Accelerating progress in interventions that harness Earth’s natural systems—from soils, to oceans, to glaciers—to stabilize our climate.

Near-term Focus: Enhanced Rock Weathering

Our initial focus is advancing the development of a healthy market for enhanced rock weathering (ERW), underpinned by its scientific evidence base and its potential for gigaton-scale, durable carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

As commercial activity in ERW ramps up, it is essential that we collectively steer toward a healthy, virtuous market cycle wherein large-scale deployments provide a powerful engine for public scientific learning along with declining uncertainties and costs. For open-system CDR to succeed, ERW needs to thrive—with rigor and quality at its core.

Cascade is leading the following initiatives in ERW:

Quantification standard development

Orchestrating a methodical process to develop an industry-wide standard that ensures rigor and consistency in the measurement, reporting, and verification of ERW. This community quantification standard is developed in accordance with best available science and will be dynamically iterated as science evolves.

Data access system

Designing and instituting a community data access system that translates data from commercial deployments into public learning and trust-building, while preserving suppliers’ ability to differentiate competitively and attract investment.

Policy advocacy

Shaping the strategy and driving stakeholder alignment around an overall policy framework and specific levers to help ERW get over the early hump on farmer adoption, public confidence, uncertainty reduction, market buy-in, and cost decline.

Our motivation
The climate crisis and power of Earth's natural systems.

As a species we are already—unintentionally and haphazardly—manipulating Earth’s climate system in ways that produce disastrous consequences for ourselves and the biosphere. Decarbonization must be our top priority but on its own cannot solve the climate emergency. We must embrace the need to harness Earth’s natural systems in the service of avoiding deeper harm. This will mean intervening in soils, rivers, oceans, glaciers and more—but doing so with great deliberation and care.

Accelerating humanity’s readiness to responsibly enhance or modulate natural cycles requires us to approach the endeavor with profound humility. At the core of our motivation to start Cascade are the awe and wonder that come with deeper learning about Earth systems, the biosphere, and humanity’s connected history with them—an unimaginably complex set of interactions that have played out over eons through mass extinctions and extraordinary shifts in the planet’s climate system.

Our work
Coordinating ambitious initiatives across science, industry, philanthropy, and government.

Enhanced weathering and virtually all other open-system climate intervention fields are in their infancy. Scientific uncertainties regarding efficacy, quantification and ecological impacts loom large. Policy frameworks for government engagement remain on the drawing board. Immature markets in these fields—where they exist—struggle with “race-to-the-bottom” incentive problems as well as underdeveloped institutional and regulatory architecture.

In these thorny contexts, Cascade coordinates ambitious initiatives across science, industry, philanthropy, and government to overcome the highest-priority bottlenecks hindering progress. Often this involves unlocking bigger flows of funding or talent, filling critical ecosystem gaps by incubating new systems and entities, or shaping the design of policies and markets. At Cascade, we make tackling system-level obstacles our job.

Our approach
Building deep, trust-based relationships across the ecosystem.
The “how” in our approach is every bit as important as the “what.” We have to earn the right to play a system-engineer role. We do this by building deep trust-based relationships across the ecosystem, while maintaining scrupulous neutrality and unimpeachably clean incentives. Philosophically, we put learning at the heart of our work—embracing rather than wishing away uncertainty and helping open-system climate intervention fields shift into virtuous learning-by-doing cycles. This enables the kind of evidence-driven course we will need to chart if we hope to identify interventions that can be deployed safely, effectively, and responsibly.
Generously supported by:
Astera Institute Logo Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Logo Grantham Foundation Logo Kissick Family Foundation Logo Patrick J McGovern Foundation Logo Quadrature Climate Foundation Logo Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust Logo