Microsoft and Climeworks sign an agreement to eliminate carbon dioxide

Microsoft just made a major commitment to suck carbon out of the sky. The company has signed a 10-year agreement with Swiss direct air capture company Climeworks as part of its carbon dioxide removal portfolio.

Over the next decade, Climeworks will remove 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on behalf of the tech giant. This is the largest and longest agreement that Microsoft has entered into with a CDR vendor.

“Long-term commitments like this multi-year agreement are crucial to moving the [direct air capture] because guaranteed demand catalyzes the funding of our infrastructure and consequently accelerates the development of the ecosystem required for scaling DAC,” said Climeworks co-founder and co-CEO Christoph Gebald in a press release announcing the agreement.

The companies did not disclose how much Microsoft – which is an investor in Climeworks – spent on the deal. In January 2021, Microsoft made a small purchase of Climeworks carbon removal services as part of its larger portfolio to extract carbon from the air.

In 2020, Microsoft pledged to reach carbon negativity by 2030 as part of its climate plan. To do this, it aims to reduce its emissions each year of this decade while increasing CDR purchases. It aims to eliminate millions of tons of carbon dioxide each year during this decade. By 2050, the company plans to eliminate all carbon emitted since its inception in the 1970s. While the Climeworks deal is significant, it still represents only a fraction of Microsoft’s ultimate vision to extract the carbon from the sky. (The company also saw its emissions increase in 2021, reflecting the challenges it faces in not putting carbon into the atmosphere in the first place.)

Tech companies are increasingly investing in CDR and trying to create a market for the fledgling industry. The Microsoft deal comes just months after the company joined Alphabet and Salesforce to commit $500 million to carbon-free purchases by 2030. Earlier this year, Alphabet, McKinsey, Meta, Shopify and Stripe created a $925 million market commitment to accelerate development. carbon removal technologies. This engagement, dubbed Frontier, recently made its first purchase.

These technologies are a “necessary element” to reduce the risks of climate change, according to the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Ultimately, the world may need to remove billions of tons of carbon each year to limit global warming to relatively safe levels. However, the number of billions will depend on how quickly we reduce emissions.

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