Climate reporting is heating up #90

Biden directs $9.5B to pro-climate manufacturing

Happy Monday! In this week’s issue, we go lightly meta to cover the rise in climate journalism - with last month’s dedicated Boston Globe climate desk announcement and this week’s AP move, the rise in climate coverage promises yet more frenzied stories and primary understanding about climate and its discontents.

In the news this week, Ford pledges to recycle more batteries while taking a play from the oil companies in flirting with spinning out its EV operations. DOE also funds 68 new research projects, ranging from energy efficiency to nuclear recycling. We’ve also got a spate of deals, with 3 $200m+ fundings into green hydrogen, circuits, and electric trucks. Reminder that you can submit deals for consideration through this form.

As always, thanks for reading! Happy President’s Day!

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The beat is on about climate change

If it feels like the climate change news beat has been getting louder and faster, you’re largely right. There has been a surge in the count of “climate desks'' from journalism institutions (see: 2,800+ Linkedin search results for climate journalists). Early actors include The New York Times and The Washington Post, and more recent actors include the Boston Globe (in January) and The Associated Press (last week). Backed with $8m from philanthropic groups, The AP will hire ~20 journalists across Africa, Brazil, India, and the US to produce localized and international climate reporting. “Climate is everybody’s beat now," AP deputy managing editor told Axios.

Climate headlines - whether on the front page of the newspaper, or your front doorstep - are now indeed unavoidable. 40% of Americans live in counties hit by climate disasters in 2021, and 70% of Americans are now “very” or “somewhat worried” about global warming. Accordingly, Google Trend news searches for “climate change” continue to trend up with more searches.

Media’s business model largely revolves around advertising. And climate sells now. Just watch the Superbowl ads. It’s likely not a coincidence that media institutions’ climate coverage has coincided. Advertisers want access to engaged, educated, and informed buyers. There are now also climate-specific products that are directly trying to advertise (e.g. lead generation by an electric stove manufacturer).

These big publications perform an essential service: increasing baseline awareness and understanding of climate change and its impacts. They do so by covering scientific breakthroughs, extreme events, government policies, and other day-to-day news. Outside of these big publications, though, new forms of verticalized coverage (like us!) are emerging to go deep into different angles of the climate challenge and curate new content.

👀 Perspective. Big publications tend to be objective, investigative journalists presenting the facts while unbundled content creators tend to be more subjective storytellers capturing the emotional sides of climate.

🖥 Medium. Big publications largely operate on their own platforms while content creators leverage platforms like Substack for newsletters, Spotify for podcasts, and YouTube for vlogs. Such platforms enable new voices that are closer to the action (e.g., investors and operators) and that hold unique knowledge (e.g., on Web3 or biodiversity) to join the choir.

Some highlights: Climate Tech VC (innovation), Work on Climate (jobs), Intercalation Station (batteries), Carbon Commentary (low-carbon), Heated (journalism), My Climate Journey (interviews), Catalyst, (decarbonization podcast), Pique Action (micro-documentaries), Foot.Notes by Footprint Coalition (news hub)


Deals of the Week (2/14-2/20)

🚚 Volta Trucks, a Sweden-based manufacturer of electric trucks, raised $260m in Series C funding from Luxor Capital and Byggmastare Anders J Ahlstrom Holding AB.

⚡ CelLink, a San Carlos, CA-based manufacturer of high-conductance, large-area flexible circuits for clean power, raised $250m in Series D funding from Whale Rock Capital, D1 Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, Park West, Standard Investments, and Atreides.

⚡ Hy2gen, a Germany-based green hydrogen producer, raised $226m in funding from Hy24, Mirova, CDP, and Technip Energies.

🔋 Antora Energy, a Sunnyvale, CA-based thermal battery developer, raised $50m in funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Shell Ventures, BHP Ventures, Grok Ventures, Trust Ventures, Overture VC, Impact Science Ventures, and Fifty Years. (Read our Friday Feature with CEO Andrew Ponec here!)

⚡ Bramble Energy, a UK-based fuel cell company, raised $47.3m in Series B funding from HydrogenOne Capital Growth, BGF, IP Group, Parkwalk Advisors, and the UCL Technology Fund.

⚡ First Light Fusion, a UK-based energy generation startup researching inertial fusion, raised $45m in  Series C funding from Oxford Science Enterprises, Hostplus, IP Group, Braavos Capital, and Tencent.

💨 Agreena, a Denmark-based platform where farmers can earn carbon credits for turning their land into carbon sinks, raised a $22.5m in Series A funding from Kinnevik, Giant Ventures, and Vækstfonden.

🧼 Blueland, a New York, NY-based producer of cleaning products focused on reducing single use plastics, raised $20m in Series B funding from Prelude Growth Partners.

♻️ Nth Cycle, a Boston, MA-based metal processing and recycling technology company, raised $12.5m in Series A funding from Frankstahl, VoLo Earth, Mercuria, MassMutual, MM Catalyst Fund, and Clean Energy Ventures.

🧀 Change Foods, a Palo Alto, CA-based vegan cheese company, raised $12m in Seed funding from Route 66 Ventures, Upfield, Orkla, Green Generation Fund, Blue Horizon, and others.

⚡ Einhundert Energie, a Germany-based provider of green and digital smart services for tenants, raised $7.4m in Series A funding from EWE AG, NRW.Venture, Uebermorgen Ventures, Clima Now, Wi Venture, and Minol Messtechnik W Lehmann GmbH & Co KG.

♻️  Ace Green Recycling, an India-based battery recycling technology company, raised over $7m in funding from Circulate Capital, Climate Angels, and angel investors.

👕 Rubi Laboratories, a Sausalito, CA-based carbon-negative cellulosic textiles startup, raised $4.5m in Seed funding from Talis Capital, Necessary Ventures, Climactic, Collaborative Fund, Plug and Play, Incite Ventures, Darco Capital, Cayuse Partners, Axial VC, Climate Capital Collective, CapitalX, and angel investors.

🔋 Gouach, a France-based manufacturer of eco-designed batteries that can be repaired at mega-speed, raised $3.7m in Seed funding from Breega, Bpifrance, and others.

💨 Liefergrün, a Germany-based zero-emissions delivery startup, raised $3.4m in Seed funding from Speedinvest and Norrsken.

💨 Trace, an Australia-based carbon management platform, raised $1.9m in Seed funding from 5 Pillars Capital, The Fund, Epoch Capital, Existential Capital, and others.

🌱 GreenPod Labs, an India-based agri-biotech company focused on food waste, raised $568k in pre-Seed funding from Rockstart and Indian Angel Network.

💧 HYDROGRID, an Austria-based software startup for planning and dispatch of hydropower plants, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from SET Ventures and Constantia New Business.

Exits & New Funds:

Burnt Island Ventures raised $30m for early stage water-related companies.

Global Cleantech Capital announced the closing of its Fund III, focused on energy, mobility, and cities, at $75m.

EnergySage, the leading online comparison-shopping marketplace for renewables, was acquired by Schneider Electric.


In the News

Biden wants to revitalize American manufacturing—with a pro-climate lens. In a clean manufacturing announcement funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Biden directed a $9.5b investment in hydrogen technologies, procure low-carbon materials for future federal construction projects, and establish carbon trading policies to reward clean American industrial materials.

China’s central bank performed a climate stress test to assess default risk—and things didn’t go well. According to the bank’s vice governor, the  nation’s industrial and manufacturing sectors face serious risks from stranded assets and other climate “transition risks”. While Chinese banks uncovered their climate risks, US banks chose to ignore them. Last week, US banks pushed back Biden’s proposal to perform their own climate stress tests—characterizing climate-related risks quantification as unnecessary and premature…

Ford flirted with the idea of segmenting its electric vehicle operations—drawing excitement from the market. CEO Jim Farley hopes that a separate Ford EV co would gain the same market hype that Tesla and Rivian enjoy. The rumor looks like a play straight out of oil majors’ playbook—isolate their renewable and gas divisions to increase market cap.

Ford and Volvo joined Battery recycling startup, Redwood Materials, to launch a free EV battery recycling program, working with scrapyards and dealers to retrieve materials from spent batteries. With supply chain limitations affecting key inputs to battery manufacturing, Redwood Material’s program could close the loop on lithium and nickel supply.

After assessing how customers use Google’s cloud services, the tech giant found that idle projects on their servers produced over 600,000 kgCO2e of emissions last year. With some spring cleaning, Google now sends customers Active Assist recommendations to kill idle programs causing those emissions, a low-hanging energy efficiency solution - that decreases demand for their own product.


Pop-up

Goodie bag! Open-sourced resources for early-stage (pre)founders from Conscience VC, including lists of labs and sustainable packaging vendors.

BloombergNEF announces its 2022 BNEF Pioneer finalists in zero-emissions power, carbon removal, and low-carbon aviation, showcasing startups like Quaise, Twelve, and Charm Industrial.

A new spin on “floatovoltaics.” Project Nexus builds solar panels over California canals to generate clean energy and conserve water.

Reforestation is core to India’s climate plan. Here’s why it may not deliver.

DOE dishes the dough to 68 research projects spanning vehicle electrification, energy efficiency, offshore wind, and nuclear recycling.

New study shows that clean energy investments from bp, Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil don’t match their decarbonization claims.

Climate in the classroom. 100s of university climate courses in this syllabus bank. Meanwhile, Australian teachers turn to Minecraft to explain climate change to kids.

As American homeowners look to electrify, contractors confront retrofitting challenges.

More bang for your truck. By 2027, total cost of ownership for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles may be less than the cost of ICE alternatives.

NFTree. Carbon credit startup Moss sold 50 NFTs for the Amazon rainforest in less than an hour. They’re now reselling from $7,200-$290,000.


Opportunities & Events:

💡 Venture for Climatetech: Apply by March 4th to Cohort 2 for a chance to get $100k in non-dilutive funding, educational programming, and mentorship.

💡 US Bank Foundation Cleantech Inclusion Award: Climate tech entrepreneurs who are female and/or people of color can apply by Feb 25th to be considered for $25k of grant funding.

🗓️ Wood Harvesting and Storage: Tune in to This Is CDR on Feb 21st for a talk from Dr. Ning Zeng of the Carbon Lockdown Project about how to securely bury waste woody biomass.


Jobs

Managing Director, Americas @CREO

Associate @Fontinalis Partners

Director, Market Intelligence @Energy Foundry

Head of Business Development Supply @Greentrade

Business Development Manager @CarbonCure

Commercial Strategy Manager @Invaio Sciences

Frontend Software Engineer @Pearl Street Technologies

Senior Computer Vision Engineer/Scientist @Pano


Feel free to 📩 send us new ideas, recent fundings, events & opportunities, or general curiosities. Have a great week ahead!

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