Google Leads the Way in DOE’s Carbon Removal Challenge with $35M Commitment

"DOE Takes Action on Climate Change with $35 Million Carbon Removal Credits Purchase Program, Google Leads the Way"

Amidst growing concerns over climate change, the Department of Energy (DOE) is taking proactive steps to expedite the deployment of carbon dioxide removal technologies. In a groundbreaking move, the Department has allocated $35 million towards purchasing carbon removal credits through its Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase program. Notably, Google has stepped up as the first company to match the DOE’s commitment, signaling a significant collaboration in the fight against climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report emphasized the necessity of scaling up carbon dioxide removal methods to limit global warming to 1.5°C. However, it also highlighted that the majority of existing removal solutions are still in their early stages and limited in scale. In response to this challenge, the DOE launched the Carbon Negative Shot initiative in 2021. This initiative aims to drive innovation across various CO2 removal pathways, including Direct Air Capture (DAC), soil carbon sequestration, ocean-based CO2 removal, and reforestation.

The direct air capture sector has recently seen significant progress, with companies like CarbonCapture securing $80 million in Series A funding and Climeworks establishing its US headquarters in Austin, Texas. The DOE’s objective is to enable carbon capture and storage at gigaton scales for less than $100 per net metric ton of CO2e by 2032. In a bid to further support commercial carbon dioxide removal companies, the DOE announced the Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize, making $35 million available for purchasing carbon removal credits.

The substantial investments made by companies and collectives in carbon removal underscore the growing importance of integrating these efforts into climate strategies. As more organizations commit to net zero targets, the role of carbon removal becomes increasingly critical. Technological advancements have made carbon removal projects more accessible and verifiable, but the challenge remains in encouraging more organizations to invest in voluntary carbon removal credits.

Expanding its reach to engage other companies and organizations, the DOE introduced the Voluntary Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchasing Challenge. This initiative calls for organizations to publicly commit to larger purchase commitments akin to the DOE’s $35 million carbon removal purchase pilot. Unlike the Pilot Prize, the Challenge does not involve additional federal funds but aims to foster greater participation in carbon removal efforts through market transparency and recognition of the importance of carbon removal credits.

To facilitate larger carbon removal purchases, the DOE is providing support materials for buyers while assisting CDR credit suppliers in connecting with more customers. The establishment of DAC hubs in Texas and Louisiana, led by various organizations and technology developers, further demonstrates the DOE’s commitment to advancing carbon removal technologies. Google has emerged as a frontrunner in this endeavor, matching the DOE’s $35 million commitment and pledging to contract for at least $35 million worth of carbon removal credits over the next year.

Google’s participation in the DOE’s challenge underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in commercializing carbon removal solutions. The tech giant’s focus on reducing emissions across its operations and value chain aligns with its broader commitment to addressing global climate change through diverse approaches, including carbon removal. Google’s involvement in initiatives like Frontier and the First Movers Coalition highlights its dedication to driving innovation in the climate technology sector.

The decision by Google to lead the charge in purchasing carbon removal credits has set a precedent for other tech giants to follow suit. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft have already been actively investing in carbon credits, signaling a growing momentum in the industry. The DOE aims to continue promoting similar collaborations to accelerate the development of high-quality and affordable carbon removal technologies in line with climate goals.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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