How We Work

We focus on projects that remove, store, or prevent greenhouse gas emissions.

Containing 30 million MTCO₂e by 2030

We develop and support carbon containment strategies with large-scale implementation potential. Our goal is to support the containment of 500 million metric tons of CO₂ equivalent (MTCO₂e) by 2050, and 30 million MTCO₂e by 2030. To meet these goals, we engage with a diverse partner network, develop solutions with the whole system in mind, and consider project economics from the start.

Working with partners

We partner widely, and look for inspiration for climate solutions from academics, practitioners, past efforts, and parallel fields. Our solutions are informed and shaped from the outset by the practitioners, entrepreneurs, and companies that will help bring them to scale. We also support the ideas and solutions of others that meet our internal project criteria.

Our Methods

Carbon Containment Methods

Our projects support the containment of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases through capture, storage, use, or destruction. This includes carbon dioxide removal, abated and avoided emissions, and other negative emissions technologies.

  • Containment

    Holding CO2 in a stable state (for example buried wood) and preventing new carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere through decay or combustion.

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    Removal

    Removing carbon from the air or water. Includes photosynthesis, Direct Air Carbon Capture (DACC) and aqueous carbon removal via enhanced weathering.

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    Capture

    Gathering emissions from a point source. Includes emissions from mines and landfills, as well as bioenergy and carbon capture.

    Storage Storage

    Safely and durably holding carbon. Includes underground injection of CO2 and wood carbon preservation.

  • Processing

    Eliminating emissions through safe, durable, and verifiable methods that use or destroy the gas.

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    Use Use

    Using CO2 or CH4 as a product, fuel, or for another valuable end use. Includes bioenergy and mass timber.

    Destruction Destruction

    Destroying greenhouse gases by combustion, incineration, or oxidation. Includes using existing technologies such as flares and regenerative thermal oxidation.

  • Avoided Emissions

    Preventing emissions from entering the atmosphere through reductions and avoided emissions.

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    Abatement Abatement

    Reducing emissions using new strategies or approaches to lessen emissions from an activity or process.

Low-Cost
Verifiable
Scalable
Practicable
Novel or Neglected
Resource-Efficient
Safe & Benign
Regulatorily Feasible

Project Vetting and Criteria

We screen our projects against a rigorous and comprehensive list of criteria. Among other considerations, these criteria help us evaluate the risks and advantages of any project, whether the project can reasonably be expected to scale up beyond an initial pilot, and whether the carbon removed or stored by the project can be verifiably measured.

Project Economics 

From the start, we evaluate projects to ensure they are scalable and can be deployed at low-cost. New projects and technologies are designed with economics considered from the outset. Carbon market analysis and carbon pricing projections are important components of this appraisal. We also review neglected technologies where changing market conditions might now allow for deployment.

Project Life Cycle and Impact

When reviewing and designing solutions, we consider ecological, human, and industrial systems. This work uses a full life cycle perspective, applying techno-economic, environmental, and social impact assessments. We prioritize engagement with community members where our solutions will be sited. Understanding the priorities of these stakeholders is key to the equitable implementation of climate solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean by carbon containment?

We use “carbon containment” to refer to activities that remove, mitigate, and/or sequester carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. We focus on carbon containment methods that either enhance or are additional to natural processes such as photosynthesis. 

What kind of work does the CC Lab do? What has it done in the past?

The CC Lab is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that advances the design, testing, and implementation of novel and neglected carbon containment. We seek to support not just one stakeholder but entire ecosystems with rigorous research, analysis, and initiative-building.

In our first four years, we’ve:

— Run nationwide field experiments to test the viability of methods that delay or prevent the decomposition of woody biomass and partnered with leading practitioners to pilot these methods

— Helped raise awareness to support the reduction of methane emissions at active and abandoned coal mines in the US

— Developed and published a draft methodology for the generation of emissions reductions from the recovery and destruction of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants

— Conducted feasibility assessments and formed regional partnerships for a carbon sequestration hub in the Pacific Northwest

— Sponsored research with leading Yale labs to develop novel technologies for carbon removal, methane destruction, and fluorocarbon decomposition

You can visit our Biologic, Geologic, and Anthropogenic Program pages to learn more about these and other past and ongoing projects. We are excited to accelerate our pace and expand our reach in 2024 and beyond. 

How does the CC Lab decide where to focus?

The CC Lab selects areas where clear, tractable bottlenecks are holding back large-scale emissions reduction or removal efforts. We investigate either emission sources (such as cooling equipment) or technology categories (such as ex situ carbon mineralization), looking for high-impact, system-level problems that an independent nonprofit is uniquely suited to solve. Then we assess potential projects against a set of eight criteria: low-cost, verifiable, scalable, practicable, novel or neglected, resource-efficient, safe and benign, and regulatorily feasible.

We are always looking for interesting problems and opportunities to take up. In addition to novel systems, we also consider neglected or transferable solutions. If you think there’s a carbon containment method we should be considering, please email info@cclab.org.

How does the CC Lab set its goals? How confident are we in meeting those goals?

We set our goals for carbon containment quantitatively, measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e): a near-term goal of 30 million MTCO2e contained by 2030, and 500 million MTCO2e contained by 2050. Though these targets are highly ambitious, we are confident that by maintaining a portfolio of high-potential solutions we will be able to achieve them. 

Is the CC Lab open to outside partnerships?

Yes! We are always eager to broaden our network of collaborators. If you are interested in working with the CC Lab, or gathering more information about us, please email info@cclab.org.

How is the CC Lab funded?

The CC Lab is funded entirely with individual gifts and grants.

Where was the CC Lab founded? Why did the CC Lab become an independent entity?

The CC Lab was founded within the Yale School of the Environment in 2020, and spun out into an independent entity in February 2024. We did so to seek more flexibility in deploying our time and resources to our projects. To learn more about the spin-out and our relationship to Yale moving forward, you can read a Yale School of the Environment Q&A with our founder Dean Takahashi here.

Does the CC Lab provide grants?

Currently, the CC Lab is not a grant-making organization, although we have funded external research, experimentation, and testing when it aligns with our project goals. 

Is the CC Lab a carbon credit registry? Does it plan to be one?

The CC Lab neither is nor plans to be a carbon credit registry. We are also not validators, verifiers, or developers of carbon credit projects. However, we believe that efficient and transparent carbon markets are critical for scaling and implementing greenhouse gas reduction, removal, and storage. Our team engages with these nascent markets in several ways, including participation in integrity initiatives and project methodology reviews.

Although we engage with carbon market stakeholders in pursuit of our goal of scaled carbon containment, we do so as an independent nonprofit without financial interest.

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