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!)
Nuclear Is So Hot Right Now:
What happens when fashion and nuclear fusion collide? Maybe a dramatic education in stuff that matters? Time will tell, as the Spring/Summer ‘23 collection from luxury fashion house, Chloe, was inspired by nuclear fusion, a climate solution! Climate awareness has come a long way when it starts walking down runways. And cheers to that, because bringing attention to climate solutions in every aspect of life is how we normalize the concept of a climate-friendly future.
Speaking of a climate-friendly future, in case you missed it, our star of the show (get it, because fusion produces energy the same way stars do), nuclear fusion hit a huge milestone this week when scientists in a U.S. 🙌 laboratory created more energy than was put in to ignite the reaction – a feat that hasn’t been done before. Nuclear nerds are freaking out with excitement, but the reality is that we are still decades away from commercialization of this clean energy source. Still, we gotta celebrate the wins!
Climate Innovation Funding:
🚜 Eliminating Diesel: Mining for minerals is a bittersweet reality of a clean-energy world, but companies are working on ways to minimize negative environmental impacts. Seattle-based First Mode raised $200M to clean up heavy industry, one of the toughest areas to decarbonize, starting with the world’s largest hydrogen-powered haul trucks. See it in action on their site. There really is something about big trucks that brings out the inner kid. #sandboxvibes
🌾 Cleaner Farming: CA-based Sound Agriculture raised $75M to increase yield and decrease usage of synthetic fertilizer with their product that they say is like “caffeine for microbes” in the soil. This optimizes the natural exchange of nutrients between plants and microbes. Sound Ag wants to reduce global usage of fertilizers by 30%, an important lever in cleaning up our planet, as fertilizers pollute our air with nitrogen emissions and pollute our fresh water sources with toxic runoff.
🐑 Lamb Baa-rgers: SF-based Black Sheep Foods raised $12.3M for their plant-based lamb products. Ok, ok, gotta respect the niche focus. And we can’t leave any taste buds behind in the transition to more climate-friendly diet options. It will be interesting to see which species they pick next. 🐸
🍣 Lab-Grown Salmon: SF-based WildType raised $8M for its cell-cultured sushi-grade salmon, which eliminates the need for industrial fishing and farming. What caught 🎣 my attention is that their facility looks like a microbrewery, full of large steel tanks where the salmon cells grow, plus a tasting room. Their website is a fun user-friendly experience if you’re interested in learning about and visualizing how the hell you grow salmon fillets in metal tanks. Wild.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🪨 Carbon Removal: Stripe and Shopify committed $11M to a select group of startups working on technology to permanently remove CO2 from the air, with $7.5M dependent upon the companies achieving specific milestones. The funding is the second round of an advance market commitment from Frontier, a collective of corporates pledging nearly $1B “to accelerate the development of carbon removal technologies by guaranteeing future demand for them”.
🔋 America’s Battery Belt: It’s happening! A strong domestic supply chain for batteries to power electric vehicle demand is forming in the U.S., much thanks to the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, which opened up billions for investment in the sector. This week’s announcements include a $2.5B loan from the Department of Energy to Ultium Cells, a joint venture between GM and LG. Three new facilities will be built in Michigan, Tennessee, and Ohio to produce lithium-ion battery cells, creating 11K new jobs. And Redwood Materials will build a $3.5B plant for its battery recycling and components production factory in South Carolina, powered by 100% renewable energy, with capacity to power 1M EVs per year.
💰 EU Pollution Tax: The EU approved a carbon tax on imported goods, which essentially makes foreign pollution-heavy producers pay for their reluctance to shift to lower carbon methods of making stuff. The move also protects domestic industries that are aligned with climate policies, keeping them competitive, as near term costs are higher to go green in certain sectors. This is a global first, so watch for other countries, including the U.S. to follow suit.
🌴 Protect Nature: Global investors with $3T in funds launched Nature Action 100 this week, an initiative to strongarm the companies they own into protecting and restoring nature rather than destroying it. This comes out of the UN summit on biodiversity happening now in Montreal, where global leaders are looking to form a Paris Agreement-like pact to reverse biodiversity loss. And while we’ve seen countless failed initiatives like this before, maybe this will take. It’s pretty logical that if a company’s products are made from natural resources, no more natural resources means no more company.
$700B: ANNUAL FUNDING NEEDED TO HELP STOP BIODIVERSITY LOSS THROUGH 2030 (TNC)
$44T: ECONOMIC VALUE RELIANT ON NATURE, AKA HALF OF GLOBAL GDP (WEF)
Thanks for reading! – Kristen