It's too early to know who will win the US elections tomorrow. Tomorrow may even be too early to know who will win the election. But it's always a good time to speak to investors about how they feel about the future, and some can't help but think about the possibilities if Joe Biden wins the race.
Among these are venture capitalists who are focused on climate change and excited about the prospect of a president who sees climate change as an existential threat, especially after the work of the Trump administration, which officially reversed, reversed, or repealed 70 environmental laws in the past four years.
Seth Bannon, Fifty Years, a company focused on impact investing, is poised to consider a President Biden and how his government can most effectively promote climate technology while dealing with COVID-19 and the economy. We talked about it briefly earlier today.
TC: Joe Biden has a detailed climate plan. What do you think about it?
SB: The overarching way the Biden campaign announced that his government was approaching climate change is pretty awesome. It would invest heavily in research and development so we could have great technological climate solutions and then use the government scale to bring technology to the world. The company plans to invest $ 400 billion in better, cheaper batteries for electrification and $ 300 billion in cleaner power plants – a very exciting move. It's a modern business job creation plan, and as a contractor in Silicon Valley, that's exactly what you want to see. It's not just about getting more regulations in place and saying, "You can't do this or you can't." It's mainly about developing solutions that will get us out of this chaos.
TC: If you were to speak to his team directly, what advice could you give based on the plan and what you see in your daily work?
SB: It calls for the creation of ARPA-C, a new federal agency for low-carbon energy technologies that is modeled on two existing agencies: DARPA, the agency for advanced defense research projects, and ARPA-E for advanced research projects agency-energy.
I would recommend that they give this budget 10 times the DARPA budget as the scale of this threat is 10 times the threat we face from a foreign adversary.
I would also model how startups work along the lines of the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, where companies can apply for small grants – say, $ 125,000 to $ 250,000 – and when they hit milestones and see the government data, maybe & # 39; $ 1.5 million more given. It would be a fantastic accelerator in space, and would give companies that invest in pure R&D a huge amount of money to figure out carbon capture and use biology to decarbonise industry, and biology to get us from animal husbandry move away – all of these unsolved technology problems, and government money can be a catalyst to get these things going.
It would be even more effective if the government told the XYZ startup, "This is $ 250,000. If you hit milestones, we'll give you $ 3 million. If you hit more, we'll buy yours." Technology." But there are also market risks. If the government says, "We'll be your first customer," it could go a long way in creating greater interest in the private market.
TC: Obviously, if Biden were elected, he would have to prioritize control of this pandemic and get Americans back to work. What would he still have to do in practice and in what order?
SB: It should be an all-encompassing approach. The exciting thing about Climate Tech is that there are many different approaches to decarbonizing many industries and removing the environment. We have companies [in our portfolio] that are decarbonising food, fashion, data storage, transportation, chemicals and mining. Each component of the global economy only contributes a maximum of 5% to 10% [of greenhouse gas emissions], so we need to focus on decarbonising a number of industries. If I had to pick a few to get started I would say food, transportation and energy.
TC: What if Trump is re-elected?
SB: If Trump is re-elected, there will be no air conditioning movement, which is unfortunate. If you look at European countries, even conservative political groups are realizing that investing in air conditioning will help you become more competitive. Even if you don't believe in it, many sustainability companies make better products cheaper. But this government just doesn't see it that way, and if he's re-elected, many of the rules that we have on the books will continue to be torn away.
TC: You worked briefly in politics, serving as Operations Director for Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and organizing the Obama presidential campaign. How do you feel for tomorrow
SB: As we are sailing into things, I feel pretty good. It's not over until it's over, but I'm pretty optimistic about where we are. I think the land is ready to heal.