Microsoft Azure: Microsoft teams up with Climeworks

Jul 18, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Microsoft has announced that its partnership with carbon removal specialists Climeworks is expanding with a new 10-year carbon removal offtake agreement. The new deal will make it Microsoft's first-ever long-term carbon removal supplier and is one of the largest direct air capture (DAC) deals to date. Through the deal, over the next decade, the Swiss company will remove 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the tech giant.

The way in which the company will achieve this CO₂  removal is by pulling it from the air and turning it into stone through rapid mineralization - this is a natural occurrence where the CO₂ reacts with basalt rock.

Speaking about the deal just inked, Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft, commented: "Microsoft's multi-year offtake agreement with Climeworks is an important step towards realizing the 'net' in net zero. Our experience in purchasing renewable energy shows that long-term agreements can provide an essential foundation for society's race to scale new decarbonization technologies."

Adding: "Paired with Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund investment in Climeworks' direct air capture plant, this agreement with Climeworks can help kickstart the commercial and technical progress in a nascent but crucial industry to achieve IPCC targets."

Christoph Gebald, co-CEO and co-founder of Climeworks, said: "We are thrilled to sign our second carbon removal contract with Microsoft and work together in the long run. Long-term commitments like this multi-year agreement are crucial for scaling the DAC industry because the guaranteed demand catalyzes financing of our infrastructure and consequently accelerates the development of the required ecosystem for scaling DAC."

This kind of climate technology is not without its critics, though, and a report from Friends of the Earth Scotland and Global Witness last year outlined: "The technology still faces many barriers, would only start to deliver too late, would have to be deployed on a massive scale at a scarcely credible rate and has a history of over-promising and under-delivering." This point is undeniable considering that the scale that these operations are able to work at, and the amount of CO₂  they are able to remove, is negligible when considering that in 2021 alone, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions reached 36.3 billion tonnes. In this light, 10,000 tons is just a drop in the ocean. The report went on to call CCS a "distraction" from the "growth of renewable energy, storage and energy efficiency that will be critical to rapidly reducing emissions over the next decade."

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