Investors and inventors in climate technology gathered recently at the Breakthrough Energy Summit, which took place this week inside a Seattle waterfront venue shrouded in wildfire smoke.
The gathering provided an opportunity to share news on cutting-edge technology being created and implemented to help rescue a warming Earth.
They featured carbon-negative cement, sea hydropower turbines, aviation fuel manufactured from discarded maize, and plant-based dairy proteins.
Bill Gate’s Breakthrough Energy project
Breakthrough Energy, a project under the direction of Bill Gates that supports decarbonizing technology through money, research, mentorship, and policy assistance, convened the conference.
The venture capital division of the network has funded 105 startups and raised more than $2 billion in investment. A further $1 billion is being distributed to businesses participating in its catalyst program as grants and moderate financing.
Through its fellows program, 63 business and technology specialists have teamed up to create cutting-edge technology. The function, which attracted 700 guests from all around the world, was, for the most part, quite positive.
And over a dozen business owners displayed their technology, and the conference lunches included some of their eco-friendly food items. There was excitement about the booming VC demand for climate and renewable energy startups, which, drew investments totaling a record-breaking $64.6 billion the year before.
However, anxiety over worrisome recent occurrences subdued enthusiasm regarding industry advancement. The conflict in Ukraine, supply chain bottlenecks, recessionary economies, and floods that are destructive in Pakistan were some of the key climate issues discussed at the event.
Many urged caution, pointing out that while there has been significant success in removing carbon from the electricity system, transportation, housing, agriculture, and industries, it hasn’t come close to meeting the targets that science has established.
Leaders in business, government, and venture capital shared their perspectives on the summit’s discussion of climate progress and possibilities.
Gates on Technology and Climate
Despite acknowledging the enormous issue posed by climate change, Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and creator of Breakthrough Energy, mostly concentrated on solutions.
“Innovation is one of the last things that cross party lines; it creates fantastic new businesses and fantastic new employment,” he said. “Politics wouldn’t allow us to combat climate change if we just used expensive remedies and requirements.”
He predicted that the skill entering the field of climate will rise substantially. “The entire Breakthrough experience has truly strengthened my conviction in human inventiveness, even outside the digital domain,” said Gates.
Gates first mentioned the concept of green premiums in his climate book last year. The notion is that we must switch to current carbon-free technologies for all aspects of our economy, including energy, transport, farming, built structures, and industry.
And their price has increased as of late. The green premium is that additional cost. By funding this research, he hopes to reduce the green premiums, making the alternatives more affordable or at least competitively priced with technology based on fossil fuels.
He suggests that we measure our success in combating climate change according to what happens with green premiums. Solar and wind energy electricity are two examples.
They used to be prohibitively costly, but their prices have dropped so dramatically, so quickly, that they are now less expensive than coal.