October 18, 2022
Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Happy Tuesday, Protocol Climate pals. We’re here today to share a few exclusives. First, we’re talking with a new nonprofit that channels philanthropy to carbon removal. Then, we’re diving into a report on the Inflation Reduction Act’s secret superpower. We also have Olivia Wilde’s salad dressing recipe. Or do we? You’ll have to read on to find out.
Tech companies have gone all in on carbon dioxide removal. Now philanthropists are following suit. The nonprofit Terraset exited stealth mode on Tuesday and shared its mission exclusively with Protocol.
There’s a gap in how carbon removal gets funded. Tech leaders have committed to spending more than$1 billion on the industry’s services, while venture capitalists have done deals galore. Until now, though, individuals who want to pool their resources to pay for carbon removal and help the industry gain a toehold have had very few options outside purchasing services from direct air capture company Climeworks.
Terraset already has some big donors — but it’s also accessible to anyone with an interest in giving money to sucking carbon from the sky.
The nonprofit has already funded two startups. Initial donations have been used to back Charm and Heirloom, two of the proliferating number of CDR providers.
— Michelle Ma
Tired: the Inflation Reduction Act’s electric passenger vehicle tax credits.
Wired: the IRA’s EV tax credits for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
A lot of digital ink has been spilled about nearly all aspects of the $7,500 EV tax credit. But the law may have an even bigger impact on electrifying medium- and heavy-duty trucking. A new report shared exclusively with Protocol reveals just how big an impact the under-the-radar tax credits could have on cleaning up one of the dirtiest segments of the transportation sector.
The IRA has some unprecedented tax credits for delivery vans, long-haul trucks, buses, and more. Among them are a $7,500 credit for light- and medium-duty vehicles and $40,000 for heavy-duty trucks. Those credits don’t come with any requirements for where battery components and minerals can be sourced from or how much vehicles cost, both of which are facets of the passenger EV tax credits.
It’s not just tax credits for fleet EVs that could speed their adoption. The IRA essentially turned to the EV industry and Oprah’d it with tax credits. Beyond the vehicles, charging also got a huge boost with tax credits of up to $100,000 per charger.
Regulations could further tip the scales. Carrots won’t get us to full electrification, tasty as they may be. Sticks will also play a role in convincing fleet owners that electric options are the best ones.
Read the full story here.
— Brian Kahn
Ever since the pandemic put the evolution of everything in hyperdrive, marketers realized the old categories of B2B, B2C, and B2B2C were obsolete. Starting in 2020, our profession embraced the Business to People (B2P) paradigm. Business, fundamentally, is relationships among people. Even in the biggest enterprises, those making momentous decisions are still people.
Carbon removal will likely play some role in reaching net zero. But doing so will require huge amounts of energy. It takes around 1,200 kilowatt-hours to remove a ton of carbon from the sky using direct air capture. That could be a barrier to widespread use, according to MIT Energy Initiative’s senior research engineer Howard Herzog.
The carbon removal industry expects to scale to capture billions of tons per year. That could put it in direct competition with renewable needs for other purposes like, say, keeping the lights on. (For reference, the average American home uses a little less than 900 kilowatt-hours of energy per month.) Capturing “just” 1 billion tons would essentially require all of the carbon-free energy that’s available today, including nuclear.
The high energy use also hides carbon removal’s true cost, according to Herzog, who did the energy use analysis and is skeptical the industry can reach its target price point of $100 per ton.
DAC’s high energy use points to the value of decarbonizing everything as fast as possible. One ton of carbon that doesn’t make it into the atmosphere today is one less to remove tomorrow. And that means less conflict over future renewable energy.
– Michelle Ma
Climate tech is a bright spot in the bleak venture capital landscape. Startups in climate and energy represented five of the top 10 equity deals in the third quarter.
The Nikola saga ended in a guilty verdict. Trevor Milton, the founder of the EV company Nikola, was convicted of multiple counts of fraud after lying to investors about the company’s technology.
E-waste is an underutilized source of critical minerals. Only an average of 17% of e-waste is recycled, which means vast amounts of resources needed by the energy transition are being, well, wasted.
Carbon capture is a secret water hog. Using it at scale could double the entire world’s water use.
California’s Prop 30 has become a tech battleground. The ballot measure would tax the state’s richest residents to subsidize the EV transition. Lyft supports it, while an array of tech leaders, including Netflix’s Reed Hastings and OpenAI’s Sam Altman (plus Gov. Gavin Newsom), oppose it.
The pandemic has been a global event that, somewhat paradoxically, put an intense spotlight on the personal. In a marketing context, it underlined the centrality of supporting customers’ purpose – personal and organizational – and the need to serve the customers’ customer hierarchy of needs as those needs change over time.
Thanks for reading! As ever, you can send any and all feedback as well as salad dressing recipes to email@example.com. See you Thursday!