Frontiers in Climate collaborates with global technology company Stripe on new article collection

Frontiers in Climate’s new Research Topic in collaboration with Stripe is uniting industry stakeholders to upscale negative emission goals.

By Aaron Benjamin, Journal Specialist at Frontiers

Specialty Chief Editors Jen Wilcox and Phil Renforth of Frontiers in Climate’s Negative Emission Technology section, alongside Noah Deich (Carbon180), Gregory Dipple (University of British Columbia) and Keith Paustian (Colorado State University) have teamed up with Stripe’s Ryan Orbuch to launch a truly unique article collection.

Scaling-Up Negative Emissions: The Power of Leveraging Policy, Philanthropy, Purchasing and Investment aims to answer the big question: what needs to be done to make our negative emission efforts mappable on a global scale?

To gain a better perspective on what is needed to push the needle on scaling up these technologies, we asked Jen Wilcox, Phil Renforth and Ryan Orbuch to detail why the collaboration on this collection is so important. 

This Research Topic will comprise a series of perspective articles from companies in the field, the authors of which are “passionate and forward thinking and have been working with carbon removal strategies for over a decade with the early realization that avoiding carbon is no longer enough,” Jen states. Her vision is for the collection “to be an opportunity for all of us to learn from their struggles in the field, and to hear from them first-hand their thoughts on the creative approaches in policy, investment, purchasing, and philanthropy and what it will take to move this field forward.”

While Stripe does not work in negative emissions, the company is a prime example of how businesses can lead the way in supporting the growing field of carbon removal through their climate strategies. Ryan, representing Stripe, describes how “the large capital requirements and the nascent state of technology means there is currently no large, consistent market for carbon removal.” However, with its  ‘Negative Emission Commitment’, Stripe has committed to purchasing at least $1m worth of  negative emissions per year from companies working on promising new approaches. This year, with scientific advice from experts including Jen, Phil and Carbon180, Stripe purchased from Climeworks, CarbonCure, Project Vesta, and Charm Industrial, all of which we hope to feature in this collection.

In order to prevent 2oC warming by 2100, negative emission technologies will need to lock away 20Gt of CO2 per year by the time we reach 2050. A gigantic effort indeed when you learn that for all our efforts, we currently pull a mere 0.001Gt every year. After asking Jen where we should focus our efforts, she was clear that government incentives and structures are needed to make the deployment and adoption of negative emissions possible for all sectors, and without them industry and consumers will struggle to afford them.

Orbuch agrees that affordability is a large thorn in the side of progress. But Stripe believes that private purchasers can have an outsized impact on making these technologies more affordable in the long run by encouraging further investment: “By demonstrating demand for permanent negative emissions, we hope to push these technologies down the learning curve,” he explains. The goal, he says, is “a world of gigaton-scale, sub-$100/ton, permanent and safe negative emissions technologies.” Throughout history, collaboration has always proved to be effective in solving global issues. Our ever worrying and increasingly threatening emission problem hangs over us like a slow-burning headache and now more than ever, innovation itself and innovations in collaboration have never been more important. As our governments scramble to implement strategies to lower their carbon emissions, perhaps attention will shift towards this groundswell of unique companies who may hold the catalytic key in driving scalability by utilizing their biggest trump cards: influencing purchasing power and consumer demand. This collection will investigate what they will need to succeed.

“Any technology operating at a global scale will be limited geophysically by Earth’s planetary boundaries, by what might be technically or financially feasible, or by social or political acceptability”

Renforth and Wilcox, 2019

Scaling-Up Negative Emissions: The Power of Leveraging Policy, Philanthropy, Purchasing and Investment is open for submissions now.  For more details on how to submit a perspective article, visit the collections homepage.

The beneficiaries of Article Processing Charge fee support provided by Stripe will be at the discretion of Frontiers in agreement with the Topic Editors.

If you would like to lead your own article collection or sponsor a similar project, email us or visit our website. You can also follow us on Twitter @FrontSustain for all the latest news and research from our sustainability journals.

Jen Wilcox is at ‎the University of Pennsylvania
Phil Renforth is at Heriot-Watt University