A Living Model for Climate Solutions

February 22, 2022

As light filters in through the leaves of coastal redwoods, we walk through tunnels made by these rare giants. Despite many successive fires, this giant lives on, towering above the canopy. Yet most trees and plants do not have this natural fire resistance. As part of extracting minerals and producing energy, humans have made many fires. Fires that have allowed our population to grow rapidly, develop technology, and destroy the ecosystems that enabled this expansion.

In the brief chapter of this tree’s life since the Industrial Revolution, we have burned ancient stores of carbon with speed and agility never before seen in planetary history, upsetting the planet’s natural carbon flux. Today Earth no longer has the ability to sequester carbon as quickly as we release it. We have skewed the metabolism of our biosphere. And now it’s time for the big inhale. Humans must now attempt to remove carbon already released into our atmosphere if we ever hope to continue to develop and advance into a multi-planetary species.

Now is the launch window for large-scale carbon removal solutions. Exploring Mars or solving climate change is a false dichotomy. There is no Planet B. If we cannot heal our ecosystem, how much of a chance do we have at creating a new atmosphere and environment in an unknown world? Is history not bound to repeat itself? In the shadow of these giants, any risk we face by working on ambitious climate projects like Living Carbon is minuscule in comparison to the scale of the climate crisis. We created Living Carbon as a public benefit corporation and a place for ambitious thinkers and climate optimists – those who can’t stand back and watch our planet burn without putting their energy towards working on solutions. Together as a team of almost 30, Living Carbon is dedicated to helping increase the ability of natural processes to capture and store more carbon.

Governed by the mission in our charter, Living Carbon is our answer to the question: are we capable of storing carbon with the same ingenuity that allowed us to release it? In short, yes. We can enter a new ecological and economic age where we use the power of plants to capture and store more carbon.

This is a new space, and it is energizing to see the level of investment, talent, and partnerships coming in. Beyond just creating a company, we’re creating an ecosystem –– bringing together advanced R&D, global carbon markets, and local-impact carbon projects to create a future in which sequestering carbon makes economic and ecological sense. Our biotechnology platform allows us to create localized climate solutions, and we plan to work with partners to support a range of organisms and desired traits.

With a cross-disciplinary team combining decades of experience in biotech, on-the-ground forestry experience, eons of paleobotany knowledge, and a business acumen focused on emerging markets, we’ve made significant progress on getting from proof of concept to commercial scale. Step one, we’ve demonstrated how our technology platform works. Starting with photosynthesis-enhanced trees, we’ve developed a photosynthesis enhancement trait to increase the plant’s growth rate and carbon capture.  We’ve currently planted over 600 photosynthesis-enhanced trees as part of a four-year partnership with Oregon State University (OSU), and we have over 1,000  acres of carbon projects secured with private landowners.

Planting trees for our first pilot project in Corvallis, Oregon.

We’ve also developed a metal accumulation trait that enables trees to accumulate much higher levels of toxic metals in their roots, naturally slowing decay and cleaning soils made toxic by industrial activity. Our seedlings are unique in their ability to grow on land with high nickel and copper concentration, such as reclamation and abandoned mine sites. We already have a pipeline of over 3,000 acres of abandoned mineland to bring investment to former mining  communities and regenerate land that is too toxic for other plants. 

With our public launch, we hope to energize the idea that large-scale carbon sequestration is possible, and it can be unleashed at scale using the innate intelligence of plants. If you are interested in land partnerships, carbon projects, or the capabilities of our R&D platform, I encourage you to reach out. If you’re interested in purchasing a photosynthesis-enhanced enhanced tree for yourself, stay tuned and sign up here

Like the giant redwood trees who grow stronger and more resilient through fire, we have a massive opportunity for growth and global mobilization before us. We are proud to be part of this movement as we work with technology to develop creative, natural solutions to our climate instability. 

Thank you to our investors, early supporters, and those just joining us on this journey. 

With pragmatic optimism,


CEO & Co-Founder, Living Carbon

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