Climework's solution is part of Microsoft's plan to reach negative emissions

News | 29.01.2021

A significant step in the race against climate change

Climeworks is thrilled that its carbon dioxide removal solution has been selected as part of Microsoft’s carbon removal portfolio to help reach negative emissions by 2030 and remove the company’s historic emissions by 2050.

In addition to emissions reduction efforts, which prevent new CO₂ from entering the atmosphere, climate scientists agree that removing historic and unavoidable emissions from air is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Businesses play a key role in the mitigation of global warming and are starting to address their current, past and unavoidable carbon emissions. Microsoft’s commitments are a core example of this: negative emissions by 2030, removal of all historic emissions by 2050. To achieve these goals, Microsoft selected a portfolio of promising negative emissions technologies available today to remove their emissions on top of reducing their emissions. 

Under construction: Orca, Climeworks' new large-scale direct air capture and storage plant

Science-based and scalable

Climeworks’ carbon dioxide removal has been selected in Microsoft’s carbon removal portfolio, after successfully passing an extensive application process. The selection of Climeworks carbon dioxide removal is a recognition of its strong scientific backbone resulting in an effective, safe and permanent storage solution. CO₂ is captured from air in Hellisheiði, Iceland, with Climeworks’ direct air capture technology. Climeworks’ partner Carbfix then mixes the CO₂ with water, pumps it underground and through the process of rapid underground mineralization the CO₂ is stored safely and permanently.

Leading the way towards a net zero economy

This negative emission plan by Microsoft marks an important milestone on the road to addressing climate change and sends a strong signal to other established companies. It inspires those who want to help combat climate change and leverage a science-backed, fully measurable and permanent solution. Thanks to Climeworks’ carbon dioxide removal, businesses can remove their emissions while also helping to scale up a much-needed climate technology. Microsoft formed its carbon removal portfolio by assessing negative emission technology attributes pertaining to specific criteria of net negativity, as outlined in its white paper.

Why negative emissions?

In order to achieve negative emissions, we need to remove more CO₂ from the air than we emit. Leading scientific studies indicate that by mid-century 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide will need to be removed from the air every year to keep global warming in the line of the limits of the Paris Agreement. There are two basic approaches: natural climate solutions and negative emissions technologies. Climate scenarios that limit global warming to 1.5°C rely on large-scale applications of carbon removal technologies. Climeworks’ direct air capture and storage is a scalable solution that can remove CO₂ from the air in a permanent and measurable way.

Key take aways   

  • Climeworks’ carbon dioxide removal service enables companies, organizations and individuals to remove past, present and future CO₂ emissions permanently from the air.
  • The commitment by Microsoft is an important milestone in the fight against climate change. Climeworks hopes it will inspire many other established businesses and institutions to follow suit and remove a part of their emissions from the air to achieve negative emissions.
  • In addition, Microsoft will provide funding through its Climate Innovation Fund for Climeworks’ first-of-a-kind commercial-scale, fully renewable direct air capture and storage plant in Iceland.

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