Tech giants launch carbon removal fund

Tech companies Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, with consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, have launched a new fund targeting carbon removal startups.

The Frontier Fund will see the companies jointly investing $925m from now until 2030 to buy offsets from fledging carbon removal firms. Existing technologies, such as trees, are effective, but this 50-million-year-old technology might not be enough, even with a determined reforestation programme.

The fund is owned by payment company Stripe. But the other investors read like a list of the well-funded, influential and technologically aware. It is a predictable outcome that current measures to curb carbon will not be able to avert climate change without some methods of also extracting existing carbon from the air and storing it.

Frontier plans to place a per tonne captured fee and then make a commitment to deliver this as offset, allowing for upfront funding of the startups. As the technologies are not yet fully realised, this is something of a gamble as the price to pulling carbon from the atmosphere can vary considerably, but the Fund believes that by backing multiple solutions it will find enough capacity to deliver.

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