By Scott Tong
Tuesday the World Bank hosted the Innovate 4 Climate conference on low-carbon technology, finance and markets. Just in time for the event comes a new nonprofit called Climate Vault.
Climate Vault is the brainchild of Michael Greenstone, an economist at the University of Chicago. It provides a new way for individuals and companies to buy carbon-pollution permits — and lock them up. The settings in which these emissions permits can be bought are often called cap-and-trade markets.
Some states, like California and Vermont, operate this kind of system of buying and selling permits for the right to belch carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Greener companies often sell their permits to dirtier companies.
The new Climate Vault now lets investors big and small buy those permits and lock them away. It’s more of a cap-and-confiscate plan. Greenstone, the founder, described it as a simple way to achieve net-zero emissions. “My children, for a holiday gift this year, I purchased 60 tons on their behalf to undo their footprint.”
That, in essence, reduces a state’s cap, or limit, on CO2 emissions. It sticks the pollution permits in the vault, as it were.
This vault can be opened, but only to give permits to companies that pull carbon out of the atmosphere. Greenstone believes that will create incentives to drive environmental innovation.