I can honestly say that no company the size of Stripe has even come close to being this "cool" (in a good way, not in a superficial sense) on so many things: company culture, remote-ok, perks, and now environment. At least from my point of view.
Kudos. Lots of kudos. Keep the good work, guys.
As a side note: I personally think that the way we look at environment and impact is plainly wrong. E.g. it is much more effective to plant trees (called "afforestation") rather than sequester CO2. Here's some old but decent sources , . Can't find a proper source, but afforestation, when done together with habitat restoration, can be even cheaper than these numbers, when done in certain areas of Africa, South America and Central Asia.
If Stripe wants to go the proverbial extra mile, it should consider "educating" people on the subject AND take consequent action, as opposed to "just" taking action following conventional wisdom.
: https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr888.pdf (afforestation "price" starting at ~$50/ton)
No one is saying don't plant trees. Fuck yeah, plant all the trees! But that won't wont be enough. Sequestration will get better, but one of the big things it helps with is locality. CO2 isn't homogenously spread across the globe. It also doesn't spread very well. Concentrations vary drastically over the year and so do plants' ability to capture carbon. Carbon can build up in certain regions. Worse, it can pool where we can't grow trees . Places where we can't get enough water to introduce new populations of trees (without significant carbon costs, defeating the purpose. Also the local ecosystem) Cities. The Arctic. The ocean. I'm all for planting trees (even beyond CO2, I just feel better around trees) but people need to stop making the trees vs sequestration argument. It's trees + sequestration (air and ocean) + promoting corral development + more. (This same argument applies to a lot of things, especially in climate. It's not a "this vs that" argument, it's "this PLUS that".
(Or, in some interesting experiments, even before emission; there's work on splitting methane from natural gas into carbon and hydrogen and just burning the hydrogen. Gets you something like 66% of the energy of burning the methane completely, and with no CO2 emissions.)
It's just that most of the time, resulting CO2 is just released instead of being stored. But that is changing, fast.
The percentage of carbon captured is also damn near 100% - quite a bit better than gaseous carbon capture techniques I've heard of.
You do leave quite a lot of energy on the table (losing somewhere between 30% and 50%), so this is a technology that is only economically viable with high emissions pricing. But that seems like the way Europe is going anyway.
And yes, SMR is the proven and clearly superior technology right now; I'd call this TRL 4/5 right now. But with another decade of development?
Global graphite production from mining is at 1 megatonne/year, while synthetic is a few hundred kilotonnes/year. We need CCS to operate at tens of gigatonnes per year, that's four orders of magnitude beyond all the graphite the world needs.
This is the problem with anything CCU - there just aren't viable options with consumption at the gigatonne scale.
I can offset my footprint for 800$/year and I think it's going to be my New Years resolution. No more carbon from me.
Finding land and planning trees for it should be a global business. There are a lot of people like me with disposable income that would invest in something like that.
Remember that planting trees only work if you have the guarantee that in the future these trees will not be burned. Also, some natural decomposition also emits CO2
Planting trees can delay/slow down climate change. What happens in a decade when planting trees does not scale anymore and we've kept increasing our emissions in the same time?
There are a lot of technology promises on the horizon that will hopefully solve the next inflection point, but that's not my climate crisis, it will be the next generation. Hopefully by then the human race will have developed fusion or other energy technologies.
That video was just awful. It's only redeeming feature was that it was short. Here's what he got wrong:
1. The mass of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 3E+12 tonnes (not tons). Around a third of that is additional from humans, so around 1E+12 (cf trillionthton.org - they were a bit optimistic). That's pretty close to what he had, only out by a factor of 2, but purely by chance (there's a fair bit of that).
2. He rounded down the population, so the figure of 130 tonnes per person is again, pretty close.
3. The 0.33 tonnes per year from just breathing is beyond stupid. Unless you're drinking gasoline and eating coal, then all the CO2 you breathe out came from the atmosphere in the first place. It came from growing plants. This is just lazy and ignorant. It's not like he even uses this figure anyway.
4. Typical per-capita CO2 is not "10-ish tonnes per year" for a developed country. That's the high end. The UK is hardly a shining beacon of green policy, and even it is at 6.5 tonnes per year. What's more, we're trying to improve on that. 5 tonnes per year is closer to what the average person can easily manage without sacrificing anything.
5. Not all CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere. A large part are absorbed by the oceans (hence ocean acidification). He should know this.
6. Great, now we've got the bizarre rectangular tree. Was the volume of a cylinder too much work to look up? Anyway, it's actually oddly difficult to get the total mass of a tree (not that he tried), because lumber yards tend to only care about the trunk. I found a site that gave a complete measurement of an oak, including canopy and roots. It came out to around 20 tons, around 10 tons dry biomass, giving around 5 tonnes carbon.
7. Carbon. Not CO2. Multiply by 44/12 to get the CO2 required. That's 18 tonnes CO2 per tree. Let's drop that down to 10 and say we have small trees.
8. Wait, what? He didn't even use the volume. He just guessed 1 tonne C02 per tree!
9. When trees die, they leave a gap in the forest and new trees grow. How else would forests last for thousands of years? Once you've planted the trees they will replace themselves. What's more, the wood could be used for building or furniture which means it will retain the CO2 even longer. What's even more, giving ourselves a hundred years or so breathing space while we reduce and reverse emmissions is absolutely worth it.
Huh, I didn't mean to type so much but there was so much wrong with that video that I just kept going.
In this way a stand of small trees becomes a much-less-dense stand of very large mature trees.
Don't know how it affects the analysis - is a mature forest more carbon-dense than a newly-planted one?
And, of course, if it's used for forestry, the trees will be continually removed and new ones planted.
We need profitable enterprises focused on this large global problem! I think the tides are starting to shift and would love to see the smartest minds of our generation focused on this issue!
My personal emissions going forward are likely to be way lower than previous years simply due to awareness.
For example, cheap flights used frequently are a ridiculous luxury we cannot afford. I know lots of people that use budget airlines more than once per month to make weekend trips across Europe.
The amount of CO2 they are putting into the atmosphere is simply insane. A bit more than doing the same trip by car, for each passenger.
It just happens to be politically impossible.
Edit, of course, politically yes it's hard.
Planet Money had an episode about "revenue-neutral carbon tax", where all the money collected is returned back to the tax payers, to spend however they want.
The point of this tax is not to raise money, but to change behavior. This, a family that drives to work and school every day will pay more carbon tax, but this will be offset by the tax refund (or lower income tax). And a family that finds ways to reduce their carbon footprint will benefit from the tax refund and able to spend it on other things.
WA state had a carbon tax initiative but the revenues went to environmental efforts, and it failed. I think if it were made revenue-neutral, or heck, even made as an overall tax-cut to please the fiscal conservatives, I think it would pass (although it would face pushback from environmentally minded about not doing enough).
I like it a lot, but the problem is the major industries that will be heavily impacted/closed down as a result. They have immense political power, and I don't see any way around that. Hope I'm wrong.
And that's of course just one country out of 200. There is no local solution to global warming!
You have to keep in mind that even if it’s revenue neutral, explaining the scheme to taxpayers is going to be difficult, and your opponents are going to try their darndest to make it sound unappealing, even if it means spreading misinformation.
A carbon tax is my top priority. There’s no sense denying the opposition though. The yellow vest protests in france were from a fuel tax.
Honestly, this is a problem with a lot of technologies. Especially in the green sector. That doesn't mean we shouldn't keep funding research into it and trying to make it cheaper, but also a reason to be cautious.
And that's just direct emissions; the emissions of other countries can often be attributed to supplying to the US.
Netflix made had $5.8B in revenue from small $10-20 subscription users!
Today, for $20 a month you can offset your own carbon footprint! This matters because the more resources that goes into fighting climate change allows innovation. Even by generating more demand for carbon credits and offsetting, new businesses can thrive and grow by fighting climate change!
I've been super obsessed with https://projectwren.com (YC S19) for these exact reason!
Sorry to be paranoid, but most startups (uber, airbnb, paypal, not to mention facebook ...) are evil and exploitative.
Finally, we just started two months ago and have not sold user information to ad companies nor do we ever plan to. That sounds like an evil and unnecessary way to go about not accomplishing our mission.
Short summary: There is no free lunch. Almost everything is expensive, natural systems (afforestation and land use change) are cheaper but more variable. The cheapest negative emission technology is not to emit in the first place.
What I don't know is where I can find out which trees are particularly suited for carbon capture. From what I've read, fast growing trees will capture carbon quickly, but only if you harvest them, prevent rotting of the wood, and replanting a new crop.
Slow growth trees will store more carbon, but it takes a longer time for it to accomplish it.
I suppose it's like one of those "Good, Fast, Cheap - Pick two" situations. Is it better to capture a lot of carbon quickly to help the planet ASAP, or to kick-off the planting of trees that will capture carbon for the next 300 years?
Even when that's decided, how do I pick which trees aren't just suited for my area (relatively easily with native tree guides), but also well-suited for carbon capture and survival in an increasingly chaotic climate and ecosystem?
Forests used to be real carbon sinks meaning that trees would just die without decomposing, because life hasn't figured out yet how to decompose it. This is how coal was formed around the globe.
Maybe some better technology to sequester CO2 emerges. But planting trees is a good approach for the start. If we want to slow down climate change, the CO2 sequestration industry will have to become huge within the next decades.
Even if the trees die or are cut down, as long as new ones are allowed to grow, that area will absorb roughly constant amount of CO2.
Now, if we can harvest some trees regularly, and use them to replace plastics or fossil fuels, then that's a win for the environment even if those harvested trees end up releasing their CO2 back to the atmosphere, because we didn't introduce any _more_ CO2, we just recycled what we already have.
If you think it will be over, or at least completely unrecognizable, in 50 years your - in itself valid - concern doesn't matter.
If I imagine people 50 or 100 years ago trying to plan to solve our problems in 2019, knowing what they did then, I don't think they could have accomplished much of anything of substance, even with the best intentions and the commitment of huge resources.
* “almost certainly more” than 84% of stripe’s emissions will not be sequestered because it’s “financially infeasible”
* no mention of stripe’s actual carbon footprint
* talk of startups and trillion dollar industry “by the end of the century” but no mention of government intervention / green new deal to turn the tide in the next decade before it’s too late
Verdict: free market ideologues are not ever going to be leaders on climate. We need massive mobilization at the federal level to hit the necessary emissions reductions within the next 12 years if we are to avoid a catastrophic rise in temperature.
>As part of Stripe’s environmental program, we fully offset our greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing verified carbon offsets.
The sequestration is in addition to those offsets. They’re trying to advance sequestration technology by boosting demand. They’ll be offsetting and sequestering more than 100% of their emissions. The excess cost referred to sequestration, not offsets.
Government has done basically nothing for 30 years. I really, really want governments to take it seriously, tax carbon, etc. but I welcome private companies stepping in to try things too.
"Private companies trying things" is fine but as we can see from the reactions to this press release that the standard for private companies trying things is incredibly low and nowhere near what's required to hit the IPCC targets.
We agree on one thing though: government has not done nearly enough historically. Of course much worse could be said for industry, the primary source of CO2 emission (along with the military) and fundamentally incentivized to exploit externalized costs and pollute our planet.
That doesn’t really make sense IMHO, global warming isn’t a US problem, it’s a worldwide issue. Let’s say the US becomes a benevolent dictatorship with the mission to reduce CO2 emissions by any mean necessary (and is somehow successful), you still have the global problem. And then what, do you go to war against other countries?
This “but we can’t fix it all alone, it’s a global issue” thinking mode has to go. All contributions are important in reducing the speed of warming, whether your neighbour participates or not.
Interestingly, the longer you wait, the more you can expect people with more extreme agendas to pop up around the globe because they will see the point in coercion to save the world. Early investment at a massive scale is worth it.
Ok, why? It is a global issue, that’s not something we can ignore. You can change your way of thinking if you want, but I don’t see why you would ignore that point. I find it disingenuous to say “if the US government doesn’t do X in 12 years then we are doomed”, because it’s not true. Of course I’m not saying that nothing should be done, and I never said it cannot be fixed (or dealt with), that’s just you putting words in my mouth. But the US government has a terrible history at dealing with other countries, and creating a giant mess all around. Just imagine Trump deciding to focus on climate issues, I cannot see how that wouldn’t result in a complete disaster with international conflicts.
I think that we should keep the framing on the global aspect, and think about it as a common goal.
I don’t disagree with the rest of your comment, I completely support any effort at a local level.
> Carbon-based import tariffs, sanctions, and having a very strong, innovative US clean tech to export/sell its tech to other countries who need but dont have the R&D budget.
Sure, that’s all fine. That’s really not what I would expect from a country that systematically refused to collaborate on climate issues with others, but that would be great.
Join 320+ of us on Slack!
Apply here to join: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12L8drO9a6OZf3-I9578PieBI0fw...
There's also a public meetup group in the Bay Area: https://meetup.com/CarbonRemoval/
this is you: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ABg0c_E7OOI
looking forward to your application once you finish your training.
Do you have any recommendations?
It's true. The same revolution that connected software and biotech is coming to the climate. There's tons of super duper obvious stuff that has yet to be built.
You would probably guess there's a great website for tracking carbon levels in the air. Like that's super basic right?
Well There's not...or at least there wasn't.
This was/is the gold standard: https://www.co2.earth/
Then last year a volunteer team (including me) built
it's open source on Github, you could work on that! It's a bit rough around the edges still. Could use a twitter bot!
You could also check out our index at:
The software is pretty simple right now but we could improve it a lot!
Software related to climate change got stuck in the 90's...and you can break it out! Build cool shit!
Email me with any questions, see profile.
Sorry I would like to type an elaborate response, but I'm on phone for the day.
Today, the technology options are not good. but good options are within sight. As a technologist, let's go make better tech.
Climate change is a technology problem and a marketing problem.
YC's carbon site does a great job marketing for these crucial technologies:
Storage only becomes a problem when a quite significant chunk of the generation is intermittent. But even then, today's batteries are good enough for overnight storage, and for longer term storage we can use power-to-gas processes.
I've been reading a little more about mob-stalked, heavily mobile grazing techniques (rotating cows/buffalo/ruminants daily) which increases the grass productivity per acre, thus capuring more carbon in the grass --> soil. If anyone knows of any resources/studies comparing the carbon sequestration of grasslands, which have incredible biomass cycles over several decades, vs managed forests which do not see the same level of biomass turnover, I would love to see them.
Basically I want to know how much it costs to feel ok about my flights to go skiing.
It costs me $40 a month to offset my own carbon footprint, but I take a lot more flights than the average person.
That's pretty expensive. But at $100 it starts to look a lot more favourable when compared with a personal footprint - 30 tons emitted would be $3K, perfectly achievable for someone who's talking about flying to go skiing.
The mean emissions of those willing to spend 600 EUR/year to offset their travel are going to be at least an order of magnitude higher. You're better off feeling guilty and reducing your travel by 10% (in terms of personal emissions).
I do admit it's tricky, because if everybody is scared off by the true price tag (my lifetime emissions as an Australian would easily be $500k), the technology will never get a chance to get economy of scale and lower prices. That's really what you're paying for when you sign up for the plan.
At $1000 per ton this isn't feasible. At $100 I'd think about it. At $10 it's not a question that I'd buy it.
At $1000 per ton I'd change my air spending habits. At $100 per ton built into the price per flight I would probably take the same trips.
tl;dr: get this price down an order of magnitude and I'm in.
Isn't it better that you/we change your/our air spending habits? I don't believe that we can offset our carbon footprint fast enough with carbon sinks while still maintaing the same levels of carbon emission.
Reality of course is that if there is significant upfront economic costs then very few people are going to buy into the scheme, I think innovation is our best bet and if $100 per ton is a price point where people are in then that's probablly the best pragmatic choice.
However, needless transport seems a great target for emission reduction, we still need to get around, but "commuting" while emitting carbon would seem the easiest way to reduce carbon emissions, we have all the tech we need for that (public transport/remote work/online shopping/ride sharing/EVS/reduced work weeks) just no incentive to change.
What travel reduction we would have would, at that point, pay for the appropriate sequestration.
Honestly, it sounds like we should just require everyone to buy 100% sequestration for their carbon production (priced into the goods and services). Add a phase in over, say 10 years to.
Some items do already expose this information, but it's pretty much all stuff for the eco market.
Though I remember Walkers' crisps doing this ten years back. 80g for a packet of crisps. Or about 3kg CO2 per 1kg crisps. Doesn't include final transportation though.
I agree that the correct solution is to just whack a carbon tax on flights.
It's ideal if people voluntarily reduce - I've committed myself to not flying except in case of family emergency - but ultimately that's not going to solve the problem because it's a tragedy of the commons.
That sounds tolerable to me as a price of saving the planet. Certainly it's not an economy-busting impossibility given that it's in the range that can be reasonably borne by normal middle class individuals.
I think it's incorrect to categorise limiting flying as 'economy busting' in any sense to be frank - what percentage of flights are things like people visiting relatives?
It might be a bit of a shame, but economy busting is surely hyperbolic, it's primarily a leisure activity.
It would be nowhere near that amount. I used a flight estimator which says a return flight from London to Malaga would emit 0.3 tonnes of CO2.
Project Wren charges $10 - $20 per tonne, so it would cost the same as the ticket at most, even including the cut Ryanair inevitably would take. If you take a more normal ticket price, it would be an insignificant extra.
I'd like to think that at $100/ton, or probably before that, we just price it in to flights.
However, I am not 100% convinced morally of CCS solutions. The main counter argument being that CCS technology enables the status quo of fossil fuel burning to continue.
On the other hand, there are some heavy industries (steel production?) that do not have any alternatives to coal burning in order to operate and CCS can offset the carbon footprint in these industries. I would however not call this "negative emissions" but rather "emission-free" or similar.
What is your opinion on CCS? Can people convince me in either direction?
(Carbon isn't the only emission from burning coal -- it contains sulfur and thorium too. But these can also be mitigated with some expense. And if you're converting CO2 directly to fuel, there's no increase in pollution at all.)
If you can remove the carbon again, then it is still a "sin" unless you pay to have your share removed. If it can then be converted to fuel again that is an added bonus.
Of course, this whole process needs to occur at a massive scale because we are releasing so much carbon dioxide and want to remove more than we are currently emitting.
(P.s. I don't like the word "sin" in this context because of the theological connotation it implies, but I hope the message is clear)
are you aware of fracking and tar sands and their environmental impacts? you cannot possibly trivialize those as "digging holes in the ground".
So... let's put off saving the planet because someone has moral qualms? No. This is a legitimate emergency. If we have something that has a net positive impact, we need to do it and stop arguing about it on the internet. Nothing is without tradeoffs, and some are simply going to have to be made. There are no easy solutions. We have seven billion people to feed while we manage to undo all the damage too, remember.
I'm not saying capture solutions are the best choice, mind you. I'm saying that decision needs to be made with numbers and not "morals".
We can't plant enough trees. Nor can we always plant them in the most needed places (North, where carbon accumulates). We can't build even public transport (which is still positive emissions). We can't get everyone to go vegan (which still is positive emissions. Even lab meat won't make negative emissions). We can't stop air travel and shipping without significantly affecting people's lives (including their ability to live, as drugs, equipment, and experts aren't all created locally). We can't get everyone to leave their homes and concentrate into cities.
Even if we could do all that, we'd still be positive. Worse, how do we get every country in the world to do the same? It seems infeasible to me. And it doesn't address the problems like that carbon builds up in certain areas that we just can't even plant trees.
But here's the thing. The argument isn't "planting trees vs CC", it is "trees + CC". Actually it's more! It's about using every available method we have at our disposal. There is nothing wrong with burning carbon actually. The issue is burning so much that we are destroying the plant. Destroying the planet is the issue. If we have negative emissions total (and aren't creating carbon hot zones) then who cares how much we emit? As long as it's captured and doesn't damage the planet.
Leaving CC off the table is like telling a bunch of starving children that they can't have hamburgers because some of them might eat too many and get fat. The concern is completely missing the point of the problem.
My instinct is it could be an extremely important technology for fighting climate change. And while it develops it's important to continue to insist that it doesn't excuse the emissions it might offset.
First, a lot of R&D must be done (for all types of solutions) and the money to fund this can only be spent once. So we need to pre-select some promising ideas (could still be many ideas, but not all ideas).
Second, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. While I am pretty neutral / undecided on nuclear power, some argue that the (potential) problems it brings along are not worth the risk, even if it is a carbon neutral method of power production.
Third, CCS technology disincentiveses investment and R&D into fully renewable energy production (the point made before)
(I would like to emphasize here that I am not arguing about the extent or existence of a climate crisis. I am aware of the literature and agree that immediate action is required to limit carbon emissions)
Eh, renewable energy is getting quite cheap. If you add the costs of CCS into fossil fuel, I think you'll still have plenty of incentives to invest on renewables, and to use fossil as a last resort only.
That's like saying you can reduce car miles driven by buying a car and not driving it. Another one will just be made.
Can we legislate a cap on the production of anything?
If you want a simple solution, buy a farm and bury the output. Simpler than storing a bunch of oil, even. But not very effective relative to land use.
You can plant trees and build things with them above ground.
The house I'm sitting in right now is a literal carbon storage unit.
Just don't burn it.
I wish tech companies that insist they want to make large, positive changes would come to terms with the fact that putting pressure on political levers is fundamentally necessary. I would be far more aggressive in my support of this effort if it was explicitly "we're doing this effort to cover our own tracks and we're contributing to a PAC that will support politicians who prioritize sensible environmental policy."
yes we need political levers to move, but I'm not holding my breath, and I welcome any and all corporate efforts.
I agree that corporate self-regulation is the laziest political solution. But instead of doubling down on a mistake, let's get all company hands off the political levers and have real separation of corp and state. Company influence on politics is an arms race that entrenches the most powerful firms, many of which are fundamentally opposed to climate change regulation.
This feels like trying to establish some sort of technological catalyst. This also might not be enough but it’s something.
The reason you spent $Xmil on a PAC is the same reason we (inclusive, hopefully) vote. Will one significantly contributor turn the tide? Probably not. But it requires good (corporate) citizens to put up or shutup instead of leveraging a tweak on a pet environmental project to gain a positive press cycle.
What is the difference between sequestration and offsets?
100% public transit commute is a long term goal, so work/live distance should be as short as possible short term.
Why is this a goal? Public transit isn't inherently cleaner. What makes it environmentally more attractive than personal ownership of electric vehicles, or a transit system subsidized by the government instead of run by it?
I'm in the process of setting up a new consulting business, and one of my major commitments is to donate a significant percentage (at least 10%; likely more) of profits towards CO2 reduction / capture efforts.
I'm watching this space eagerly.
Just signed up for 200% (I suspect the estimate is on the low side as I don't know the impact of producing a lot of the things I own).
Cheers for the reminder!
It seems the idea has certainly been thought of: https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1750-0...
Pros: The output material has a higher carbon content, so you're locking up less water, and it's completely biologically inert, so you can just dump it into an open pit instead of burying it, where wood would otherwise rot and release its carbon back into the air. However, you're in real trouble if your giant pile of charcoal is ignited somehow, which can be harder to put out than you'd think.
Cons: Syngas still has some carbon in it, so you're generating more emissions than if you just buried the wood. Running a biomass power plant has higher operating costs than just shoveling wood into a hole.
BECCS requires a particular set of incentives in order to be economical. You need both very expensive electricity and also a high carbon sequestration subsidy. If solar+battery storage is cheap, direct burial makes more sense.
It's a crop, though. That carbon you put into the atmosphere got sucked out by the tree you baked to begin with. Use renewable biomass (a "farm" in the jargon) and this problem goes away.
Should you bury it, and sequester all the carbon, or BECCS it, emitting maybe 50 tons of that carbon back into the atmosphere, which you will eventually have to spend more money to capture again?
Burying wood costs money, and doesn't produce anything useful. BECCS produces some electricity, but that electricity is so expensive there's only a handful of pilot plants in the entire world. Which is better?
I'm not convinced of biomass burial.
Also chip fabrication is a dirty dirty dirty business, as the consumers of the computer hardware, we as an industry has responsibility to pollution reduction of this process.
Planting trees is good, giving aid money is good, but cleaning your own shit is better!
Not to mention that the usage of computers has reduced the need for much more power hungry methods. We can now efficiently calculate much stronger, lighter, easier to manufacture parts and building patterns.
There is no need to drive/ride/walk to a place to hear the message, radio broadcasting is much more effective, even though it itself consumes power.
Imagine I have a business where I busk for money with my guitar outside of a coal plant and a single coal minor is my patron. I may be "carbon neutral" but in fact I owe my whole existence to coal being mined and burnt. Coal is my life blood and the sole source of wealth in my life. I may as well mine the coal myself and play guitar for myself, and if you consider me and the miner to be a unit it's obvious the two of us are living on coal and the fact that he does all the work while I play guitar hardly means anything.
Companies like stripe are sufficiently separated from coal and oil that they can believe they don't suck at the teat of fossil fuels, and that the only coal wealth they consume is whatever powers their light bulbs and servers. But ultimately you can track back the wealth that comes their way - all of it - to operations that generate quite a bit more emissions.
We can run subsidies and credits in little isolated corners of our economy, but it's like running a refrigerator in a closed room. Ultimately you're just burning wealth which creates a greater load on the wealth-generating machine that is the fossil fuel industry.
Real advances that make it possible to generate wealth without fossil fuel money in subsidies should be celebrated. These tech guys taking $1m of their $100m in profits (the coal miner pays the busker using stripe) to pay their $1m light bill is a shell game
You're not responsible for everyone else, or if you were, they'd not need to be for themselves.
So even though many groups/companies want to get involved in CDR, if there is no market for paying for "CDR as a product," investors will not put money in. Having Stripe and other companies guarantee payment for carbon dioxide removal would actually make a real difference in helping to spur the CDR market. Companies would be able to point at who will buy their "product" and at what price, and then investors would be able to invest.
Creating a carbon price is the most obvious and simple solution to make the "free market" solve a problem created by the inefficiency of the "free market" in the first place, of not pricing in the real world cost of the externalities from each tonne of CO2 released. The emitters should have to pay because each tonne of carbon put out into the atmosphere causes economic damage in terms of health effects and more. Some 30,000 people die prematurely in the US each year due to air pollution, yet most emitters do not pay these costs.
This is termed the "social cost of carbon" (SCC) and based on estimates from the U.S. governmental Interagency Working Group in 2013, each 1 metric ton of CO2 released is said to have an SCC of around $37 (2007 USD). So even though there is a consensus among most scientists and economists that there should be a carbon price, and companies technically owe around $37/tonne, no one is sure when it will occur or at what price it will be at. This uncertainty and lack of a large scale market is what prevents major private investments into large scale carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.
It is particularly frustrating because if the free market was truly rational, polluters would be paying for the externalities on their CO2 emissions, and the CDR field would blossom. By creating a market themselves and also offering to pay at a range of prices (even though there may be cheaper options available), Stripe can help foster CDR companies when they are most vulnerable, helping them breakthrough their technological learning curves and achieve scale. At the very least, just keeping companies subsidized and advancing technologically until the world corrects this economic error, is a worthy cause.
Having a guaranteed CO2 removal price would allow these companies to just focus on their technology and not have to individually force the global economic system to price carbon, in order to be viable. So again, great job Stripe in starting this, and to other companies/organizations, please start similar initiatives.
 "Interesting ideas include crushing rock with natural forces" [https://ProjectVesta.org]
My question for the Vesta folk is, what is the current status of the project? There is a timeline on your website but no indication of how close any of these stages are to being a reality. What are the blockers, who can help, when will you "start shipping", as it were?
May I ask what measures stripe has taken when it comes to energy efficiency to reduce emissions - often this can be cheaper than cleaning up the mess afterwards.
Do you know, and are at liberty to disclose, how much energy your datacenters consume and what measures to reduce their footprint have you taken?
Also, I read on stripe's homepage that you heat using natural gas. While this can result in rather low emissions it hugely depends on the source of the gas - if the leakage rate is too high (with fracking it often is) , it can even be worse than lignite especially when looking at shorter timeframes (20-30 years opposed to the 100 which is often used for the co2eq factor) so alternative heating options if available might reduce the emissions.
When the market doesn't favor doing the right thing, companies trying to do it die quickly, outcompeted by those who don't care. That's one reason why this has to be a gradual process, involving carbon credits and companies bragging about doing a bit of the right thing, and hopefully having that bragging be positively received.
At least in terms of priority, the damage is done and is already in the atmosphere. imo, we need to first focus on cleaning that up and getting some form of homeostasis before it gets much worse, WHILE working on solar/nuclear/renewable tech to make sure we don't just relapse and make the problem worse again.
I'm optimistically hoping that's the route we'd take anyways. Money tends to say otherwise tho. =(
The comment was idealist, not realist.
As customer I will take a lower fee instead of that and then I will choose whatever I will do with a lower fee.
Well, we can calculate the C02 exhaled by a typical human, as  36.84 mg = 0.03684 kg of CO2 per breath. (0.03684 kg @ 10c per kg) Therefore each breath you exhale is worth 0.003684 cents....
So how do you want to pay me @stripe?