carbon removal solutions such as reforestation and soil carbon sequestration are important, but they alone are unlikely to scale to the size of the problem. New carbon removal technologies need to be developed—ones that have the potential to be high volume and low cost by 2050—even if they aren’t yet mature.
Today, carbon removal solutions face a chicken-and-egg problem. As early technologies, they’re more expensive, so don’t attract a critical mass of customers. But without wider adoption, they can’t scale production to become cheaper.
Early adopters can change the course of carbon removal
Early purchasers can help new carbon removal technologies get down the cost curve and up the volume curve. Experience with manufacturing learning and experience curves has shown repeatedly that deployment and scale beget improvement, a phenomenon seen across DNA sequencing, hard drive capacity, and solar panels.
This thinking shaped our initial commitment and first purchases. If a broad coalition of like-minded buyers commits substantial investment, we’re optimistic that we can shift the trajectory of the industry and increase the likelihood the world has the portfolio of solutions needed.
Get answers to common questions about Stripe Climate.