When Microsoft pledged to be carbon negative by 2030, we recognized that the path to get there involved the advancement of key climate technologies to enable us to both reduce and remove carbon. That is why we backed our carbon negative commitment with two financial vehicles that will help us reach our goals — a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund and a comprehensive carbon fee applied across our entire carbon footprint — enabling us to operate as both an investor and a customer of carbon reduction and removal solutions. But in our work, we have learned that the market needs to go even further, faster. Such an acceleration will require investments outside of our fee and our fund — donations targeted toward the reduction of the green premium that climate solutions often carry.
That is why today Microsoft is taking on a third role, as a donor, by announcing a $100 million grant to Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to further accelerate the development of the climate solutions the world needs to reach net-zero. Catalyst, a program within the larger Breakthrough Energy network founded by Bill Gates, is a new model for public-private sector partnership to help build the foundation of the net-zero economy. The program will initially focus on four key areas for innovation: direct air capture, green hydrogen, long duration energy storage and sustainable aviation fuel.
Microsoft is already making a range of investments across several of these climate innovation areas – from playing an active role to advance sustainable aviation fuel through purchasing partnerships and alliances to becoming a customer of and investor in a direct air capture facility project via our Climate Innovation Fund. By providing a grant to Catalyst, we aim to offer new climate technology funding beyond the scope of our programs that exist today. We recognize that grant capital is a necessary part of early market development to address the green premium and the resulting gap in market adoption of new climate technologies.
Microsoft’s grant with Catalyst joins donations and investments from other leading corporations and together, we look forward to others joining the program.
This is the decade of action and those of us who can afford to move faster and go further, should. We are making this grant because we know that for Microsoft, other corporations and the world to meet our climate goals, we need to work together to drive wide-scale growth and innovation.
For more information on the Catalyst program, check out Breakthrough Energy’s press release.