Picking up the responsibility to check the growing carbon footprint, US Big Tech companies including Meta (formerly Facebook), Alphabet (Google's parent company), Stripe, Shopify, and McKinsey have announced to shell out $925 million to purchase captured carbon and help save the Earth.
Funded by Big Tech and tens of thousands of businesses using Stripe Climate, Frontier is an advanced market commitment to buy an initial $925 million of permanent carbon removal between 2022 and 2030. Frontier aims to accelerate the development of carbon removal technologies by guaranteeing future demand for them.
While carbon removal has made significant progress over the past few years, it's still not at all on track to get to the required scale. As of 2021, less than 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide had been permanently removed from the atmosphere by new technologies – 1 million times short of the annual scale needed.
“The goal is to send a strong demand signal to researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors that there is a growing market for these technologies. Importantly, Frontier aims to help create net new carbon removal supply rather than compete over what exists today,” Frontier said in a statement.
Over time, it plans to open to new buyers to further increase demand and spur new supply. The concept of an AMC is borrowed from vaccine development and was piloted a decade ago.
The first AMC accelerated the development of pneumococcal vaccines for low-income countries, saving an estimated 700,000 lives. “While the market dynamics of carbon removal and vaccines are not identical, they face similar challenges: uncertainty about long-term demand and unproven technologies.
AMCs have the power to send a strong and immediate demand signal without picking winning technologies at the start,” Frontier said.
Frontier is wholly owned by Stripe, while the other companies are providing initial funding. Stripe initially committed to spending $1 million a year to take CO2 out of the air in 2019.
“Buyers decide how much they want to spend on carbon removal each year between 2022 and 2030. Frontier aggregates commitments to set a total annual demand pool. Suppliers apply for consideration as part of regular RFP processes,” the group emphasised.