By Ben Geman
A new nonprofit group called Climate Vault aims to offer reliable carbon offsets while providing fresh support for CO2 removal technologies and methods.
Driving the news: It’s the brainchild of the University of Chicago team led by economist Michael Greenstone, who served in the Obama White House.
Why it matters: Offsets enable companies and people to help reduce emissions, but ensuring their integrity is notoriously tricky.
- Climate Vault aims to solve this problem by tapping into regulated cap-and-trade markets — in essence fusing voluntary efforts with the certainty of formal permit systems.
- The group calls its approach an “antidote to the frequent credibility problems and opacity of voluntary offset programs.”
- It then leverages this to support carbon removal methods that can complement fossil fuel emissions cuts to help reach ambitious climate goals.
How it works: Backers fund Climate Vault to buy emissions permits from cap-and-trade markets in North America, which operate in California, Quebec, and among northeast and mid-Atlantic states.
- Climate Vault then takes those permits off the market to prevent industrial emitters from using them (that’s the “vault” part).
- The group then can provide those permits to providers of carbon removal services, which could then sell them back into the market to finance the efforts.