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Published: Jan 5, 2021
By: Capital Impact Capital

Format: Newsletter

CIC Outlook for 2021

Climate Impact Capital would like to wish you a healthy, prosperous, and impactful 2021. In that spirit, we would like to share some of our year-end thoughts and discuss opportunities for the future.

What will we remember about 2020 when we look back in 10 years? Surely, COVID-19 will top the list with its impact on every sector and corner of the globe. With the continued loss of life for too many and loss of livelihood for even more, there has not been such a global disruption since WWII.

Though, perhaps we will also remember 2020 as a silver lining. In particular, multiple COVID-19 vaccines were developed and deployed in record time, a true testament to the resilience, innovativeness, and determination of many dedicated scientists and organizations. The technical work has been ongoing for decades, but the collaboration between science, investment, and policy to rally a solution to COVID-19 accelerated its fruition.

In 2020, we learned some big lessons in crises preparation and management:1

URGENCY – Climate change is as present in our lives as Covid-19
SOCIAL JUSTICE – Crises disproportionately affect marginalized groups
INNOVATION – Entrepreneurial tenacity creates needed solutions
TRANSPARENCY – Action and discourse work only if informed by data
COLLABORATION – Policy and investment accelerate global implementation

If we nothing else, the takeaway from 2020 is the value of action today versus the cost of disaster tomorrow. During COVID, we learned the danger of short-term horizons and the risk to the just-in-time supply chain. We narrowly avoided double disasters, globally, with the coincidence of natural disasters during COVID. Considering what could’ve been, we hope in 2021, we realize the gravity of the Climate Change crisis and the need for a swift response today. We applaud the many companies that committed to net zero targets in 2020, but targets 30 years in the future are not a swift response by any measure.

Climate Impact Capital is fortunate to have weathered 2020, and we are applying these lessons to address climate change in a holistic manner before the climate crisis results in an irreversible pandemic from which we may never recover.  CIC’s work exists at this very crossroads – linking science and investment to advance innovation and deployment. The need is global and the ask is huge – solve humanity’s most critical crisis while keeping the global economy afloat and uplifting marginalized populations.

And while the challenges may seem too big to overcome, we have many opportunities within our grasp.  We believe that the energy and venture capital industries can move quickly to a new COLLABORATIVE model to (re)build a sustainable infrastructure for the future and to create a pathway to social justice and climate impact in this decade. Our “unlikely” partners include oil & gas, power utilities, OEMs, and private/public capital. Together, we can work towards resiliency and sustainability in three major connected areas of what we see as the future circular economy:

    • Mobility: Developing (1) global scale transportation solutions through ammonia and hydrogen and (2) local consumer mobility options through EVs and charging infrastructure
    • Power: Integrating building energy systems with EVs and developing low-cost regional renewable generation that optimizes the low-medium voltage infrastructure into a resilient smart grid
    • Heavy Industry: Combining cement, steel, and petrochemicals with CCUS technology for high-value products that will build smart grid and mobility solutions

CIC’s work advances innovation strategies connecting these areas and diverse stakeholders. We are hopeful 2021 will bring more collaborative efforts and accelerate our mutual goal to create climate change resiliency. Reach out to us to discuss how we can work together.

With Best Wishes,
The Climate Impact Capital Team

1 Klenert, D., Funke, F., Mattauch, L. et al. Five Lessons from COVID-19 for Advancing Climate Change MitigationEnviron Resource Econ 76, 751–778 (2020)