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My Climate Journey on Smash Notes

My Climate Journey podcast.

December 31, 2019

A podcast about a recovering software entrepreneur (me!), and my quest to reorient my career around helping solve climate change for this next chapter and beyond. Includes interviews with people in the thick of tackling this problem, and commentary from yours truly. I'm glad you are here!



Episodes with Smash Notes

Today's guest is Neha Palmer, CEO of TeraWatt Instructure.

TeraWatt Infrastructure is building tomorrow's permanent EV charging infrastructure through a robust combination of property assets, financing vehicles, and deep energy expertise. The company designs, operates and owns on-site distributed energy systems that take the cost and complexity out of EV charging infrastructure while providing market protection and upside opportunities through capital backing and ownership.

Neha brings two decades of leadership experience in the energy industry to her role at TeraWatt. Most recently, she led energy strategy for Google's global data centers. As the first hire focused on data center energy, Neha built out and led the team developing electric infrastructure and electricity procurement for the global fleet, covering dozens of sites over four continents. Before Google, Neha held leadership roles at Pacific Gas & Electric and worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. She holds an MBA in Finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

In this episode, Neha shares what led her to focus on energy, her role as CEO at TeraWatt, and the startup's business model and customer base. We also compare the progress between transportation fleets and passenger vehicles, how Neha thinks about private v public EV charging infrastructure, and the way government can accelerate the EV revolution. This is a must-listen episode for those interested in understanding more about the future of electrifying transportation.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded January 10th, 2022

Today's guest is Caroline Spears, Founder & Executive Director of Climate Cabinet.

Climate Cabinet makes local climate change data and policy solutions actionable for policymakers on the frontlines of the climate crisis. The organization ensures critical local climate opportunities are on the map and that key players are equipped to immediately advance bold climate action. Born in Houston, Texas, Caroline studied climate science and clean energy at Stanford University, graduating with her B.S. and M.S. in Atmosphere and Energy Engineering. Previously, she worked in solar energy. Caroline has received the 2021 "Grist Fixer" award, won a Henry Arnold Fellowship, and recently joined the Fast Forward Accelerator class of 2021.

I was looking forward to catching up with Caroline because local elections are essential to addressing the climate crisis. We discuss Caroline's upbringing in an oil & gas Texas family, how she became climate motivated, and Climate Cabinet's important role. Caroline also explains why candidates and races need customizable approaches to climate policy, the Climate Cabinet Score, and how the team determines which races are their top priorities. Caroline is a fantastic guest, and this episode is a must-listen for those interested in making significant impacts at the polls.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Episode recorded live January 4th, 2022

Today's guests are Fred Fournier, Co-Founder & CEO, and Michael Kelly, Co-Founder & CPO.

Open Forest Protocol (OFP) is on a mission to accelerate the global response to climate change via nature-based solutions. The startup is building a product that will allow reforestation and afforestation projects, conservation organizations, and forest managers to easily measure, report, and verify environmental data from their land. The current MRV landscape is expensive and inaccessible, inhibiting the establishment of a global carbon economy. Open Forest Protocol has built a system for accessible and transparent forest MRV, laying the foundation for an accelerated response to humanity's greatest existential threat.

Before OFP, Fred co-founded ON A MISSION, a non-profit organization enabling businesses and individuals to invest in local, sustainable reforestation projects to compensate for carbon emissions. Fred and his team at ON A MISSION discovered that measuring, recording, and verifying (MRV) reforestation was difficult. At the same time, Michael was focusing on designing a protocol to track and verify things like tress using blockchain technology. So in October 2020, Fred and Michael co-founded Open Forest Protocol and continued their work to decarbonize and reforest the planet.

In this episode, I'm joined by Michael and Fred of OFP. We dive into Open Forest Protocol's approach, why marrying blockchain and reforestation will bring us into the clean future, and how Fred and Michael co-founded OFP. We also talk about the existing carbon verification and certification landscape, OFP's community fund, and an overview of NEAR. This is a great episode if you're interested in learning more about web3 and climate change.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded January 4th, 2022

Today's guest is Jason Jacobs, Founder & Host of My Climate Journey.

Three years ago, Jason started having conversations with folks in the climate space to better understand the crisis and how someone without a climate background could make a difference. Almost 250 episodes later, My Climate Journey has blossomed into a three-show podcast, weekly newsletter, and nearly 2,000-person member community. In late 2020, MCJ announced MCJ Collective, an early-stage climate tech fund investing in over 40 startups worldwide, tackling some of the most challenging climate problems.

This week we flipped the script and put me (Jason) in the guest seat. I was interviewed by our very own, Cody Simms, who most recently served as Senior Vice President of Climate & Sustainability at Techstars before joining the MCJ team as a Partner in late 2021. Cody and I have a lively conversation about my evolution from Runkeeper to MCJ, where my optimism comes from, and my advice to first-time entrepreneurs. We also talk about the biggest surprises thus far on my climate journey, how to scale climatetech investing, and the importance of inspiring folks to focus on climate. It was exciting to reflect on how far MCJ has come and what the future might bring for us. Special thanks to Cody for taking over the host job this week and all those who participated live.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Episode recorded live January 5th, 2022

Today's guest is Leanne Kemp, Founder & CEO of Everledger.

Leanne is a serial founder and spent 20 plus years in the tech sector, from RFID to Supply Chain to AdTech. After successfully exiting four companies, Leanne served as a Blockchain expert and Entrepreneur advisor for private, public, and educational boards and committees, including IBM, Queensland University of Technology, and The World Trade Symposium. In addition to her current role as CEO, Leanne is also a member of The University of Queensland's Entrepreneurship Advisory Panel, a Fellow at Blockchain Australia, a member of Nation Brand Advisory Council, on the Board of Stewards for Accelerating Sustainable Production at the World Economic Forum, and a BlockChain, Trade, & Circular Economy Policy advisor at OECD-OCDE. Leanne is an internationally recognized, award-winning innovator and leader.

Everledger is an independent technology company that helps businesses surface and converge asset information using a wide array of secure technologies, including blockchain, AI, IoT, and more. By digitally streamlining compliance processes, Everledger can help customers share the history of an asset more efficiently and accurately. As a technology partner, the startup up also helps to build resilience and sustainability. Everledger's premiere platform brings additional transparency to various industries by highlighting critical characteristics of assets on their platform: quality, origin, sustainability footprint, and compliance standards.

In this episode, Leanne walks me through her climate journey, the motivations for founding Everledger, and her obsession with where our products come from. We also discuss Everledger's customer base and funding, the company's goals over the next two years, and how Everledger fits in the carbon accounting landscape. In addition, Leanne explains the importance of critical minerals, transparency in the supply chain, and blockchain in a sustainable future. Leanne is a great guest.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded December 20th, 2021

Today's guest is Jake Levine, Chief Climate Officer at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America's development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology solutions. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs to create jobs in emerging markets.

Most recently, Jake was an Associate and Policy Advisor at Covington & Burling, advising clients on a broad range of policy, regulatory, litigation, and commercial matters related to climate, clean energy, and clean air. Before Covington, he worked as Senior Counsel and Principal Consultant to California State Senator Fran Pavley and Chief of Staff to the President of Opower. Jake also served in the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change. He developed innovative energy policies, including the most stringent fuel economy standards and the first-ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks. Jake holds a B.A. and J.D. from Harvard.

In this episode, Jake and I dive into the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)'s mission, why 95% of our projected global emissions will come from outside the U.S., and his role as Chief Climate Officer. Jake also explains DFC's process and approach to investing, the kind of capital they deploy, and their relationship with local governments. Finally, we end the discussion by exploring breakthrough tech versus deployment of proven tech and where DFC needs help. Jake is a great guest with a wealth of knowledge about international climate investing.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Episode recorded December 15th, 2021

Today's guest is Marion Verles, Co-Founder & CEO of SustainCERT.

SustainCERT is the leading global carbon emissions accounting and verification platform for carbon markets and corporate value chains. Using technology to simplify processes, SustainCERT helps project developers and corporates quantify and verify carbon emissions accurately. The company also certifies carbon credits and corporate claims, confirming they align with leading international frameworks such as Gold Standard for the Global Goals, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Before founding SustainCERT, Marion served as CEO of the Gold Standard Foundation. During her tenure at Gold Standard, she led the development of a groundbreaking climate + sustainable development impact standard: Gold Standard for the Global Goals. Earlier in her career, Marion was a founding team member of the Climate Ledger Initiative, founded and helmed Nexus for development, and served as a civil society observer to the Climate Investment Fund managed by the World Bank.

I was eager to sit down with Marion because standardizing, verifying, and certifying carbon offsets is vital when thinking about decarbonizing our world. We dive into SustainCERT's focus areas, the Gold Standard certification process, and Marion's motivations for founding the startup. Marion also explains downstream versus upstream paths for carbon credits, the existing carbon market, and why certifying offsets is complex. We cover many essential topics in this episode, and Marion is an excellent guest.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded December 14th, 2021

Today's guest is Kentaro Kawamori, Co-Founder & CEO of Persefoni.

Persefoni is the leading Climate Management & Accounting Platform (CMAP). The company's Software-as-a-Service solutions enable enterprises and financial institutions to meet stakeholder and regulatory climate disclosure requirements with the highest degrees of trust, transparency, and ease. As the ERP of Carbon, the Persefoni platform provides users a single source of carbon truth across their organization, enabling them to manage their carbon transactions and inventory with the same rigor and confidence as their financial transactions.

Before founding Persefoni, Kentaro was the youngest Chief Digital Officer ever at a Fortune 500 company. As Chief Digital Officer, Kentaro led the digital operations and CIO It strategy function for Chesapeake Energy. His career has focused on the software space. It includes time spent as a Cloud strategy consultant at Accenture, a Venture Partner at Rice Investment Group, and a board member at Umbrage, a digital product studio. In 2020, Forbes named Kentaro on its 30 Under 30 list. He also holds an MBA from Arizona State University.

In this episode, Kentaro explains Persefoni's unique solution, what led him to build a carbon accounting company, and when he first became engaged in the climate space. We talk about the existing carbon accounting landscape, the role offsets play in the clean future, and the accuracy of carbon accounting. We cover many topics in this episode, and Kentaro is a fantastic guest.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Episode recorded December 17th, 2021

Today's guest is Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder & CEO of OLIO.

OLIO is a free app that exists to tackle the enormous problem of waste in our homes & local communities. OLIO works to connect neighbors so that surplus food and other household items can be given away, not thrown away. So that everyday things can be lent & borrowed, instead of bought. In addition, the OLIO app redistributes unsold food t to the community, enabling those businesses to achieve zero food waste locations. Its impact has been widely recognized, most notably by the United Nations, who highlighted OLIO as a "beacon" for the world, and Vivatech, who awarded it OLIO "Next European Unicorn".

Before OLIO, Tessa had a 15-year corporate career as a digital Managing Director in the media, retail, and financial services sectors. She met her co-founder Saasha while studying for their MBAs at Stanford University. Tessa is passionate about the sharing economy as a solution for a sustainable world and about 'profit with purpose' as the next business paradigm.

In this episode, Tessa outlines why food waste is a critical climate topic, what motivated her to co-found OLIO, and how the company addresses food waste. We also dive into why Tessa distinguishes between mission alignment and mission obsession, how OLIO incentivizes households and stores to donate excess food, and what sets the startup apart from its competitors. Tessa is a great guest.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded December 16th, 2021

Today's guest is Alex Laskey, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of Rewiring America.

Rewiring America's mission is two-fold: 1) demonstrating that rapid electrification of all aspects of the American economy is the key to combating climate change, and 2) designing and promoting practical policies to accomplish it.

Before Rewiring America, Alex was the President and Founder of Opower, the global leader in cloud-based software for the utility industry. Under his leadership, Opower grew from a two-person startup to a publicly-traded company whose software is used by more than half of the largest electric and gas utilities in the world. Today, Opower is a division of Oracle and delivers more than 6 TWh of energy savings per year to help homeowners save more than $1B per year on their energy bills. Alex is a Board member of Arcadia and a longtime Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. In addition, he was a founding Commissioner on the Energy Transitions Commission and a board member of Advanced Energy Economy.

I was excited to sit down with Alex and learn more about his climate journey. We discuss Rewiring America, the goals of the non-profit, and why energy grids and renewable power are vital to the clean energy future. Alex also walks me through his time at Opower, the unique idea that utilities can be customers, and Alex's career as a climate entrepreneur. Alex is an excellent guest.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Episode recorded December 10th, 2021

Today's guest is John Belizaire, CEO of Soluna.

Soluna is the leading developer of green data centers for batchable computing, powered by wasted renewable energy. Soluna's scalable, on-demand data centers buy every excess megawatt from renewable energy projects, increasing project revenue while eliminating wasted energy. Implementing Soluna data centers is a low-risk, low-friction process due to the company's four pillars of expertise: Project development, energy markets, project finance, and computing technology. Soluna has molded this unique expertise into a proven project finance structure and revenue-generating solution.

John is a versatile CEO and serial entrepreneur who has successfully founded and scaled multiple technology companies over a 20-year career. Before Soluna, John was the founder and CEO of FirstBest, a transformative insurance software company acquired by Guidewire Software, and Theory Center, an e-commerce software company acquired by BEA Systems.

In this episode, John explains Soluna's mission, approach, and the problem the startup is setting out to solve. He outlines why renewable energy can be inaccessible and the future of a connected energy grid in the clean future. We also dive into Soluna's competitors, customer base, and recent acquisition. It was great to sit down with John and learn more about Soluna.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded November 30th, 2021

Today's guest is Katie Auth, Policy Director at Energy for Growth Hub.

The Energy for Growth Hub is a global solutions connector, matching policymakers with evidence-based pathways to a high-energy future for everyone.

Katie leads the Hub's work to strengthen international energy policy and investment by bilateral and multilateral development funders. Previously, she served as Senior Development Finance Advisor at the USAID and was a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa Policy Accelerator. Before that, she was Acting Deputy Coordinator of the US Government's Power Africa initiative, working to catalyze public and private investment in sub-Saharan Africa's energy sector. Before joining Power Africa, Katie served as a Senior Analyst for Climate and Energy at Worldwatch Institute. She analyzed power sector reform and investment in the Caribbean and West Africa. Katie is also a co-host of the Hub's podcast series High Energy Planet with Research Director Rose Mutiso.

I was eager to sit down with Katie because her work at the Energy for Growth Hub is fascinating. Katie explains why energy poverty is a climate problem, the hub's work to address policy, and how she got into her role. We also dive into making climate a non-political issue, Sustainable Development Goals, and key initiatives the US must adopt in the future. This is a must-listen episode.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at info@myclimatejourney.co, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Episode recorded November 29th, 2021