The UK’s climate policy rollback puts a damper on global climate talks
The Biden Administration wants to put the pedal to the metal on EV transition goals. New rules proposed by the EPA last week accelerate Biden’s prior EV exec orders and would put the US targets for decarbonizing transport ahead of the global pack. The potential emissions reductions are significant, but so are the potential speedbumps.
Meanwhile, Germany says farewell to its final nuclear reactors (sigh). Frontier adds carbon removal buying power. And climate dominates the agenda at the World Bank meeting.
In deals this week, lithium extraction tech attracts $50M from GM. Precision weed-control lasers raise $30M and modular, scalable hydroelectric draws $18M.
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The EPA is using its authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate tailpipe emissions and fortify federal support for EVs beyond Biden’s prior executive order mandates.
The proposed multi-pollutant emissions rule for vehicles in new model years 2027-2032 would further accelerate the Biden administration’s ambitious emissions reduction targets for transit.
What’s new: President Biden’s August 2021 executive order aimed for EVs to make up 50% of all new passenger vehicle sales in the US in 2030. The proposed EPA rule is expected to bump light-duty EV sales to 60% by 2030 and to 67% by 2032. A companion rule for heavy-duty transport would mandate that half of all buses and a quarter of heavy trucks sold be zero-emissions vehicles by 2032.
Why it matters: Transportation accounted for ~25% of CO2 emissions in the US last year and this push could cut those by half in the coming decade. Through 2055, the total projected net health and economic benefits of the EPA’s proposals range from ~$1T to $2T—along with more than 9B tons of avoided CO2.
In theory, the EPA rules, which are much more difficult for future administrations to walk back than an executive order—would put the US in line with Paris Agreement reduction targets and well ahead of other nations when it comes to the EV transition.
Reality check: The auto industry, however, has a long and expensive road ahead to make these zero-emissions transportation goals reality. EVs accounted for just 7.2% of US vehicle sales in Q1 2023.
Despite excitement in the climate community, others have free-market, labor, and consumer concerns about the EPA move:
Moving the goalposts on EV sales targets could also intensify the industry’s existing pain points:
⚡ SunPower, a San Jose, CA-based residential solar manufacturing and development company, raised $450M from HASI and Crédit Agricole.
🏠 Infogrid, a London, UK-based building management and efficiency startup, raised $90M in Series B funding and $30M in debt facilities from Northzone, Softbank Vision Fund, JLL Spark, The Venture Collective, Pictet Group, Original Capital, and Committed Capital.
⚒️ EnergyX, a Puerto Rico-based lithium extraction startup, is raising $50M in Series B funding from GM Ventures.
🌾 Carbon Robotics, a Seattle, WA-based AI-powered precision weed-control startup, raised $30M in Series C funding from Anthos Capital, FUSE, Ignition Partners, Liquid 2 Ventures, Sozo Ventures, and Voyager Capital.
☔️ ClimateAI, a San Francisco, CA-based climate resilience platform, raised $22M in Series B funding from Four Rivers Group, Yaletown Partners, Radical Ventures, Neotribe Ventures, and Academy Investor Network.
🌊 Emrgy, an Atlanta, GA-based modular, scalable hydroelectric solutions company, raised $18M in Series A funding from Blitzscaling Ventures, Fifth Wall, Oval Park Capital, Overlay Capital, and Veriten.
⚡️ Ryse Energy, an Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based decentralized renewable energy developer, raised $15M in Growth funding from RWE Energy Transition Investments.
💨 Noya, a San Francisco, CA-based direct air capture technology provider, raised $11M in Series A funding from Collaborative Fund, Union Square Ventures, Fifty Years, Lowercarbon Capital, Climate Capital, E..., Nexwell Group, and MCJ Collective.
🚢 Graphite Innovation & Technologies, a Halifax, Canada-based green marine coating systems company, raised $7M in Series A funding from BDC Venture Capital, Farvatn Venture, Invest Nova Scotia, Melancthon Capital, Seventure Partners, and Stolt Ventures.
🔋 Allotrope Energy, a Woking, United Kingdom-based battery manufacturing startup, raised $7M in Series A funding from Suzano Ventures.
🥩 Aqua Cultured Foods, a Chicago, IL-based seafood alternatives startup, raised $6M in Seed funding from Aera VC, Amplifica Capital, Aztec Capital, Big Idea Ventures, CJ CheilJedang Corp., H Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, Kingfisher Capital LLC, Stray Dog Capital, Supply Change Capital, and Swiss Pampa.
💸 Crux, a New York, NY-based IRA tax credits marketplace, raised $5M in Pre-Seed funding from Ardent Venture Partners, Lowercarbon Capital, Overture VC, and Three Cairns Group.
🔋 Haven Energy, a Los Angeles, CA-based residential energy storage startup, raised $4M in Seed funding from Giant Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Quantum Innovation Fund, and Raven One Ventures.
🏠 TablePointer, a Singapore-based energy management platform, raised $3M in Seed funding from AgFunder, ENGIE New Ventures, and Wavemaker Partners.
🍎 Bx Technologies, a London, UK-based food supply chain decarbonization platform, raised $2M in Seed funding from Counteract.
💨 Xilva, a Zürich, Switzerland-based regenerative forest investment marketplace, raised $2M in Pre-Seed funding from InsurTech.vc, Brainforest, and Bloomsbury Natural Capital.
🌾 Fashol, a Dhaka, Bangladesh-based retail network for agriculture, raised $1M in Pre-Seed funding from Ambareen Reza, Orbit Startups, SOSV and South Asia Tech Partners.
⚡ ️Veloce Energy, a Los Angeles, CA-based EV charging infrastructure platform, raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Ecliptic Capital and ITOCHU Corporation.
🚗 Ember, an Edinburgh, United Kingdom-based electric intercity travel startup, raised an undisclosed amount in Seed funding from Pale Blue Dot and Contrarian Ventures.
🌾 Solasta Bio, a Glasgow, United Kingdom-based green insecticides startup, raised an undisclosed amount from Scottish Enterprise and UK Research and Innovation.
🏠 Conduit Tech, a Somerville, MA-based data-driven HVAC company, raised an undisclosed amount in Seed funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Emerson Collective, Picus Capital, Pear VC, and Collaborative Fund.
⚡️ Fourier, a Palo Alto, CA-based modular, on-site hydrogen production startup, raised an undisclosed amount in Seed funding from General Catalyst.
☀️ Lightsource bp, a London, UK-based solar power developer, raised $327M from Entergy Arkansas LLC.
⚡️ Vibrant Energy, a Hyderabad, India-based renewable energy solutions company for C&I, raised $269M from Power Finance.
🏠 Myenergi, a Market Rasen, United Kingdom-based eco-smart home technology company, raised $37M from HSBC UK.
🥩 Liberation Labs, a Queens, NY-based precision fermentation platform for alt proteins, raised $30M.
⚡️ PurposeEnergy, an Arlington Heights, MA-based developer of renewable energy from organic waste, was acquired by Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners for an undisclosed amount.
💨 TeamClimate, a Vienna, Austria-based carbon-offsetting platform, was acquired by ClimateTrade for an undisclosed amount.
🔋 Eneon, a Markham, Canada-based provider of flexible battery energy storage system architecture, was acquired by USCE for an undisclosed amount.
🌱 Vitalmetrics, a Goleta, CA-based carbon emissions management software company, was acquired by Watershed for an undisclosed amount.
Galvanize Real Estate, a San Francisco, CA-based investment firm, launched a new sustainable real estate investment strategy, to tackle climate change through decarbonizing real estate.
Overwater Ventures, a San Francisco, CA-based investment firm, raised a $20M debut fund to invest in early-stage companies tackling human and planet health.
Future Ventures, a San Francisco, CA-based investment firm, raised another $200M fund, its third, to back disruptive technologies such as space exploration, sustainable transportation, and clean meat.
Oxus Visionary Fund, a Kazakhstan-based investment firm, raised a $200M fund to invest in companies tackling sustainability.
Restore Fund, Apple’s carbon removal project fund, raised another $200M to expand investments in carbon removal projects.
AGRI3 Fund, a fund created by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Rabobank which invests in deforestation efforts, raised $14M in equity funding from The Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Asahi Kasei, a Tokyo, Japan-based chemicals company, raised a $100M fund for its Care for Earth Fund, to invest in early-stage startups tackling issues such as hydrogen, energy storage and carbon management.
New members Autodesk, JP Morgan Chase, H&M Group, and Workday joined the Frontier Fund, adding $100M in additional commitments to purchase permanent carbon removal by 2030.
Just as the EPA announces tighter regulations for tailpipe emissions, one of the biggest EV battery recycling plants in North America opened its doors. The new Ascend Elements facility in Georgia has capacity to recycle batteries from ~70,000 EVs each year.
Interconnection queues jumped 40% in 2022, a trend that’s likely to keep getting worse until grid operators in the US can change the interconnection process. Read more about the backlog of wind and solar energy projects in our deep dive.
Sodium-ion could be the next big advance for batteries, and China is already ahead of the game. China’s CATL, the world’s largest EV battery maker, says it will integrate cheaper sodium cells with lithium cells for EV battery packs for the first time.
Climate was top of mind at last week’s Spring World Bank meeting. Ajay Banga, former CEO of Mastercard and President Biden's nominee to lead the World Bank, says climate change and inequality need to be addressed simultaneously. But countries are still asking for more climate commitments than they’re willing to fund.
After months of back and forth between California, Arizona, and Nevada over how to handle the shrinking of the Colorado River, the Biden administration proposed uniform water cuts to the three states that depend on the river. It would be a first in US history and an example of the political and social implications of worsening climate effects, as outside investors are profiting from California’s scarce groundwater.
Germany shut off its last nuclear plants on Saturday. The long-debated and once-delayed action comes amid European energy concerns and will require Germany to rely more on fossil fuels in the near-term, even as it aims to be carbon neutral by 2045.
The biggest banks on Wall Street aren’t keeping ESG promises. JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo are still financing too much fossil fuel expansion to meet 2030 global warming mitigation targets, according to a new study.
Pedro Pascal as IPCC reports. Need we say more?
Climate change is throwing some serious heat in baseball.
It’s not just that the ocean is rising. It’s also that the land is sinking.
A growing startup directory of AI/ML + climate companies.
Climate-exacerbated floods have been flushing through Queens, and are impacting immigrant communities disproportionately.
NASA launches a startup studio with a climate focus—bringing space tech down to Earth.
In 2021, the oceans absorbed heat equivalent to 7 Hiroshima atomic bombs detonating each second for a year. Oceans have absorbed ⅓ of the CO2 emitted by humans since the Industrial Revolution. Can removing carbon from the seas help mitigate climate change?
Going off-grid is the latest luxury. Biden’s tax benefit could actually accelerate inequality by allowing wealthy homeowners to become energy self-sufficient and avoid contributing to —or paying for—power generation.
CEO of Politico’s parent company, Axel Springer, questions whether global warming is really such a bad thing in leaked messages.
🗓️ WoCl Talent Transition Summit: Virtually join the first annual WoCl Talent Transition Summit on Apr 20th, addressing why it’s so hard to find a climate job, and what we can do about it.
🗓️ Future Climate Venture Studio Showcase: Join this in person or virtually on Apr 20th to hear from six climate tech startups that have been engaging at the intersection of university research, local government, and GTM-support from UConn, various state of Connecticut agencies, and R/GA Ventures.
🗓️ Axios Pro Energy Chat: Register to virtually join Axios Pro’s Energy Policy Chat on Apr 21st, where they’ll host Steny H. Hoyer and Jared Huffman to discuss the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
💡AngloAmerican Innovation Challenge: Apply to AngloAmerican’s Innovation Challenge to receive support for your steel decarbonization technologies from technical and commercial experts. Apply by Apr 30th to be considered for an invitation to the EIT RawMaterials Summit in Brussels, and generally by May 22nd.
🗓️ InnovationZero: Attend InnovationZero Congress from May 24th-25th to hear from thousands of policymakers, innovators, and entrepreneurs on the state of decarbonization and cleantech. The event, which features over 250 speakers, is headlined by InnovateUK and endorsed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Founder, Solving Inland Urban Water Scarcity @Deep Science Ventures
Data Engineer @CTVC
Senior Expert - Environmental & Social Management @Finance in Motion
Senior Project Development Engineer @Finance in Motion
Senior Investment Manager in Renewables @Finance in Motion
Energy Systems Research Scientist @Toyota Research Institute
Director of Marketing & Communications @Pearl Street Technologies
Feel free to 📩 send us new ideas, recent fundings, events & opportunities, or general curiosities. Have a great week ahead!
The UK’s climate policy rollback puts a damper on global climate talks
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