I changed my mind about carbon markets
August 11, 2021
One of my favorite questions is “What have you changed your mind about in the last year?” In a fast growing industry this question is tool to cut loose from assumptions and keep moving. I asked this to Liz, Shuchi, and Julio at the VERGE Net Zero conference, and here's my own answer:
What I changed my mind about: Carbon removal credits (video version of this note here)
What I used to think
- We need to get to large scale carbon removal, but a carbon tax or carbon removal credits are a non-starter.
- Because of that, I went all in on carbon utilization. Better, faster, stronger products are the only ones that have potential
- Everything carbon removal markets related, as needed as it seemed, just seemed impossible. Governments wouldn't fund it, corporations wouldn't fund it.
- Governments started funding carbon removal: DOE/ARPA-E investing millions, $3.2B proposed in USA Infrastructure bill
- Corporations started buying carbon removal (Microsoft, Stripe, Shopify, South Pole + Mitsubishi aiming towards $1B)
Now I think
- Carbon markets are where the funding is going for early startup companies
- Are the millions going into carbon removal credits going to prop up gigaton scale carbon removal? Certainly not, but it's a good start.
- A carbon tax still seems unlikely, but not impossible, and may be our best avenue to reach large scale carbon removal
- Making stuff out of carbon dioxide is no longer the only option for startup business models
That's what I changed my mind about in last year. Taking a holistic view to figuring out how to take carbon out of the atmosphere, and adjusting what I think as the market develops.
What have you changed your mind about in the last year?
GET EMAIL UPDATES
I write this weekly newsletter highlighting my journey, sharing everything you should know about opportunities in the new carbon economy.
Every week you’ll get insider information on what’s possible in the cutting edge of negative emissions through my personal journey creating an air mining company, and share lessons learned.
My newsletter is the best way to follow what I'm up to.