New Report From XPRIZE and Carbon180 Offers Environmental Justice Guidance for Carbon Removal Industry
Report offers recommendations for carbon removal companies to ensure climate change solutions address past harms and create equitable future benefits
XPRIZE and Carbon180 partner to center environmental justice in $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition, largest incentive prize in history
LOS ANGELES, February 07, 2023--(BUSINESS WIRE)--XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s biggest challenges, and Carbon180, the climate NGO that designs and champions equitable, science-based carbon removal policy, released a report today outlining how crucial environmental justice considerations should be integrated into the carbon removal industry moving forward. The groundbreaking report is just one initiative generated by the $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition, the largest incentive prize in history. This new publication represents a push to center environmental justice both within the competition and the broader carbon removal industry.
The report explains how by prioritizing environmental justice – efforts to respond to historical and ongoing harms to communities of color, Indigenous and Tribal communities caused by disproportionate levels of environmental pollution – carbon removal companies can avoid replicating past injustices and ensure that the benefits from their projects are felt broadly and equitably.
"Environmental justice needs to be front and center in the carbon removal industry," said Nikki Batchelor, Prize Director for XPRIZE Carbon Removal and a co-author of the report. "Leaders from across the industry must work together to ensure that carbon removal achieves its full potential as a climate solution that redresses past harms while also creating opportunity and prosperity in disadvantaged communities. By promoting environmental justice in the Carbon Removal XPRIZE, we hope to encourage carbon removal companies to weave these essential principles into their business model at every stage."
"We need to scale carbon removal responsibly. Throughout this partnership, it’s clear that many carbon removal developers recognize the importance of many environmental justice concerns, but do not always know how to practically and meaningfully address them," said Alayna Chuney, Senior Policy Advisor at Carbon180 and a co-author of the report. "This is a first step in providing guidance and actionable steps for the carbon removal industry who are keen to integrate equity and justice into their work. This industry can mature in ways that benefit people and the climate — but it will require literacy in EJ principles and a commitment from the innovation ecosystem."
The report’s recommendations address three core elements of environmental justice: procedural justice (fairness in decision-making processes), distributive justice (equitable allocation of resources, risks, impacts and benefits across society) and reparative justice (repairing previous harms committed through violations and crimes). These recommendations include:
Approach community engagement as a process of co-learning.
Develop strategies for reaching communities directly.
Develop a community engagement strategy that includes continuous consultation throughout the lifecycle of the project.
Explore mechanisms for formalizing environmental justice within the company.
Be transparent about the potential risks of a project.
Work with communities to co-define the kinds of benefits a project could yield.
Create a customized workforce development plan.
Put formal agreements into place to codify agreed-upon benefits.
Understand the past injustices and harms communities have experienced.
Design projects that prioritize repairing past harms.
The recommendations outlined in the report are in response to the environmental justice questionnaire completed for the Milestone Round of the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition. Teams were asked about the EJ dimensions of their projects — including existing environmental and public health burdens, potential positive or negative impacts on local ecosystems, and anticipated community benefits. The report offers guidance and actionable steps to help carbon removal companies embed equity and justice in their projects at every stage and a vision for building this new industry from the ground up.
The report is the latest product of the $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition, which seeks to grow the community of carbon removal solution developers and increase the number of viable, high-quality carbon removal projects. In 2022, XPRIZE awarded Milestone Round prizes of $1 million each to 15 teams. After this Milestone Round, the competition reset; any team from among the 287 Milestone Round participants is eligible to win, and registration is still open for new teams. The grand prize winner will be announced on Earth Day 2025.
For more information on XPRIZE, the report and XPRIZE Carbon Removal visit xprize.org. For more on Carbon180 and the report findings, visit carbon180.org.
XPRIZE is a global future-positive movement, delivering truly radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE inspires and empowers a global community of problem-solvers to positively impact our world by crowdsourcing solutions through large-scale competitions, tackling the world’s grandest challenges in exploration, environment and human equity. Active competitions include the $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal with the Musk Foundation, $15 Million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, $10 Million XPRIZE Rainforest, $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE and $1 Million Digital Learning Challenge. Donate, sign up or join a team at xprize.org.
Carbon180 is a new breed of climate NGO on a mission to reverse two centuries of carbon emissions. Working closely with US policymakers, entrepreneurs, and peer organizations, we design equitable, science-based policies that will bring carbon removal solutions to gigaton scale. Our environmental justice program is founded on the belief that carbon removal must serve communities, and can only succeed with their input and acceptance. We advocate for EJ integration across the field and work to ensure we are pursuing policy opportunities that are in line with justice objectives to co-learn and co-create frameworks for just policy.
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