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  • #35. 🤑$100M Ocean/climate VC fund | 🇨🇭Swiss Re & Carbonfuture | 🚜Autonomous electric tractors

#35. 🤑$100M Ocean/climate VC fund | 🇨🇭Swiss Re & Carbonfuture | 🚜Autonomous electric tractors

PLUS: Vanguard quits Net Zero Asset Managers | Melting permafrost | Renewable energy insurance | Climate warming scenarios | Ultium & GM's batteries | Electrify America's new EV chargers

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🌡 CLIMATE CHANGE

The investment firm’s exit from Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM) underscores the need to implement legally binding climate change commitments and to hold accountable those who abandon their pro-climate pledges.

The new climate-tech investment firm Propeller is co-founded by former HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan, with a focus on startups involved with ocean carbon removal, algae packaging, offshore wind, desalination, and decarbonization of shipping vessels, all industries that Halligan views as tomorrow’s $1B ocean-tech startups, i.e., “narwhals.”

This is a relatively in-depth if somewhat high-level discussion on the potential impacts of thawing permafrost. The excess release of carbon could range from 55 billion to 232 billion tons of CO2 by the end of the century; in 2019 Russia released 46 billion tons, the US released 144 billion tons, and China release 277 billion tons. Another concern is failed building foundations as supportive ice melts and the ground sinks.

🔋 CLEAN ENERGY

The insurance industry may hesitate to support the renewable energy sector if it experiences another year of significant losses from natural disasters. This could hinder the growth and adoption of renewable energy technologies, which are critical for meeting global decarbonization goals. Insured losses from extreme weather events in the U.S. have increased 15x in the past thirty years; insurers are expected to pay out more than $300 million in claims related to wind and hailstorms in Texas this year alone, for instance.

Swiss insurance firm Swiss Re and carbon capture transparency company Carbonfuture’s deal is one of the largest carbon capture deals to date by volume. Carbonfuture helps to ensure that companies adhere both to reducing their carbon emissions and to participate in carbon removal solutions by validating the entire monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) stream.

This article highlights the upper and lower bounds of potential climate change scenarios, i.e., a world where global temperatures soar beyond 1.5°C before coming back down again, and one where they remain at or below 1.5°C due to effective carbon capture technologies and clean energy adoption.

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🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Ultium Cells — makers of GM’s Ultium brand of EV batteries — is a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solutions. The investment will increase battery cell production to 50 GHw, up from the 35 GWh initially planned, in order to meet GM’s rapidly accelerating EV transition. Even the Corvette name is now slated to be spun off into its own brand, with the iconic American sports car being joined by a Porsche Panamera-fighting four-door sedan, as well as a Macan- or Cayenne-targeting SUV, both of which will be electric.

Tractor maker CNH Industrial launched its T4 Electric Power light tractor prototype. The fully electric tractor includes semi-autonomous features in a bid to lower operating costs by 90% and reduce farmers’ time behind the wheel. The quieter operation will also allow night time work and minimize disruption to animals.

After a troublesome first deployment, Electricify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen created to offset the 2016 “Dieselgate” scandal, has just deployed some its next-gen EV chargers offering “hyper-fast” 350 kW charging; best of all, there’s no power sharing between charge points. (For comparison, due to its ubiquity and greater familiarity, Tesla’s Superchargers top out at 250 kW and two charge points will often share, and thus reduce maximum output.) This means power output will be vehicle-limited rather than infrastructure-limited. Everything from its payment methods (including RFID via your phone) to the physical cables themselves finally offers a Tesla-like experience for all non-Tesla vehicles.

🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!

Thank you so much for reading, see you tomorrow!-Marc

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