Of this week Current Climatewhich brings you the latest news on the sustainability profession every Saturday. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every week.
vEnture capital firms funneled $9 billion into 273 climate tech startups in the first quarter of this year, according to an analysis released this week by PitchBook. That was $2.2 billion less than the average $11.2 billion invested per quarter in 2021. This was not unexpected, as the Russian war in Ukraine began in the early months of this year and market volatility, rising inflation and recession continued. We could see further declines in the second quarter due to fears.
But after that, investment could pick up. “In the long run, the attack on Ukraine and the ensuing call for energy independence in Europe will accelerate investment in climate technology, namely hydrogen, solar, batteries, nuclear and wind,” says the PitchBook report. Another headwind: the rule proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in March to require publicly traded companies to disclose certain climate-related risks, including greenhouse gas emissions.
In the first quarter, more than $2.5 billion went to food systems startups, meaning companies are developing alternative proteins, indoor and alternative farming methods, and other agtech products. The largest deal was a $400 million Series E round for indoor vertical farming company Plenty led by One Madison Group and JS Capital, with participation from Walmart and SoftBank Vision Fund 1. Other deals include a $387 million Series C for the cultured meat startup UPSIDE Foods, a $136 million Series B for plant-based meat alternative startup Redefine Meat and a $130 million Series B for cowless dairy startup Remilk.
The Great Lecture
Yellowstone will remain closed all weekend due to historic floods and mudslides
Yellowstone National Park is closed due to flooding and mudslides that have destroyed roads and bridges, and northern parts of the park may remain closed all season. Days of unrelenting rain and melting snow led to a rise of more than 14 feet in the Yellowstone River, a historic event that climate experts say could happen more often. A climate assessment report published last year found that watershed temperatures in the greater Yellowstone area rose by 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit between 1950 and 2018. Read more here.
Discoveries and innovations
Sesame Solar Energy unveiled its renewable mobile nanogrids priced from $100,000 to $300,000, which the Jackson, Michigan-based company says can start generating power in 15 minutes.
About 700 companies on the Forbes Global 2000 have net zero emissions targets, up from 417 in 2020, though nearly two-thirds lack concrete details, according to the latest assessment of climate commitments by the Net Zero Tracker partnership.
Drought conditions in southern Iraq, the 3,400-year-old city of Zakhiku resurfaced from the waters of the Tigris River several months earlier this year, allowing archaeologists to find rare artifacts, including cuneiform tablets.
Sustainability deals of the week
Adani group, led by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, has struck a deal with TotalEnergies in which the French energy company will acquire a 25% minority stake in Adani New Industries. The companies will invest $50 billion in green hydrogen over the next ten years, with the goal of producing 1 million tons annually by 2030.
Travertine technologies came out of stealth this week with $3 million in seed funding led by Grantham Environmental Trust and Clean Energy Ventures to commercialize its system to capture carbon dioxide and co-produce sulfuric acid for fertilizer production.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Backed Crop Health Startup Enko has acquired DNA-encoded libraries from the drug discovery company X-Chem that will help train machine learning models and screen billions of molecules for new ways to control pests and diseases that affect crops.
Menlo Park, California has entered into a public-private partnership with a climate technology company BlocPower to electrify more than 10,000 homes by 2030 as the city aims to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality. The voluntary program includes the installation of heat pumps, charging stations for electric vehicles and solar and battery storage.
on the horizon
The United Nations’ Africa Climate Week will take place from August 29 to September 1 in Libreville, Gabon. It is an opportunity to discuss regional climate plans with governments, the private sector and NGOs ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference known as COP27 in Egypt in November.
What else are we reading this week
In the hottest city on Earth, moms are hardest hit by climate change (Reuters)
EPA warns toxic ‘forever chemicals’ more dangerous than once thought (The Washington Post)
BP’s $36 billion project highlights massive green hydrogen hubs (Bloomberg)
Green transport update
lIt wouldn’t be a normal week in the clean transportation world without a lot of Tesla and Elon Musk news. The leading electric vehicle seller has made some pretty hefty price increases across its lineup, most notably increasing the base price of the Model Y by $3,000. It is now down to $65,990 from $62,990. Add a color other than Pearl White or Silver Metallic, the company’s controversial “Full Self Driving” option and taxes and customers will spend over $80,000. That’s because Elon Musk is delivering on his promise to cut about 10% of Tesla’s workforce, and the company is working to get production back to normal in China. All in all, the company is experiencing a turbulent quarter.
The big transport story
Carbon fiber wheels could be the next boost for electric vehicle range
Given the cost and mass of batteries, maximizing energy efficiency is critical for electric vehicles to get the most range with the least amount of battery. Read more here.
More green transport news
Will Ferrari switch to electric open the door to Lamborghini, Aston Martin?
Renault joins the EV Sound Wars, with 90s icon Jean Michel Jarre
The happiness of electric cars turns to anger when the real range becomes clear
Road suction vent touted as anti-pollution technology that could avoid motor vehicle ban
Sony and Honda sign joint venture to sell electric cars by 2025 (Reuters)
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