We are going net zero - And Microsoft is doing it too
06. February 2023
Und Microsoft macht es auch (mit Pflanzenkohle)
We are going NetZero - And Microsoft is doing it too (with biochar)
The software giant Microsoft wants to become carbon negative by 2030, i.e. take more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it produces itself. To achieve this, the company is using various technologies, as it explains comprehensively in its sustainability report. One of the methods used to store CO2 is the production of biochar. The global contribution of biochar is estimated to have a negative emissions potential of 0.03-6.6 Gt CO2eq/year by 2050, when energy substitution is taken into account, according to the 2019 IPCC Special Report. A European Parliament briefing on "carbon dioxide removal" estimates the maximum potential of pbiochar at 2 Gt CO2eq/year by 2050, and the maximum cost per sequestered ton of CO2 at $120.
However, in order for this technology to be scaled up, there are key issues that need to be addressed.
1. the notion of net-zero is a major factor hindering the development and economic value of the carbon sequestration market. Without a uniform definition of the term "net zero," there can be no standardization. Currently, many companies focus on "avoided emissions," meaning they continue to emit carbon but pay someone else not to emit the equivalent amount. Although the individual company may claim to be emitting net-zero emissions, this approach does not help achieve net-zero emissions on a global scale - this form of offsetting only further shifts the problem. The solution, which needs to be expanded, is to pay someone to remove the equivalent amount of emitted carbon from the atmosphere. So e.g. operate a Syncraft plant and make the generated biochar available via a certificate system.
2. the measurement has to be standardized and improved. The EU is currently leading the development of the world's first legal framework for monitoring true carbon removal. Standardized definition is critical, as not all methods of offsetting carbon emissions are the same. Some, such as storage in plant carbon, have a permanent effect and offer more certainty in terms of their effectiveness, while other offsets have a limited effect and are uncertain. However, if the methods are not valued equally, according to a standardized process, then we run the risk that the market for CO2 allowances, through the distortions of price and effectiveness, will not function properly. It is important to accurately determine the value of CO2 for both reduction and removal - both from a cost perspective and in terms of climate impact. Once this is done, the challenge is to help companies like Syncraft deliver solutions to these standards, incentivize the market to trade voluntary CO2 allowances, and build an ecosystem of companies that provide these services.
Syncraft is already embedded in a system of plant operators and traders of certificates according to the EBC standard. The European Biochar Certificate (EBC).
This is a valuable contribution to NetZero, not only for its own emissions, but also for other companies that interpret NetZero correctly.