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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 Anshuman Bapna, Founder and CEO of Terra.do.

Terra.do is an online school working to solve climate change. Millions of people will need to transition into climate work over the next 10 years, and Terra.do is the platform to make that happen. Since launching their flagship 12-week course, “Climate Change: Learning for Action”, they have rolled out new courses on hydrogen, climate-smart buildings, climate-resilient agriculture, and a track for venture investors. Their goal is to educate 100 million people to join the climate fight.

In this episode, Anshuman walks me through his own climate journey, how his tech career translated to this new venture, and his broader vision for Terra.do. He walks me through the network effects of training and educating such a large talent pool on climate, and how he envisions a future talent pipeline for companies to tap into. This episode is great for those looking to break into working on climate, as Anshuman explains how Terra.do is facilitating a path for new entrants and the needs he sees for companies in the future.

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 February 15th, 2021

Today's guest is Julia Collins, Founder and CEO of Planet FWD.

Planet FWD is using the power of food the help tackle climate change. They created Moonshot, a brand of climate-friendly snacks made from regenerative ingredients. They also develop software that provides other food brands with regenerative resources to make climate-friendly products.

Julia has always been involved in the plant-based and composting movements, but her career transition didn't become a reality until she had her son in 2017. Realizing the best way to help leave her son a liveable planet was to start working in climate more directly, Julia founded Planet FWD. Before Planet FWD, Julia co-founded Zume (formerly Zume Pizza), a technology-enabled food company whose mission is to make healthy food fast and accessible to everyone.

I was excited for this episode, as our climate tech fund, MCJ Collective, recently invested in the company and Julia has an amazing story to share. Julia takes me through her journey leading up to founding Planet FWD, explains Planet FWD’s mission and progress to date, what is coming next for the company, and what they will achieve if they are successful beyond her wildest dreams. We also have a great discussion about Julia’s theory of change in building the company, and how their role can bring positive ripple effects through lots of other areas of the food supply chain.

Julia is a fantastic guest for those interested in decarbonizing the food and agriculture industry, and for aspiring founders, alike.

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 February 1st, 2021

Today's guest is Paul Eremenko, Co-Founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen.

Before Universal Hydrogen, Paul served as Senior Vice President and CTO of United Technologies and CTO of Airbus. When he co-founded Universal Hydrogen, Paul felt hydrogen was the only solution the industry has to meet the Paris Agreement's goals and decarbonize.

Universal Hydrogen is an end-to-end fuel logistics company making hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality. The aerospace and aviation industry is decarbonizing too slowly to meet the Paris Agreement objectives. Paul and his team are tackling two of the biggest challenges in hydrogen flight: creating a distribution infrastructure and kick-starting demand for hydrogen. To distribute hydrogen, Universal Hydrogen is rethinking how we can transport it. The company specially designs lightweight aviation-certified hydrogen capsules that are compatible with the existing infrastructure and freight networks. Universal Hydrogen is retrofitting regional airplanes with conversion kits necessary to utilize hydrogen as fuel. It is building a roadmap for other aircraft companies to adopt these designs. Universal Hydrogen partners with many companies, from freight logistics to fuel cell development to aircraft makers and modifiers. Backed by Trucks, Jeff Schox, Reilly Brennan, Plug Power, and smaller investors, Universal Hydrogen is paving the way for zero-emission aviation.

Pauls walks me through how he transitioned to working in green hydrogen and the gaps that Universal Hydrogen is filling within the aviation industry. Paul explains why hydrogen is the best fuel for zero-emission flight, the barriers to hydrogen adoption, and key startups Universal Hydrogen partners with. Paul and I also discuss the stakeholders, funding to date, and the future of the company. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in decarbonization aviation.

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 February 3rd, 2021

Today's guest is Andrew Savage, Co-Founder & Head of Sustainability at Lime.

Lime is a micromobility transportation company with a fleet of shared e-bikes, e-scooters, and now e-mopeds providing fun, efficient, and sustainable ways to move around cities.

Andrew started his career working in public policy and communications. He served as Deputy Chief of Staff & Legislative Director for Congressman Peter Welch in the US House of Representatives when Congress passed the only sweeping climate legislation to date. Leaving public government, Andrew spent six years working in the solar energy, renewables, and transportation sectors. During this time, Andrew became increasingly interested in how shared electrified transportation could move the needle on carbon emissions. With a passion for urban mobility and sustainability, Andrew was a founding team member at Lime. He initially focused on new market development, government relations, and policy strategy for the company. Today, Andrew and Lime have grown tremendously. Lime has logged over 200 million trips and expanded globally. Andrew now serves as the Head of Sustainability, managing Lime's zero-emission commitments, sustainability goals, and climate-focused initiatives.

Andrew and I have a stimulating discussion about his career path from policy to transportation and what inspired him to work in urban mobility. He walks me through how his role has evolved and how sustainability became one of Lime's core functions. We also have a broader conversation about how to make micromobility more sustainable, Andrew's thoughts on the future of transportation, and the role legislation plays in the energy transformation. Andrew is an awesome guest, especially for those interested in micromobility and transitioning their companies' to sustainable practices.

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 February 4th, 2021

Beacon Power Services is empowering Africa's grid through software solutions and automated analytics. Across the continent, populations are rapidly growing, but the electricity grids and utilities aren't growing with them. In Lagos, Nigeria alone, the population has more than tripled in the last six years. Yet, utilities and electricity providers haven't adjusted to the increased demand, which means the reliance on diesel generators is at an all-time high. Dependency on these generators causes increased pollution, public health risks, and economic challenges. To address this problem, BPS focuses on last-mile solutions. They provide indigenous automated solutions by Africans for Africans. Using local teams, they have created a GIS map of the grid to track assets, people, and buildings. They also build reliable software that connects customers to utility providers and building management systems to track availability and maintenance needs. BPS is operational in Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Kenya. Founder and CEO, Bim Adisa, takes me through his career path and background, how he became involved in grid management, and why he started Beacon Power services. We also discuss why BPS is in a unique position as a company, the future of BPS, and why the African grid needs a reboot. Bim is our first guest serving the African continent, and his story is essential as the climate crisis is a global issue. It was great to have Bim on the show and learn more about what he's building at BPS!

Enjoy the show!

If you would like to review the deck Bim walks Jason through, visit our website: https://myclimatejourney.co/ctss-episodes/beacon-power-services

Today's guest is Ron Gonen, Co-Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners.

Closed Loop Partners is an investment firm and innovation center building the circular economy. It focuses on a profitable, sustainable future through its four asset classes: venture capital, project finance, growth equity, and private equity.

Ron has always been passionate about sustainability and efficiency. He began his career in the late-90s, working in tech and management consulting. During his first year of graduate school, Ron co-founded Recycle Bank, a points program that rewards consumers for recycling. After leaving Recycle Bank, Ron wanted his next step to be as impactful and fulfilling. He transitioned into city government, taking a position as the Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling, and Sustainability for New York City under Mayor Bloomberg. When the Bloomberg administration ended, Ron co-founded Closed Loop Partners, where he marries his passion for innovation with his interest in helping young entrepreneurs succeed.

In this episode, Ron walks me through what inspired him to pursue sustainability and how past experiences led him to start an investment firm and innovation center. We dive into Closed Loop Partners, how it operates, where it invests, and how it measures impact. Ron also explains the importance of a thriving circular economy and the vital role it plays in achieving a successful future. Ron is a great guest for listeners who want to learn more about the circular economy, innovation investing, and sustainable solutions.

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 February 1st, 2021

Ron's book, The Waste-Free World: How The Circular Economy Will Take Less, Make More, And Save the Planet, is available for pre-order now! It will be published on April 6th, 2021. For more info: https://www.amazon.com/Waste-Free-World-Circular-Economy-Planet/dp/0593191846/ref=nodl_

This episode was previously for members only. In an effort to make important content more widely available, the audio for this episode is now available for everyone.

Living Carbon is a San Francisco, CA based startup using biotechnology to develop trees that better capture and store carbon. By using biochemistry to enhance a tree’s natural ability to drawdown atmospheric carbon, the company is not only devising a solution to address climate change, but also producing more durable wood for a multitude of building and manufacturing applications. Co-Founders Maddie Hall and Patrick Mellor walk me through a company overview deck, and share the story and mission behind Living Carbon.

I enjoyed learning more about Living Carbon, and I hope you do too!

Recorded July 16th, 2020 and published for Members July 23rd, 2020

Today's guest is Aaron Ratner, President of Cross River Infrastructure Partners.

Cross River Infrastructure Partners is a platform of development companies deploying climate technology and capital into sustainable infrastructure projects. It focuses on conversion projects in the climate, renewable energy, and sustainable food spaces.

Aaron has a wide swath of knowledge across finance, investing, and development. He worked in financial services in Hong Kong and commercial impact investing at i2 Capital. Aaron transitioned into sustainable infrastructure investing, taking a developer residency at Generate Capital and as the Managing Director of Ultra Capital. As President at Cross River, Aaron and his team develop and invest in the deployment of climate technologies into sustainable infrastructure projects. In addition, Aaron also serves as a Venture Partner at Vectr Ventures, an early-stage venture studio.

Aaron's perspective and expertise led to a lively discussion about how he got hooked on climate, the infrastructure investment market, and Cross River Infrastructure Partners' role. We also analyze Cleantech 1.0's downfall, the lessons learned, and how Cleantech 2.0 can succeed. Aaron is an exciting guest, and this episode is a must-listen if you are interested in large-scale infrastructure investment and development!

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 25th, 2020

Notes: Aaron mentions six key criteria to get a project financed: 1. Developer - it all starts with the developer 2. Site and permits - site security and all permits in place 3. Feedstock/inputs - long-term contract for inputs 4. Offtake/outputs - long-term contracts for outputs 5. EPC & O&M (construction/engineering provider and Operations & Maintenance provider) - credible engineering firm to design and build and operate the project 6. Technology & Systems - proven technologies with reference or pilot facilities in operation

Wright Electric is accelerating the transition to zero-emission aviation by building the world's largest electric airplanes. The Wright 1 is a single-aisle aircraft with an 800-mile range and can hold up to 186 passengers. Wright Electric redesigns airplanes to be more efficient by creating effective motors, aerodynamic fuselage, and lightweight energy storage systems. Its planes also have lower fuel costs, noise, emissions, and runway takeoff time. Wright Electric is working to provide green solutions airlines are looking for. Backed by a grant from Massachusetts and the Y Combinator Accelerator program, Wright is transforming aviation.

Founder and CEO, Jeff Engler, takes me through his path to zero-emission aviation, why he started Wright Electric, and how the landscape has changed. We also discuss the many critics of electric airplanes, what sets Wright Electric apart, and the industry's future. Jeff and his team are tackling one of climate change's biggest problems. It was great to have him join me this week!

Enjoy the show!

Today's guest is John Lochner, VP of Innovation at NYSERDA.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a government agency focused on climate energy innovation. With a team of around 350 people, it supports clean solutions through catalytic capital and public policies.

Dedicating his career to energy for the last decade, John worked at Credit Suisse in renewable energy, sold a cleantech startup, and spent several years at environmental non-profits. He now serves as the VP of Innovation at NYSERDA. His team focuses on research and development and funds a portfolio of climate startups in New York. They are working with an $800M tenure fund to finance their projects and programs. John oversees this fund and is involved in a handful of accelerators in the greater New York community. NYSERDA provides John the opportunity to match his private-sector knowledge with government support to enable a clean and just energy transition.

In this episode, John and I explore what led him to focus on energy, his role on the innovation team, and NYSERDA's charter. He also explains where he sees the biggest levers for change, what role the government should play in the energy transition, and why New York state is a pioneer in this space. John is a great guest who sits at the forefront of the green revolution!

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, 2020

This episode was previously for members only. In an effort to make important content more widely available, the audio for this episode is now available for everyone.

Camus Energy focuses on decarbonization through grid management and transformation. Existing energy grids are one-way; they are set up to get power from a set number of generator facilities to homes and businesses. Camus Energy is working towards a two-way grid, which can harness the power of local resources and flexible demand. To create a two-way grid, Camus Energy is putting into place a distribution system operator that actually works. Camus Energy's software works in three parts: situational awareness and monitoring, forecasting and control, and market services. The goal is to achieve a zero-carbon electric grid.

Camus Energy Co-Founder & CEO, Astrid Atkinson, chats with me about her background and her motivation for starting Camus Energy. I enjoyed our conversation, which covered grid management and the future of energy providers.

Enjoy the show!

Recorded August 25th, 2020 and published for Members October 29th, 2020

Today's guest is Mark Frayman, Vice President of Venture Investments at BHP.

BHP is an Anglo-Australian mining company that is based in Melbourne. One of the biggest mining companies in the world, they extract oil & gas and process minerals, such as coal, copper, and iron. Mark is part of the new Venture Investments group which is the trading arm of BHP.

A graduate of the University of Melbourne where he studied law, commerce, and finance, Mark went on to serve as an investment banking analyst at UBS on the M&A mining & metals team. In 2010, he joined BHP Billiton (now BHP) as a manager in acquisitions and divestment. While at BHP Billiton, Mark focused on small and medium-sized transactions on behalf of the company, including development of transaction approach, structure, tactics, valuation, negotiation, and approvals. Mark left BHP to consult on strategy and M&A for a global hedge fund in Buenos Aires and later served as Chief Investment Officer for the Kin Group USA in New York City. After a 5-year hiatus, Mark returned to BHP and assumed his current role as Vice President of Venture Investments.

As the world hurtles towards the Paris Accord goals, mining companies are facing massive challenges. Mark's expertise and experience are fascinating to learn about in relation to sustainability and investments. We have a lively discussion about why and when the ventures group was created, their progress to date, and how they will deploy capital. Mark and also talk about the sectors and solution areas that are most appealing and what companies can expect if they take funding from BHP. I learned a lot about the role of corporate venture arms. It was great to have Mark join me this week!

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 8th, 2020