The News Today
__
2.21.19
CO2 Sucks

Y Combinator Is Turning Its Attention to Carbon Removal

October 24th 18__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Earth & Energy
Shaun Low / Emily Cho

Plan B

It’s never a bad idea to have a back-up plan — especially when the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

Climate change could render vast segments of the Earth completely uninhabitable to humans, and attempts to address the problem by cutting carbon emissions might not be enough to save the planet.

We need a Plan B, and startup accelerator Y Combinator wants to help develop it.

Out of the Air

Y Combinator helps startups get off the ground by offering up to $150,000 in funding in exchange for a 7 percent stake in the company. The accelerator maintains a Request for Startups page that lists areas it’s particularly interested in funding. On Tuesday, it added carbon removal technologies to the list.

“We have conviction that it’s a worthwhile endeavor to remove CO2 from the air and transform it into something else useful or figure out how to store it safely, long-term,” wrote Y Combinator CEO Sam Altman in a blog post. “They may seem like moonshots now, but our goal is to try to come up with technically feasible solutions at realistic costs.”

Chasing Rainbows

Some experts argue that carbon removal technology isn’t a realistic solution to our climate woes — they’ve even gone so far as to call the proposed machines “carbon unicorns,” since they don’t yet exist.

But just because we don’t have adequate carbon removal systems right now doesn’t mean some innovative entrepreneur couldn’t develop them with a little seed funding — the kind Y Combinator is now offering up.

Who knows? Perhaps this unicorn funding could lead to a planet-saving breakthrough.