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April 24 2021

Happy Earth Day!

April 24 2021

 
April 22, 2021
 
Dear readers,

Happy Earth Day!

Did you know 2020 was the 2nd hottest year on Earth on record? Or that the U.S., which has less than 5% of the world’s population, generates nearly 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions? We make a big deal out of Earth Day every year because these numbers have very real, very tangible and often very devastating consequences. 

We can all recount some way that climate change has impacted our lives recently: the orange skies and fires in California that destroy homes and communities, the resulting unbreathable air that blankets huge swathes of our country, or extreme and historic flooding that has become an annual occurrence. The catastrophic hurricanes in the Atlantic that outnumbered letters in the Latin alphabet.

The scale of our climate change challenges can be overwhelming and daunting. How can any one of us do enough to make a difference, and to change the planet’s course? 

Great challenges can also present great opportunities--for leadership, innovation, and bold action.

They can call our best talents and innovations forward. It’s why we’ve made climate central to our work at Incite since the beginning. We see this optimistic, tackle-it-head-on energy everyday among the climate-focused entrepreneurs and organizations we support. 

So this Earth Day, we’re sharing their stories to inspire you. And to remind you, dear reader, that there is something each and every one of us can do--and must do--to take on the greatest existential challenge facing humanity.

And a friendly reminder - do you know a great company or organization who is working on climate? We always want to learn about it. Drop us a note at ventures@incite.org!  

 
INCITE OVERHEARD

When Matt and Swati started Incite.org back in 2015, we didn't have billions of dollars to donate or even a team to help us manage large programmatic grants. But, we were (and still are) willing to take big bets on bold ideas for change – like carbon removal.

We had a feeling that we could help actualize real, lasting change on climate by seeding new ideas and nimble teams across sectors. As a result, we built Incite.org with the ability to fund nonprofits, for-profits and political initiatives working on climate.

Today, there's still an incredible opportunity for smaller donors and family offices to be just as catalytic in helping fund climate efforts as the large philanthropists, especially when it comes to carbon removal.

We’ve learned how to do this first hand over the last 5 years, and we hope that in sharing our story, we can inspire other budding philanthropists to have bold impact...KEEP READING.

PORTFOLIO SPOTLIGHTS
Incite Non-profit

My Climate Journey: Erin Burns, Carbon180

Not that long ago, carbon innovation was a tiny, nascent category and carbon removal was still largely unrecognized as an area for funding. And then came the founders of Carbon180, Noah Deich and Giana Amador.

In 2016, they came to Incite.org pitching a new kind of NGO that would fundamentally rethink what was possible with carbon. The more we learned about the science of climate change, the stronger we believed that carbon removal was critical to reversing climate change and its effects on our planet. So, Matt and Swati wrote Noah and Giana’s first check to get their idea off the ground.

Starting as a research and communications hub, Noah and Giana began to elevate carbon removal into mainstream climate conversations.

Carbon180 evolved into a policy and advocacy focused think-tank while developing an EIR fellowship to advance thought-leaders and entrepreneurs working on carbon removal solutions.

One of their biggest successes to date is helping lobby to win the carbon tax pricing in 2018 during a gridlocked Congress and a Presidential Administration that didn't support or believe in climate science.

Erin Burns joined Carbon180 in 2018 to start the policy office in Washington, DC.

Earlier this year, Erin assumed the role of Executive Director at Carbon180, where she works with scientists, entrepreneurs, academics, and policymakers to create and inform federal policy on carbon capture, removal, and use. 
Check out Erin’s episode on My Climate Journey, a podcast started by our good friend Jason Jacobs. In Jason’s words: “For those looking interested in policy and carbon removal, you can't miss this episode.”

While you’re at it, subscribe to Carbon180’s weekly newsletter, The Carbon Copy!
 
 
 
Incite Start-up
Charm Delivers Stripe's Carbon Removal Purchase Ahead-of-Schedule

In 2018, we met Peter Reinhardt, a successful tech founder, who had aspirations of building something to return the atmosphere to 280 ppm CO2, profitably.

His new company, Charm Industrial, had developed a patent-pending method for removing carbon dioxide. They would convert waste biomass to bio-oil and then inject it into rock formations, permanently.

We wrote a small $300K check to participate in his first seed round, and this week, Charm announced delivery on Stripe’s carbon removal purchase:

When Stripe made their purchase, our proposed carbon removal method was only a few weeks old and untested. In the 11 months since then we’ve built, tested, patented, and confirmed our methodology with deep scientific panels not only at Stripe but at Shopify, Microsoft, CarbonPlan, CarbonDirect and others. Even better, we delivered the first 150 tons CO₂e of carbon removal in January 2021, and are announcing that as of March 26, 2021 we’ve completed delivery of the entirety of Stripe’s carbon removal contract and delivered the final documentation of completion to Stripe...KEEP READING.

 
Incite Candidate

Jennifer Carroll Foy's Clean Energy Virginia Endorsement

The endorsement from Clean Virginia, a clean energy and good governance advocacy group, for Jennifer Carroll Foy’s bid for governor thundered back against the special interests of Dominion Energy:

During her time as Delegate, Carroll Foy championed legislation that advanced clean energy, lowered energy bills, and promoted good governance. She sponsored bipartisan legislation that successfully pressured Dominion Energy to clean up toxic coal ash from its Virginia facilities and pay for a clean water supply for residents whose well water may have been contaminated. Del. Carroll Foy also successfully led a legislative effort to encourage more public utility contracts with small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses...KEEP READING.

Jenn is an incredible example of someone who works tirelessly in service of the people who need it most -- and this extends to her work to save the planet. We need leaders like Jenn who will help shape policy for years to come and who will keep special interest groups in check.

Learn more about Jennifer Carroll Foy HERE and, if you have the resources, consider contributing to her race.

 
Incite Start-up

Better Place Forests Opens for Virtual Tours

Sandy Gibson started Better Place Forests, because he imagined what a better place to remember and celebrate a loved one might look like: 

Your legacy lives on in a memorial forest—for you, your loved ones, and the planet.

In the US, cemeteries cover a million acres of land. We want the next million acres to be protected forest instead, alive with memories. A resting place can be more than a tombstone and a patch of grass. It can be uplifting and inspiring. It can be full of life, part of nature, and a meaningful contribution to protecting beautiful forestland.

And the process? It can be more personal. More affordable. Even more enjoyable.


Read this recent spot on Better Place Forests’ Northeast burial property, which is also viewable by virtual tour. 

 
Incite Non-profit

National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine: Deep Decarbonization

In 2017, the Carbon180 team connected us with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), a nationally recognized academic organization that wanted to create a groundbreaking report to assess the risks and benefits of carbon removal.

We recognized the potential for this first-of-its-kind study to draw future funders to this area of climate change mitigation. 

Less than a year after NASEM published the Negative Emissions Technologies & Reliable Sequestration, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 leveraged the findings from this study to expand and extend the 45Q tax credit. A carbon removal roadmap had been established by one of the most revered, objective sources of scientific truth in the nation. 

Most recently, we helped fund The National Academies’ newest study on carbon tech, “Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States: Technology, Policy, and Societal Dimensions.” 

The report presents a policy blueprint outlining critical near-term actions for the first decade (2021-2030) of this 30-year effort, including ways to support communities that will be most impacted by the transition.

If you’re looking for a deep dive into key technological and socio-economic goals that must be achieved to put the United States on the path to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, start here.

 
Incite Non-profit

Philanthropy's Role in Addressing Climate Change from Arati Prabhakar

Arati Prabhakar is the founder and the CEO of Actuate, a new kind of nonprofit organization, formed to contribute a fresh approach to society’s critical challenges, like climate change.

When we met Arati, she had the idea to use the core of the DARPA approach for breakthroughs, but adapt it to complex problems. Today, Actuate, does exactly this by weaving together research insights and lessons from the real world to create context for further research and prototype for implementation, all leading towards lasting societal change.

Recently, Arati was featured on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast to talk about philanthropy’s role in addressing climate change. Check out her episode HERE!

 
Incite Start-up

WIRED: Review of Span Smart Electrical Panel

Knowledge is power. And Span is putting the power back in the hands of the consumer. Literally.

Arch Rao, former head of engineering at Tesla and now founder of Span.io, developed a smart electric panel that allows customers to intelligently monitor and control your home energy. The result? Less wasted power.


Electrical panels haven’t changed fundamentally since the 1960s, when circuit breakers began replacing fuses. They are “dumb” tech because they are really designed purely for safety. If a circuit is overloaded, it’s the breaker’s job to shut it down. But there’s a ton of information in the power flowing back and forth through those wires, and it’s Span’s idea to give consumers the ability to capture—and control—all of it...KEEP READING.

 
Incite Non-profit

(carbon)plan: Insights from analyzing a new round of carbon removal projects

CarbonPlan.org is an early-stage nonprofit that analyzes climate solutions based on the best available science and data. CarbonPlan’s mission is to collaboratively build open tools and resources for the evaluation and deployment of robust climate programs. 

CarbonPlan has now released a major update to its database on carbon dioxide removal project report. The project Project reports and lessons learned from analyzing proposals for Microsoft's 2021 Carbon Removal procurement with analysis of 161 proposals submitted in response to Microsoft’s 2021 carbon removal purchase

Read the report HERE!

 
What We're Reading
 
Upcoming Incite Events
 
 

Fundraiser for Jennifer Carroll Foy, VA-Gov
with Special Guest, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood
Wednesday, May 26th
7:00 PM ET | 4:00 PM PT
RSVP HERE

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