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Climate Musings for all Shapes & Sizes

Pragmatically optimistic perspectives on all things climate

What's it about?

Welcome to Climate Musings for all Shapes & Sizes by me, Keeton Ross. Clean-tech / hard-tech enthusiast. Nuclear engineer & physicist by training @UC Berkeley. Clean tech VC @ Evok Innovations. Former McKinsey EM & Sustainability Fellow.

This newsletter is for you if…
1. You know nothing about climate…
I’ve always focused on taking complex, technical topics and breaking them down into simple, understandable components for my broader community. That’s what I will do in this newsletter. Each newsletter contains a “101” of sorts on whatever the topic is. The first step to becoming passionate about a topic is understanding it deeply — so I want to help you do exactly that.

2. You know a lot about climate…
You’re a climate x cleantech x sustainability junkie and you want to complement your current perspectives and understanding across a range of climate topics from another deeply entrenched peer. I’ve been fortunate to go deeply into a vast majority of the climate conversation, both:
+ Technologies: bio- and synthetic fuels and plastics, clean hydrogen and ammonia applications, advanced nuclear designs (fission, fusion), novel long duration storage technologies, microgrid solutions, carbon capture technologies, and carbon offsetting and pricing mechanisms
+ Functional perspectives: academics, national labs, venture capital funds, private equity, consulting firms, corporate giants, cleantech growth companies, and early-stage start-ups

These are the perspectives and topic areas I will center my Musings around.

3. You know a little bit about climate…
Sometimes the middle bowl of porridge is just right! If you want a little bit of both world’s — some understanding / background, some deep, climate perspectives — you’ve come to the right spot.

Climate is the challenge of our times
Let me follow with a call to action — the world needs to deliver on a 1.5-2°C pathway. The physical (heat waves, floods, fires, …) consequences of not doing so are simply too dire. My current level of optimism that we can do so: low to non-existent.

Why so bearish?
The sad fact is that a 1.5°C pathway requires, at a minimum, 6% annual global carbon footprint reduction through 2030, then ~3% global footprint reduction from 2030 to 2050. Then a global net zero footprint.
To put that in context, when a global pandemic shut down the world in 2020, we saw a carbon footprint reduction of ~6-7%. So… needless to say, the scale of transformation needed is difficult to fully come to grasps with.
Delivering on this pathway is certainly possible, but this challenge calls for trillions of dollars in annual global investment (not unparalleled, think scale of COVID relief).

My Climate Musings center around this theme. How to deliver a pragmatically optimistic approach across a complicated climate landscape – including technologies (new and old), industries (dirty and clean), and institutions (private and public).

I look forward to sharing my perspectives and hope you will join me on this journey!

Delivered weekly.
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