JPMorgan Invests Over $200 Million in Attempt to Clean Up the Planet

(Photo Credit: Andreas Felske/Unsplash)

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By 2050, experts say the world will have to remove the equivalent of 10 gigatons — or roughly 22 trillion pounds — of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year if we want to stave off the devastating effects of climate change. Jamie Dimon thinks he can help… a little.

JPMorgan announced Tuesday that it will pump more than $200 million into carbon removal technologies. But does it amount to a substantial investment in the fight against climate change, or is it just another feel-good ESG venture to make a big company look like it cares?

Recycle, Just Maybe Not Like That

Carbon removal technology is essentially a gigantic vacuum that rids surplus CO2 out of the atmosphere and safely stores it or processes it into other products like alcohol, fuel, and even synthetic meat

However, the carbon removal industry is still in its infancy and in need of robust financing, so the most popular practice is selling removed carbon to petroleum companies for enhanced oil recovery. That’s right: An industry that wants to make the planet greener is attached to the hip with one actively polluting it. We suppose Emerson had it right when he called consistency the hobgoblin of little minds: 

  • JPMorgan appears to be aware of the oxymoronic nature of the business, and in order to remove and store the equivalent of 800,000 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere over the next few years, it decided to invest in more environmentally conscious names like Switzerland’s Climeworks and San Francisco’s Charm Industrial. In April, JPMorgan also announced a $75 million commitment to Frontier, which basically acts like a carbon removal portfolio manager.
  • Charm doesn’t use massive air-sucking machines but rather turns agricultural waste into bio-oil and then plugs abandoned petroleum wells that could be leaking oil and methane.

Best Frenemies: Climeworks has managed to avoid alliances with oil companies until just recently. According to The Verge, Climeworks said it will never use its stored carbon for EOR, but it is planning to partner with the California Resources Corporation for carbon storage purposes. “That’s what oil and gas can do really well,” Climeworks’ Christoph Beuttler told The Verge. “They know the underground, they know the geologic subsurface and therefore they are a great storage partner.”