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Sempra Energy donates $2 million to fight climate change

Donation to the Salk Institute will advance plant-based carbon capture and sequestration

Dominic Ellis
|Nov 9|magazine4 min read

Sempra Energy is donating $2 million to the Salk Institute to advance plant-based carbon capture and sequestration research, education and implementation in a five-year project to tackle the climate crisis.

As the world's population increases to 10 billion, there is "incredible urgency" to address the changing climate, said Salk Professor Wolfgang Busch, co-director of the Institute's Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI). 

HPI aims to develop crop plants that have significant global acreages to store long-lasting carbon in the soil. It is an innovative, scalable and bold approach to fight climate change by optimizing a plant's natural ability to capture and store carbon and adapt to diverse climate conditions. 

HPI estimates that if, worldwide, 70 percent of the target crops are converted into carbon-sequestration-enhanced crop plants, 1.5 to 6 gigatons of CO2 can be sequestered per year, the equivalent of up to as much as one-third of human-caused CO2 emissions that accumulate in the atmosphere each year.

Salk researchers aim to develop these Salk Ideal Plants on land in South California to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change by drawing down significant amounts of the excess carbon in our atmosphere while also providing more food, fuel and fibre for the growing population. 

"At Sempra Energy, we support partnerships designed to produce sustainable and responsible change, and we believe the Salk Institute is an ideal partner to make true progress in the fight against climate change," said Kevin Sagara, group president of Sempra Energy and advisory committee member of HPI. 

"This project has the potential to help remove significant amounts of carbon from entering our atmosphere and aligns with Sempra Energy's portfolio to advance the global energy transition to lower-carbon energy sources."

San-Diego based Sempra Energy recorded $60 billion in total assets at the end of 2019 and has 35 million customers worldwide.

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