The Climate Roundup: Innovation & Finance Edition 12.2.22

December 2, 2022

Hey climate heroes! Welcome to The Climate Roundup, where we round up the change, er the news about climate and the environment. As part of the Gen E community, we thank you for making climate action part of everyday life. (Reading this newsletter counts!)

Fossil Fashion Is The Worst:

Big Wool wants you to stop wearing fossil fuels and instead opt for clothing made of natural fibers, like you guessed it, wool! And they’ve created a captivating campaign that brings awareness to the fact that 70% of global apparel is made from oil-derived synthetic material. This is bad for a slew of reasons, but a major one is that these synthetics release microplastics into the natural environment with every wash. They also pile up in our landfills, aren’t made to last, and generally fuel the tsunami of cheap sh*t flooding the marketplace. We agree with Woolmark on this. Buy less, buy better, and better yet, let’s simply use the crap out of what we already own.

Start Me Up:

🔋 US-made battery startup, KORE Power plans to open its lithium-ion battery factory in Arizona, thanks to their recent raise of $75M, evidence that the Inflation Reduction Act’s focus on domestic manufacturing is already stimulating investment in climate solutions.

🏠 CA-based Swell Energy raised $120M for its virtual power plant (VPP) technology, which essentially networks together clean energy supply from homes and businesses for optimal efficiency, avoidance of outages, and energy independence.

🧑‍🌾 Freight Farms, an AgTech company based in Boston, raised $17.5M to expand on its mission to make local fresh food available anywhere year round. They build hydroponic vertical farms in shipping containers and software to monitor the harvest.


😎 Solar CarsLightyear becomes the first company to build a solar-powered electric car and they are officially in production mode. Seems so obvious to put solar panels on a car to leverage direct sunlight for power, but here we are in 2022. Check out the design (scroll halfway down this page for the best animation on their site) – it’s super cool how they integrated solar cells to cover the entire roof and hood of the car. The company says it wants to lighten the load on the grid by offering a truly sustainably powered vehicle that charges on the go.

🪸 Insuring Nature: The Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit, is testing an innovative use of insurance policies in order to help repair damage to coral reefs after major storms, since state governments do not have the resources, or fast-acting skills, to do so. The pilot project is set in Hawaii, where TNC bought a $2M insurance policy on the reefs surrounding the islands. The plan is: after a devastating storm, using the policy payout, TNC will send in a swat team of divers to quickly restore the reefs within the 6 week window before the coral dies. And boom, the reef is on its way to healing not only for its function as a critical habitat for ocean biodiversity, but also as a storm surge protector for coastal communities. If successful, this model could be replicated nation-wide with insurance policies placed on nature.

🤞 Clean Flights: While still years away from commercialization, the mission to decarbonize aviation hit a key milestone this week when Rolls-Royce successfully ground-tested a green hydrogen fueled engine intended for passenger aircrafts. The hydrogen fuel was produced using wind and tidal energy, hence the green label. Getting this initiative off the ground will be a true emissions-free victory end to end.

🏭 Defunding Coal: Barclays cites the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act as the reasoning behind its decision to stop financing coal projects in the U.S. by 2030 – five years ahead of its previous target 🙌. Barclays is one of the largest funders of fossil fuel projects. Anyone rooting to stop global warming is hoping for other banks to follow suit and speed up the end of times for their pollution funding.




More Evidence That Carbon Offsets Are Bullsh*t

The $2 billion carbon offset market continues to grow and is projected to reach $180 billion by 2030, despite the mounting piles of evidence finding that offsets simply don’t work. The fatal flaw in this scheme to reduce or avoid adding carbon to the atmosphere is that in fact less than 5% of offsets actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. So instead of being a vehicle for carbon emissions reductions, offsets are nothing more than a tool to publicly appear active in pursuing climate targets, while in reality being active in business as usual polluting.

If you’re interested in the origins of the carbon offset, including how and why it all went wrong, listen to the latest podcast from Bloomberg’s Zero. In my opinion, Bloomberg does some of the best investigative reporting on offsets, while also calling out the companies hiding behind these false claims of carbon neutrality. Dive into their latest investigation here.

And if you wanna laugh while you learn about it, because laughter is the best antidote to idiocracy-induced frustration, watch this classic video from our friends over at Climate Town.

This op-ed written by a NASA scientist cites their recent study using satellites to evaluate whether California’s forest offset program is doing its intended job of absorbing more carbon than would otherwise happen without offsets. Spoiler alert: it’s not. The article then goes into ways to fix the problem.

Thanks for reading! – Kristen