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Amazon, the e-commerce powerhouse, is taking strides in climate action. They’ve recently announced their first investment in the revolutionary direct air capture (DAC) technology. This technique is designed to draw out emissions straight from the atmosphere, and it’s gaining traction among eco-conscious corporates.

Amazon’s commitment? A substantial purchase of 250,000 tons of removal credits spanning the next decade. These credits will be procured from the 1PointFive DAC plant located in Texas. Developed by the oil firm Occidental’s Oxy Low Carbon Ventures arm, this plant aligns with Amazon’s ambitious goal: achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Although the financial specifics remain under wraps, it’s known that the removal credits have a current value ranging in the mid-to-high triple digits for each metric ton.

The prevailing scientific consensus emphasizes the critical role of such endeavors. Extracting vast amounts of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere each year, either through natural means or technology, is seen as pivotal. This approach is our best shot at fulfilling the objectives set in the U.N. Paris climate agreement, given the ongoing reliance on fossil fuels and the subsequent emissions.

How do these projects function? By effectively drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, they generate what are known as removal credits. Businesses can then purchase these credits to offset emissions they can’t directly reduce.

Tech juggernauts are rallying behind DAC. Case in point: Microsoft recently committed to buying 315,000 metric tons from U.S. project developer, Heirloom. To put things in perspective, Amazon’s carbon footprint in 2022 totaled a whopping 71.27 million metric tons. This figure encompasses Scope 3 emissions, which derive from indirect sources not directly owned or controlled by Amazon, like employee air travel.

Jamey Mulligan, Amazon’s leading voice on carbon neutralization science and strategy, highlighted the urgency of the situation. Emphasizing a collective approach, he cited the significant expertise of 1PointFive and Occidental in scaling such industrial endeavors.

While there’s some criticism regarding oil companies’ involvement in these carbon removal ventures, Amazon remains undeterred. They’re not only concentrating on slashing their own emissions but are also expanding their renewable energy portfolio. Additionally, they’re exploring a mix of carbon offsets, including nature-based projects, to hit their net zero benchmark.