Climate change presents an existential threat to humanity. We are already seeing the effects and they are showing up faster and stronger than anticipated. A report by United Nations' scientific panel on climate change released this month expects the atmosphere-on our current trajectory-to warm up by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040. Even the effects of a 0.5 degrees increase will have far-reaching consequences. This research indicates that we are already past the tipping point; even if we significantly reduced emissions, climate change would continue (Source IPCC summary C3 section). We believe there's still time to make a change if we look both to renewal energy and CO2 removal.
"Phase 1" of climate change is reversible by reducing emissions, but we are no longer in "Phase 1." We're now in "Phase 2" and stopping climate change requires both emission reduction and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. "Phase 2" is occurring faster and hotter than we thought. If we don't act soon, we'll end up in "Phase 3" and be too late for both of these strategies to work.
It's time to invest and avidly pursue a new wave of technological solutions to this problem - including those that are risky, unproven, even unlikely to work. It's time to take big swings at this. As a start in this direction, we are going to present four categories focused on removing CO2 that we think deserve more research and attention - which YC would be excited to fund. These ideas press on the limit of what's possible, and we're not sure which side of that line they're on. We know there are a lot of ideas out there, and we want to take an expansive approach to this challenge. That's why we're open to funding companies as well as non-profit research.