|It’s Friday, September 3, and a Swiss company signed a landmark deal to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere.|
Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies, announced a first-of-its-kind deal last week to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The reinsurance giant will pay the Swiss carbon tech company Climeworks $10 million to remove an unspecified amount of CO2 from the air over the next 10 years.
According to Climeworks, the deal is the world’s largest carbon removal purchase ever. The company uses direct air capture technology to suck CO2 out of the air in Iceland and store it deep underground. It uses only renewable energy to power its carbon capture machines, which basically look like giant fans. (Disclosure: Climeworks is an advertiser with Grist. Advertisers have no role in Grist’s editorial decisions.)
According to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released last month, humans will have to remove somewhere between 100 billion and a trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide by the end of the century to preserve a livable planet. Currently, the world only has the technological capacity to remove around 5,000 metric tons a year.
Swiss Re has already vowed to go carbon neutral by 2030, and the reinsurance giant said the deal would help reach that goal and inspire other corporations to do the same. “[T]he world needs to scale-up carbon removal on top of, not instead of emission reductions,” Christian Mumenthaler, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.
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