Climate tech execs anticipate market benefits as COP26 summit amplifies role of private sector

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Columbia Power Technologies (C-Power) this fall is conducting a sea trial of the Seray autonomous offshore power system at a US Navy test site in Hawaii. The system delivers energy through wave power that can be used to power underwater vehicles and open ocean environmental sensors. (C-Power Photo)

The stakes were incredibly high for the UN’s COP26 climate summit. The world is already feeling the harmful effects of a world that has warmed by 1.1°C since pre-industrial times. In the Pacific Northwest that includes last summer’s heat dome and scorching fires. time is of the essence.

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So were the talks successful? Are there any plans to limit warming to 1.5 degrees after the demand?

Very short answer is no. New commitments set world on track to warm 2.4 degrees climate action tracker research Group.


But the importance of climate convention has not been captured in national deals alone. It is also important to take the pulse of key players in the fight against warming, including climate tech leaders. The performance in the space attended or attended the Glasgow Conference pointed to a number of positive outcomes.

C-Power CEO Reinst Leisemann. (C-Power Photo)

“However, the talks between the nations may not have garnered the limelight as expected,” said reinst lesmann, CEO of Wave Energy Company c-powerThe vigorous performance of the event by the private sector makes it optimistic.

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Climate tech companies of all sizes as well as financial institutions at large participated in the summit. Leasemann said that represented an estimated $125 trillion in investment capital.

Former Sen. John Kerry, America’s special presidential envoy for climate, in his remarks at COP26, echoed the essential role that businesses are playing in addressing the greater challenge.

“Not only are companies ahead of the government, but companies understand that their future is tied to a stable market,” Kerry said. quoted by bloomberg,

The talks made gains in important policy areas, including hashing out rules to set up a carbon market to trade greenhouse gas offsets, a treaty on methane reductions, and language about curbing coal use. One of the great disappointments was the failure of the wealthier nations to be hit hard by the heat because of the lack of funds for the developing world.

Much of the progress was captured in squishy, ​​non-binding agreements, the benefits of which depend on the policies being made by the leaders of nations after their return home.

Read on for takeaways from Pacific Northwest-based climate tech execs.

An artist’s rendering of the Electric Era battery system installed on a DC fast charging station. The startup notes that the device has a small footprint that is easily integrated into a station. (Electric Age Image)

, c-powerLeasemann, who attended the summit, hoped that COP26 helped open more eyes to the critical need for innovation. His own company grew out of Oregon State University more than a decade ago and recently launched an offshore power system of its own in Hawaii, where it is undergoing sea trials.

“Even beyond COP, there’s a realization that ‘hardware-light’ isn’t going to solve the problem and that massive returns can be found to those who can and do lead in space,” Lessemann said by email. said.

Nori’s CEO Paul Gambil. (nori photo)

, One of the major achievements of the Climate Meeting was the creation of accounting rules for carbon offsets that capture or remove carbon from the atmosphere. While it may sound like a dreary description, the rules are necessary for governments, businesses and landowners seeking credit for decarbonizing efforts and to prevent double counting of carbon reductions. nori, a Seattle-based marketplace for buying carbon offsets from farmers, hailed the rules.

“It is a victory for the climate that these double-entry bookkeeping rules have been adopted internationally,” said Nori CEO paul gambil, And he thinks this could benefit his startup.

“We are the most prepared market in the industry for these new double-entry ledger rules,” he said, “because we transparently record every transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.”

, “COP26 makes it even more clear that we need to think about the fuller picture of renewable energy development, including the impact on people and communities around the world,” said Bryce Smith, CEO levelten energy,

LevelTen Energy CEO Bryce Smith. (Levelten Photo)

The Seattle-based company facilitates the purchase of renewable energy and this summer announced a $35 million fundraising round. In September, it was a founding signatory of 24/7 carbon free energy compact, a coordinated effort by the United Nations and others to green the world’s electricity supply.

company on monday launched a product To promote the development of renewable energy projects that go beyond their decarbonization benefits. The tool scores projects based on community, conservation and climate impacts.

Quincy Lee, CEO and co-founder of Electric Era. (electric age photo)

, quincy lee is the CEO and co-founder of electric age, a Seattle startup that is designing and manufacturing battery systems for electric vehicle charging stations. He was paying particular attention to COP26’s “electro-mobility” agreement, which set dates for the abandonment of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.

agreement states: “Together, we will work towards all sales of zero-emissions new cars and vans globally by 2040, and subsequently in key markets by 2035.”

It was signed by governments representing Seattle, Washington State, California, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and dozens of others. The US, Germany and China were not signatories, but Li expects a positive impact nonetheless.

“The COP26 e-mobility target will accelerate the demand for Electric Era’s batteries for EV fast charging stations globally,” Li said. “These goals are best complimented by private sector commitments such as Amazon’s purchase of 100,000 Rivian electric delivery vans.”

COP26 News from Tech Titans

Some of the biggest companies and most influential leaders in the Pacific Northwest took the opportunity to make their own COP26 announcements around carbon-cutting efforts.

, Bill Gates: The Microsoft co-founder has invested in climate-related efforts over the years, including the TerraPower nuclear company in Bellevue, Wash., and plant-based meat substitutes. He forayed into the climate sector in a big way with the launch of Breakthrough Energy Ventures in 2016, which this year expanded into the umbrella organization Breakthrough Energy. Gates’ COP26 Announcements:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Pledge $315 million Supporting agricultural research to help farmers in developing countries combat climate change.
  • US-led Net-Zero World Initiative was launched and Breakthrough Energy is one of its private partners. This effort will help countries achieve their carbon pledges.
  • Breakthrough Energy announced extended partnership Mission Innovation, with a coalition of 22 countries and the European Commission. Both organizations will identify, invest and deploy decarbonizing technologies.
  • Breakthrough Energy’s Catalyst Program announced $1.5 billion from private partners to invest in climate technology innovations.

, Amazon: Ahead of the climate summit, Amazon began building a decarbonization coalition with its Climate Pledge, an effort launched in 2019 with some 200 signatories. Its COP26 initiatives include:

  • The private sector is the anchor for a global effort called Amazon LEAF (Reducing Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance), which announced $1 billion in funding for countries and states pledging to protect tropical and subtropical forests.
  • The company joined with Seattle-area company Alaska Airlines to form the Aviators Group as part of an effort Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance. The new group, which includes JetBlue and United Airlines, is focusing on investing in sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs).

— Jeff Bezos: In February 2020, Bezos launched his $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund, his largest climate action initiative to date. His COP26 news:

  • The fund joins the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ikea Foundation announcement of Creation of the Global Energy Alliance, a program to invest in renewable energy projects in developing countries. Bezos’ fund is contributing $500 million to this $10.5 billion initiative.
  • Bezos announced plans for $2 billion of his fund: programs supporting land restoration and food production.

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