July 7, 2022
Photo: Daimler AG
Good morning, dear readers. Our intrepid leader, Brian, is taking a well-deserved stint of vacation this week, so I (Lisa) am at the helm. First, a close look at U.S. attitudes toward purchasing an electric vehicle, followed by news of a new media outfit wedging climate tech solutions into social media feeds. Let’s get to it!
The share of the public who say they currently own an electric vehicle is vanishingly small, at just 2% of U.S. adults. But a new survey commissioned by Consumer Reports finds that the potential market is significantly bigger than that — good news for those hoping to electrify transportation as quickly as possible.
The privileged among us tend to be the most EV-interested. Consumer Reports found that men are more likely than women to say they would “definitely” or “seriously” consider an EV. So, too, are those with higher levels of education or income.
Charging logistics tops the list of EV reservations. When asked what their primary barriers are, EV skeptics listed charging logistics (61% of respondents), vehicle range (55%) and overall costs (52%).
Much of the public is unaware of EV incentives available to purchasers. Nearly half (46%) of U.S. adults have heard nothing about them, suggesting there are some major educational hurdles to mass EV adoption.
For more details on the survey, keep an eye on Protocol Climate later today.
Photo: Pique Action
So many elements of the climate story — rising emissions, lack of action, extreme weather — are decidedly depressing. But one new media company, Pique Action, is instead zeroing in on more promising developments, creating good-news videos about climate tech that are fit for the social media age.
Pique Action closed a $1 million pre-seed funding round this week, the company shared exclusively with Protocol, having only launched last October. The VC fund Amasia led, with contributions from Baruch Future Ventures and Fairbridge Park.
The company’s aim: “the opposite of doomscrolling.” In practice that means producing short videos — or “microdocumentaries,” as it calls them — highlighting promising founders and technologies that could have a real impact in mitigating the worst of climate change.
It’s starting with the smallest of small screens. Pique Action already has a healthy TikTok following, and over 7 million views across multiple social media platforms.
And more climate tech stories are on the horizon. Pique Action has a green jobs series in the works as well as a number of more explanatory projects on the occasionally unwieldy vocabulary that the climate tech space demands.
The emissions that make up a full greenhouse gas footprint can emanate from outside the four walls of your own manufacturing operations, like in the case of PepsiCo, where 93% of emissions come from its value chain.
Northvolt, a Swedish battery company, secured $1.1 billion in its latest fundraising round, courtesy of backers including Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Volkswagen AG, Baillie Gifford & Co. and AP Funds. The company plans to use the funds to expand its European production amid a market that CEO Peter Carlsson characterized as “incredibly strong.”
The French startup Electra, which operates electric vehicle fast-charging stations, raised roughly $163 million in a funding round led by Eurazeo.
Indonesia’s Octopus aims to divert waste from landfills through recycling and reuse, and it raised $5 million in its latest funding round, led by Openspace and SOSV.
Blackstoneplans to pour $400 million into Xpansiv, an environmental commodity exchange.
The sustainable infrastructure investor Actistook a stake in the Latin American renewable energy giant Omega Energia.
And in funder news, the climate-focused fund Climentumclosed its debut $157 million fund, which is aimed at speeding up Europe’s energy transition.
Solar keeps getting more expensive: Polysilicon prices have risen for the sixth week in a row.
Rockets: not climate tech. A collection of intrepid researchers found that private space projects by the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are both contributing to climate change and damaging the ozone layer.
Ford had a banner month in June,helped along by the long-awaited arrival of its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.
An administrative duel has commenced: In the wake of an SEC proposal that would require businesses to disclose their climate impact, auditors and consultants are feuding over who is better equipped to take on verifying the data.
Even trees have their limits. There simply is not enough land to grow the trees we would need to capture enough carbon to mitigate climate change’s worst impacts. This comic strip explains the conundrum.
Time to amp up spending to stop methane in its tracks, and not by a little. A new study found that we need to spend $110 billion per year to stop emissions of the super-polluting greenhouse gas.
Asking suppliers and associated companies to overhaul the way they work is no small feat, but PepsiCo is taking a three-pronged approach centered around the principles of educating, enabling and incentivizing. The Sustainability Action Center aims to engage and equip value chain partners with tools to undergo their own sustainability journey.
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