64% of executives cringe on Net Zero goals

Plus, climate tech VC tops $17B last year, $1T reasons to love green infrastructure, climate CEO interview with David Energy, and the Iron Man invests in bamboo TP

Climate tech VC: $17B and 1,009 deals in 2020.

The bulk of that capital went to late stage VC, followed by angel investments, and then early stage VC in distant third place.

Read more from Bloomberg NEF (including a pretty graph showing funding from 2010-2021).

If you’re wondering whether this new term is just a clever rebranding of the once tarnished “cleantech” sector from 10+ years ago, well, kind of. But not exactly.

Both terms include renewable energy and transportation, but climate tech also includes agtech and foodtech, carbon capture and upcycling, geoengineering, and climate data and intelligence (“technologies for mapping carbon sinks/forests”).

It’s, like, so cool that the Iron Man is investing.

If you have any doubts about how cool climate tech is, just remember that the Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., has recently launched FootPrint Coalition Ventures, a “rolling fund” for the sector in partnership with AngelList, and has made five investments so far:

  • Arcadia Earth — augmented and virtual reality for environmental education

  • Cloud Paper — bamboo paper products

  • RWDC Industries — biovanescent materials to replace petroleum-derived plastics single-use consumer goods

  • Ÿnsect — natural insect protein and fertilizer production

  • Aspiration — clean, socially-conscious banking

Geek out further via Private Equity Wire.

Biden’s $2T infrastructure package is “yuuuge.”

I know, I know. How can the US government keep spending trillions of dollars without spoiling the economy for our kids and grandkids?

Not sure. But I do know that infrastructure bills are usually thought of as investments, not expenses.

To that end, what’s in this Green Deal-ish plan?

  • $700B — “improving resiliency against natural disasters; upgrading critical water, power and internet infrastructure; and rehabilitating and improving public housing, federal buildings and aging commercial and residential real estate”

  • $400B — “boosting domestic manufacturing of critical components like semiconductors; protecting against future pandemics; and creating regional innovation hubs to promote venture capital investment and startup development intended to ‘support the growth of entrepreneurship in communities of color and underserved communities’”

  • $66B — “upgrades to drinking water, wastewater and storm water systems and monitoring and managing the presence of contaminants in water”

  • $50B — “improve, protect and invest in underserved communities most at risk from climate disasters”

  • $21B — “waste remediation and cleanup”

  • $20B — “climate-focused research and demonstration projects for energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear and rare earth element separations, floating off shore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing and electric vehicles”

Dig deeper via TechCrunch.

Climate CEO interview: Wealth management for batteries.

That’s one of the sound bites from my Climate Torch podcast chat with James McGinniss, CEO of David Energy.

What do they do?

  • Operate as both an electricity retailer and behind-the-meter energy storage aggregator allowing the company to more accurately predict and control energy consumption, thereby saving consumers money on their monthly bills through the monetization of their storage assets.

Why the name David?

  • It’s the opposite of Goliath, of course.

Fun fact?

  • James spent four years as a surfing instructor on Long Island.

And the award for most books recommended on a podcast goes to…

  • Oh yeah, James is a reader. I think he shared 6-7 books on business and beyond before we finished.

To listen to our conversation or read the summary — click here.

Investor survey: 67% of execs think lack of financing is the biggest risk Net Zero goals.

Last week, British lender Standard Chartered revealed results from a survey of 250 executives about corporate climate commitments.

The results are sobering. Or perhaps predictable. And confusing, too, as if some respondents had two mouths instead of one.

  • 47% state that they fully support implementation of the Paris Agreement

  • 64% say it is not currently commercially viable to operate as a net-zero emissions business

  • 78% say most business leaders are failing to take sufficient action to transition their company by 2050

  • 67% believe the greatest barrier to net-zero transition is lack of financing

  • 71% think they’ll make the most progress between 2030 and 2050 (#NotMyJobToday)

Another survey of 100 investors showed that 93% believed the short tenure of the most chief executives limited their ability to act with long-term interests in mind. (#duh)

Do these survey results pour cold water and our sizzling hot climate headlines?

Don’t think so.

It’s a little bit like the difference between weather and climate.

The former is temporary. The latter is not.

This. Is. Happening.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

If you’ve got kids, you feel this.

If you’re past age 40, ditto.

And if you’re building a company, heck ya.

What would John Lennon say about it?

  • “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Just after I graduated from college, I put a 10-foot-long handmade poster of this quote on my living room wall.

When my roommate say it, he remarked:

  • “Life is what happens while you are busy making stupid posters.”

He was also the only man wearing a kilt at my wedding. And he wasn’t Scottish.

Nonetheless, touché, old friend.

And now, it’s time to end on a predictably cheesy quote about time…

As the iconic Buddhist master Donald Trump once said:

  • “I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is.”

Deep stuff, man.

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Make it a great week,


Dr. Chris Wedding
Founder and Chief Catalyst, Entrepreneurs for Impact
Peer-to-Peer Advisory Groups + Executive Coaching + Investor Intel for Climate CEOs