How we leverage immediate carbon reduction into ultimate carbon removal

A lot of the attention we get for our integrated carbon reduction & removal platform focuses on the reduction part: Climate Vault purchases emission allowances from government-regulated cap-and-trade markets on behalf of our partners, helping them to achieve carbon neutrality in days, not decades – all in a credible and verifiable way.

It’s how we leverage the immediate carbon reduction directly into permanent carbon removal, though, that makes our system truly revolutionary. Like the proverbial one-two punch, the second blow is the more powerful one for knocking out carbon.

We also recognize that this process requires some explanation. Here, we dig into the development of the removal side that ensures quality long-term carbon storage while those emission allowances remain, safe and unused, in our vault.

Evaluating promise with expertise

Many carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects are still in their nascence. In order to reach the scale necessary to tackle the global climate crisis, these technologies require significant funding and support. This is why Climate Vault offers grant funding to successful RFP applicants for CDR technologies, as the second step in our “one-two” punch model. (The status of current and future RFPs lives here.)

Identifying and evaluating these projects is paramount to our process. Funding successful proposals provides Climate Vault’s partners with the credible carbon solutions they require, while also stimulating the growth of technologies essential to the future of our planet.

To identify the most promising CDR technologies, we turn to our Tech Chamber, a group of highly-respected science, technology, and policy experts, including former White House administration officials and distinguished professors from Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and UC San Diego.

The Tech Chamber evaluates proposals from emerging carbon removal companies, technologies, and innovators based on a variety of criteria, including:

  • Pathway – Does the proposed CDR solution fall under one of Climate Vault’s three pathways for carbon removal (i.e., terrestrial, oceanic, or technological)?
  • Innovation – How novel is the technology and/or business model?
  • Technical and Economic Feasibility – What is the likelihood that the project can deliver the expected metric tons of carbon removal in the proposed time frame?
  • Additionality – To what extent would a Climate Vault grant award enable the CDR solution to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than would have otherwise been possible without the grant award?
  • Leakage – Does the proposed CDR solution cause additional carbon emissions to occur elsewhere?
  • Permanence – How long will the carbon be stored out of the atmosphere?
  • Net Carbon Removal Capacity – How impactful is the carbon removal solution?
  • Public Engagement and Environmental Equity – Has the project developer identified and engaged with key stakeholders? Does the proposed solution generate co-benefits, such as by advancing environmental or social objectives?

Proposals that advance through the first round of evaluation are then assessed by external auditors to confirm the accuracy, completeness, and fairness of the information presented in their RFP applications. The Tech Chamber then reviews the audit results and issues a final verdict regarding whether a grant award winner will be selected.

The Tech Chamber’s intensive vetting process identifies the most effective and credible projects to receive Climate Vault grants and reduces the risk of our partners’ sustainability initiatives falling short.

Leveraging reduction into permanent removal

Once a CDR solution is selected to receive grant funding, Climate Vault’s innovative carbon reduction program leverages allowances into permanent carbon removal.

The CDR project developer and Climate Vault take part in what is commonly referred to as an “offtake agreement,” which outlines (among other terms) the amount of carbon dioxide that the project developer will remove with their CDR solution. Once the carbon removals are achieved and verified, the grant award is provided to the grantee.

The market value of the emission allowances held by Climate Vault provides the funding for this award on a ton-by-ton basis.

Enabling credible change—for good

A common point of clarification with this first-of-its-kind carbon reduction & removal program is this: releasing an allowance back to the market seems counterintuitive to the goal of carbon neutrality. How does this process help our partners achieve and maintain carbon neutrality (or better)?

As Climate Vault identifies and supports permanent removal solutions, our partners’ immediate reductions (in the form of allowances) are stored in our vault, unused and out of the market. There they remain until the carbon removals have been achieved and verified and the market value of the emission allowances enables Climate Vault to fund an equal or greater amount of carbon removals, guaranteeing a 1:1 (or better) exchange of carbon emissions between reduction & removal.

This process eliminates risk for Climate Vault partners and helps to ensure their donations are creating verifiable, measurable, credible change.

Our ability to leverage carbon allowances into ultimate removal distinguishes our process from voluntary “carbon offset” programs. Climate Vault’s inside track on CDR technologies, paired with our access to compliance market allowances, creates the verifiable impact that so many customers, employees, and stakeholders desire.


To learn more about how you can knock out your carbon footprint by leveraging short-term carbon allowances into long-term carbon removals, reach out to the team here at Climate Vault. We’re here to help you meet your sustainability goals and knock out your carbon.

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