"Doing our best, removing the rest": Swiss Re is partnering with Climeworks

Swiss Re is partnering with the carbon removal leader Climeworks to remove carbon emissions directly from the air in the fight against climate change. The two partners signed the world's first long-term purchase agreement for direct air capture and storage of carbon dioxide, worth USD 10 million over 10 years. The collaboration helps Swiss Re to reach its net-zero goals, on the liability and asset side by 2050, and in its own operations already by 2030.

Swiss Re's approach to net-zero is clear: "Do our best, remove the rest". We need to reduce as much CO2  as we can.  But even if we do our very best, there are unavoidable emissions that we will have to remove from the atmosphere to reach net-zero. So, carbon removal comes on top of, not instead of, emission reductions.

Entering a partnership with Climeworks, we demonstrate our willingness and readiness to walk the last mile on our own net-zero journey, which in turn helps the world as a whole to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.

Climate scientists have just published their new assessment report on the state of the climate. It emphasizes the challenge: massive emission reductions alone are not enough to limit global warming to safe levels. We need to remove up to 20 billion tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere and do so every year throughout the second half of the century. In other words, we have to build a carbon removal industry that is the size of today's oil and gas industry – essentially from scratch and within only three decades. For that industry to scale, it needs the right demand signal and buyers willing to afford the first-mover price of high-quality removal certificates.

Climeworks filters carbon dioxide from ambient air before sending it for permanent storage in nearby rock layers deep underground. There it reacts with the surrounding minerals to form stable carbonates – the CO2 is literally turned into stone. This is considered the safest and most durable form of all carbon removal solutions available today. But it is a first-of-its kind facility that comes at a price of several hundreds of dollars per tonne of CO2 removed. Our 10-years purchase agreement is an early contribution and can act as a template for impactful corporate purchases. Long-term commitments help Climeworks to build their next bigger capture facility and become more economic.

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