🦜 ClimateHack Vol 4: Biodiversity and Climate

PLUS: global heatwaves are affecting your favorite Italian foods

Hey ClimateHackers - hope everybody's holding up okay with the heat this week?

My saving grace has been popping a few bottles of water in the freezer over night along with some frozen fruit to snack on during the day.

Plus it helps that my apartment gets no direct sunlight. Something I first considered a downside but has quickly become my favorite feature this summer.

What’s in today's edition? 

🌡 Soaring temperatures affect Italian food staples.🌎 Collab SOS is a new $200 million climate focussed fund.🦜 Conversation on the impact of biodiversity with Jess at Planet A.

Digest x Climate

📈 Whats up? There are dangerous heatwaves in parts of China, Europe and the US this week, and it’s only going to get worse as temperatures continue to soar and extreme weather affects everything from food and health to transport and energy. 

📉 Whats down? An alliance of major fashion brands is pausing use of the sustainability index tool due to claims of greenwashing (which are totally justified, we might add).

🌿 Researchers at the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Bristol claim that the quantity of carbon stored by plankton will grow over the next century.

📊 Stat: The value of recycled solar-panel material could skyrocket from $170 million this year to $2.7 billion in 2030, per an analysis from Rystad Energy.

Funds x Climate 

💸 Systemiq Capital Fund raised $70 million at the first close of its second fund, which is looking to raise $200 million in total to invest in ​​companies working on sustainable food and materials, clean transport, climate intelligence and finance, and climate restoration.

🌎 Collab SOS is a new $200 million fund by Collaborative Fund to support Series A and B companies working towards a more sustainable economy through materials, ingredients, energy, and supply chains.

💰 International venture capital firm Cathay Innovation launched a €1 billion fund to support sustainable startups across software, AI, fintech, digital health, and consumer tech.

🇦🇺 Qantas Super and the CEFC have each invested into a new $100 million venture capital fund, the Ellerston 2050 Fund, to support small to mid-sized companies working on technology designed to help Australia reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

🇪🇺 The EU is investing over €1.8 billion in 17 large-scale clean tech projects located across Europe, covering decarbonisation efforts such as green hydrogen, waste-to-hydrogen, offshore wind, manufacturing of photovoltaic modules, battery storage and recycling, carbon capture and storage, sustainable aviation fuels, and advanced biofuels.

🇳🇬 Nigeria’s Persistent Energy raised $10 million Series C funding to grow its climate venture building business in Africa. Its portfolio companies provide domestic, commercial and industrial solar solutions and deliver e-mobility solutions and ecosystem building.

Food x Climate 

📊 A new report from the Boston Consulting Group shows that a plant-based diet is the best investment for reducing the impact of climate change.

🍝 The costs of Italian food staples such as olive oil, passata and arborio rice are flying up by as much as 50% due to ongoing droughts in Northern Italy.

🍓 Foodberry has developed innovative snacking products that are fresh and packaging-free, with outer “skins” that are edible and self-contained.

🇦🇪 The United Arab Emirates announced a $2 billion investment to develop a series of “food parks” in India, which bring farmers, processors and retailers together using advanced climate technology to minimise waste, conserve water and maximise crop yields, designed tol help to tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East.

💰 Global sustainability platform abillion’s members and content creators have so far collectively earned and donated $2 billion to its coalition of partners since its inception in 2018. 

Carbon x Climate

🇨🇦 CleanO2 Carbon Capture Technologies, based in Canada, closed a $2.75 million CAD seed round led by Regeneration.VC to address fugitive carbon emissions from commercial building heating systems through patented carbon capture units.

🚗 Heritage British car brand Rolls-Royce secured a £3 million government grant to further develop its carbon capture technology, following initial funding in 2021.

🏭 The new SeaCURE carbon capture pilot plant is underway at the SEA LIFE Centre in Weymouth, UK, thanks to a £3 million government grant. Its system uses renewable energy to remove carbon from seawater, then releases that seawater back to the ocean where it naturally replenishes the lost CO₂ by taking carbon from the atmosphere.

☁️ The UK’s Greenpixie raised £250,000 in a round led by Ascension to further develop its Cloud NetZero product, designed to monitor carbon emissions within cloud computing.

🇳🇴 Amadeus Ventures made an undisclosed investment into Norwegian climate tech Chooose, which specialises in the integration of climate action options in the customer booking process, offering solutions to help them reduce their carbon footprint.

🤝 Microsoft has signed a 10-year deal with Swiss direct-air capture company Climeworks, marking its first long-term foray into carbon removal as part of its climate commitments.

Energy x Climate

🔋 A “landmark experiment” by scientists at the Joint European Torus in the UK has set a new record for generating energy from nuclear fusion, producing 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds, enough power to boil about 60 kettles (very important in tea-drinking country).

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland’s SSE Thermal and Equinor are working on the country’s first “flexible power station”, equipped with carbon capture technology, with a capacity up to 910 megawatts.

Conversations x Climate: Biodiversity

This week I reached out to Jessica Burley, investment analyst at Planet A. Jessica studied Politics and International Relations at Cambridge and worked as a Climate Venture Researcher for the United Nations. She got deeper into the world of climate tech when leading the authorship team for the European chapter of the world's first textbook on lab-grown meat and developed this interest by working at a pre-seed sustainability startup, before joining Planet A. 

Biggest area(s) in climate you’d like to see more founders working on and investment going to?

Conserving and replenishing biodiversity.

Though this is often seen as a separate and (wrongly) smaller crisis from that of climate, they are actually intertwined. We critically need biodiversity for our ecosystems to regenerate and function, which is vital to any return to planetary health and adapting to the climate changes already set in motion.

The solutions are likewise twinned, as restoring and protecting land and ocean ecosystems sequesters carbon dioxide while providing refuge for biodiversity. In fact, restoring 30% of lands converted to farming in biodiverse areas could sequester almost half of all the CO2 released since the Industrial Revolution and prevent over 70% of projected extinctions of mammals, birds and amphibians.

On the other hand, if we ignore biodiversity in our climate fight, continued damage to ecosystems is expected to drain nearly $10tn from the global economy by 2050, as currently 10,000 species are lost to extinction each year at a rate one thousand times faster than any other period in history.

Biodiversity is facing a double threat from human activity associated with increasing globalisation, such as pollution and invasive species, and climate change increasing the number of natural disasters, such as forest fires, flooding and coral bleaching.

Fortunately, the amalgamation of political, public, and corporate attention and pressure is creating scalable biodiversity business cases. In particular, the European Union's new CSRD proposal foresees biodiversity reporting requirements for over 50k European companies.

Exciting solutions range from monitoring and disclosing through to regenerative land management, some examples include:

🔦 Monitoring and disclosure, such as NatureMetrics, Sfeeri, Pivotal, and Plan Blue🌾 Regenerative agriculture, such as Klim and Agreena🤖 Tech-enabled land restoration, such as DroneSeed and Dendra Systems🐼 Support for endangered and/or important species, such as 3bees, Bee Hero, SafetyNet Technologies🔥 Protection against natural disasters, such as ConstellR, Dryad Networks, and Overstory🥤 Clearing up pollution, such as Bluumbio, Poliloop, WildPlastic and OceanBottle

One area I am expecting to see more innovation is the creditisation of biodiversity, much like that of carbon. Considering that companies with net-zero commitments for carbon together represent sales of nearly $14 trillion, if done well, creditising biodiversity - both as a credit in its own right and twinned as a “co-benefit” to carbon - could enable massive capital allocation to projects vital to fighting these joint crises.

💡Jess is an investment analyst at Planet A - follow them on Linkedin where they regularly put out interesting data and insights on the climate sectors. 

Memes x Climate

🔭 NASA shared the deepest infrared image of the universe ever captured, courtesy of the James Webb Space Telescope. Here's how we feel about it:

That's all for today, have a great weekend ahead, drink loads of cold water, and don't forget to wear sunscreen!

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Curated by Nicola & Arman

Until next time 👋

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