The climate tech hype award goes to…
THE BIG PICTURE
TECHNO-PESSIMISTS UNITE — The climate crisis has boosted a lot of technologies that might not pan out.
We asked attendees at last week’s inaugural POLITICO Energy Summit which of several buzzy sectors they thought were most overhyped. Autonomous vehicles got the biggest side-eye, with 40 percent of our 73 respondents picking them as the least promising technology.
While respondents may have viewed their choices as damning, panelists at the conference didn’t necessarily see it that way.
“I feel like people view hype cycles as a negative thing,” said Jigar Shah, head of the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office, which is in charge of handing out billions of dollars in loans to promising cleantech companies. “What it really is is a way to crowd in private capital into something and allow entrepreneurs the right to be able to take their ideas and figure out a way to bring them to market.”
And the technologies are doing okay, especially relative to how bad climate change is shaping up to be, another panelist said.
“Sure, they won’t all be successful, some of them won’t scale, but the technology itself that’s driving this change is better than we thought,” said Forbright Bank CEO (and former presidential candidate and former U.S. representative) John Delaney.
Want more of a glass-half-full take? We also quizzed a select group in April on which technologies are likeliest to work out.
Green hydrogen topped the list, followed by carbon capture and storage (which is different from direct air capture, to be clear. DAC is considered a form of geoengineering, which came in last).
For our money, carbon removal is the climate technology with the most hype, positive and negative.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called in March for “everything, everywhere all at once” to help fight climate change, but now a UN panel is souring on technological carbon removal, calling it “technologically and economically unproven, especially at scale,” as Corbin Hiar reports for POLITICO’s E&E News.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the world’s largest investment bank, this week announced plans to invest $200 million into long-term carbon-removal deals, as Avery Ellfeldt also reports for E&E.
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WHAT WE'RE CLICKING
— The International Energy Agency says the rapid expansion of clean-tech manufacturing has solar and battery manufacturing on target to meet 2030 milestones, even as coal investment continues to rise.
— France has eliminated some shorter-distance flights to help fight global warming. The Washington Post looks into whether the U.S. should follow its lead.
— Bloomberg talks with venture capitalist Dipender Saluja about how and why Silicon Valley got involved with climate tech.
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