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A united front: nature and technology join forces to address climate change

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Addressing climate change demands a comprehensive approach that leverages every available tool. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized, “Our world needs climate action on all fronts—everything, everywhere, all at once.” This message was underscored today as Climeworks co-CEO Christoph Gebald and Pachama CEO Diego Saez Gil shared a stage at the Carbon Removal Summit in Zurich.

While both organizations develop solutions to address climate change, they employ distinct yet complementary strategies. Pachama champions nature-based solutions, focusing on forest conservation and restoration projects. Climeworks, on the other hand, is at the forefront of engineered solutions, developing innovative technologies for direct air capture (DAC) and permanent CO2 storage.

The world needs both nature-based and engineered solutions to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Embracing both solutions isn’t just imperative but also prudent for businesses committed to climate action. Adopting these dual approaches enables companies to have immediate impact and enduring sustainability, while also mitigating risk and catalyzing a much larger carbon market in which all companies can participate. 

Why we need both nature-based and engineered climate solutions

Time is of the essence. The most crucial action companies must undertake in the coming decades is reducing their reliance on fossil fuels. According to the Exponential Roadmap Initiative’s “carbon law,” global emissions need to halve by 2030 and halve again by 2040. But this transition takes time, and we need to act today. Along the way, the most ambitious climate leaders are taking responsibility for their remaining emissions by investing in high-quality carbon credits.

Nature-based solutions, such as reforestation and conservation, are vital tools in combating climate change today. They are one of the most proven and cost-effective carbon sinks, delivering benefits that extend well-beyond carbon. When done well, they foster biodiversity, restore ecosystems, and provide sustainable livelihoods to the communities that need them most. 

However, looking towards 2050, even with significant decarbonization and restoration of our natural carbon sinks, high levels of CO2e will continue to persist in the atmosphere. This is where engineered solutions, like Climeworks’ DAC technology, come in. By actively removing existing carbon from the atmosphere, DAC offers an important additional long-term solution for achieving net-zero emissions. To be effective, these technologies must scale rapidly, necessitating early-stage investment.

Why diverse portfolios are resilient portfolios

A diversified portfolio is key for any investment strategy, and particularly important when it comes to carbon credits. Though both nature-based and engineered solutions can offer incredible upside, neither is without risk. For nature, risk may come in the form of shifting political landscapes, severe weather, and even rogue cows eating newly-planted seedlings. For engineered solutions, many technologies are still in their early days and require ongoing development and testing to understand their impact at scale.

From a budgetary perspective, a blended portfolio also makes sense. Engineered solutions may cost hundreds per ton today with declining cost curves, while high-quality NBS projects can range from $15-100/ton and will likely see an increase in prices as projects evolve to meet a higher quality bar.

Hear how experts are building long-term portfolios

Watch our recent conversation with Shopify and Mercado Libre as they discuss strategy, contracting and the technology fueling their long-term credit portfolios.

We’ve also found that the most ambitious climate leaders want to go beyond taking accountability for their own impact, extending their investment to reach beyond their walls to scale a high-integrity carbon market.

It’s not enough to build a balanced mix of these solution types. The most resilient and impactful portfolios are harnessing the latest advancements in technology: like remote sensing-based dynamic baselines and Climeworks’ highly efficient direct air capture and storage. By supporting these innovations today, ambitious climate leaders can extend their impact, going beyond taking responsibility for their own emissions to meaningfully scale a high-integrity carbon market that any company can participate in.

The Road Ahead: A United Front for a Sustainable Future

We are in a pivotal decade where driving climate action across all fronts is imperative. Together, we can activate effective solutions everywhere, all at once. Let’s take action wisely and intentionally to invest in a sustainable, regenerative future.


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