COP26’s legacy will center on climate technology

By: Christian Jølck and Mikkel Bülow-Lehnsby

Thirty-thousand people including heads of state, NGOs, entrepreneurs, the Pope and a Swedish teenager who doesn’t mince her words are all heading to Glasgow this weekend for the long anticipated COP26.

2150 will also be in attendance represented by Christian Jolck and Mikkel Bülow-Lehnsby as both part of the Danish delegation and through our partnership with the UK Cabinet Office’s Tech for our Planet.

While we are hopeful that governments will find common ground on accelerating the pace of climate action and scale of their support, we also believe that COP26 will be the turning point for private sector participation in the fight against climate change. Governments and multilateral organisations undeniably will continue to drive important action, but truly systemic change cannot happen without innovators and those that fund them.

A seismic shift has happened in the “climate tech” sector since COP21 and the Paris Agreement in 2015. As data compiled by Dealroom shows, global climate tech investment has increased 5x over the past 5 years to over $30bn annually.

Source: Dealroom

Funding for these technologies has proliferated with over 1,000 individual firms joining at least one funding round for a “climate tech” company according to Climate Tech VC.

As highlighted by a report from Silicon Valley Bank, technology can have a material impact on GHG reductions. Changes in the way we build, the materials we use, the source and efficiency of energy systems or our transport modalities will decarbonise our economy while creating new opportunities for innovation and growth.

Source: Silicon Valley Bank

This opportunity is in line with the IEA’s “Net Zero by 2050” report, which sees an economy by 2030 which is 40% larger than today, yet uses 7% less energy in order to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C. As a part of this pathway, the installation of renewables needs to quadruple annually by 2030, while electric vehicle sales need to increase 18-fold.

The MIT Climate Interactive EN-ROADS simulator corroborates the multi-sector approach outlined by the IEA, where there is no single magic bullet to get us anywhere close to the Paris Agreement targets. Many technologies, many policies, many industries need to act in parallel, and do so urgently in order to mitigate our global GHG emissions by at least half by 2030.

The 2020s can be the decade of the most transformational economic change seen since the industrial revolution, and innovations in climate technologies will be the key drivers.

And this is what we feel will be the legacy of COP26, even if government compromises do not live up to expectations: the role of technological solutions to climate change is now front and center and financial backers, from angel investors to scaled-up VCs, to some of the world’s largest asset managers, are doubling down on backing them.

We are proud for 2150 to be playing its own part in this mission. Our initial investments in companies like Carbon Cure, Ampd Energy and Aeroseal already have the potential to mitigate 1.6 gigatonnes of CO2 at scale, and we continue to pursue companies whose technology can start having a material impact in as short a time as possible.

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2150 is a venture capital firm investing in technology companies that seek to sustainably reimagine and reshape the urban environment. 2150’s investment thesis focuses on major unsolved problems across what it calls the ‘Urban Stack’, which comprises every element of the built environment, from the way our cities are designed, constructed and powered, to the way people live, work and are cared for. Find out more at www.2150.vc and follow us on twitter.

We provide Constructive Capital to technology entrepreneurs that seek to make our urban environment more efficient and sustainable