The Net Zero Life
#32 Investing in a Net Zero Future with Louis Schick,  Director of Investments at Clean Energy Ventures

#32 Investing in a Net Zero Future with Louis Schick, Director of Investments at Clean Energy Ventures

July 19, 2022

In the tenth and final episode of season three, TNZL explores the lessons of a technologist with a rich history of environmental-focused innovation. 

From teacher to engineer to hedge fund manager and now as the leader responsible for ensuring his portfolio companies can reduce global greenhouse gases at scale, Louis (Lou) Schick has quite a story to tell.

Thankfully he is quite a good storyteller. Lou is a contrarian with a strong moral compass who is determined to innovate a net zero future. He’s spent the majority of his career peering over the edge at earth’s carrying capacity and figuring out how we can avoid reaching it.

Lou has more than twenty years of experience as a technologist and investor. In his investing role at Clean Energy Ventures, Mr. Schick works with deal teams to source, screen and diligence new investments, as well as support portfolio companies on technology, markets, strategy and commercialization.

Prior to joining Clean Energy Ventures, Lou was a co-founder, partner and CTO at NewWorld Capital, and served as a Managing Director at Ritchie Capital. From 1997 to 2005, Mr. Schick held a variety of positions at General Electric’s Corporate Research and Energy groups. Mr. Schick facilitated GE’s entrance into both solar and wind energy, and led GE’s solid oxide fuel cell program.

Lou was trained as a physicist and co-authored papers in accelerator physics, space physics, and biophysics as well as earning ten granted US patents. He holds a BS in Physics from Union College; an MS in Physics from Cornell University.

Clean Energy Ventures or CEV is helping founders build a cleaner future by investing in early-stage climate tech companies.

You can keep up with CEV on Twitter and if you’d like to get in touch with Lou, you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

 

Other show notes: 

#31 The True Impact of Renewable Energy, with Laura Zapata, CEO and Co-founder of Clearloop

#31 The True Impact of Renewable Energy, with Laura Zapata, CEO and Co-founder of Clearloop

July 12, 2022

How do you ensure a new renewable energy project is displacing fossil fuel production? How can we ensure clean energy is available to all communities, even those in the most rural areas?

In the ninth episode of season three, TNZL explores the idea of emissionality (aka true impact) of a renewable energy project with Laura Zapata, CEO and Co-founder of Clearloop.

During the episode Nathan and Laura discuss how she made the transition from corporate communications expert to climate tech co-founder and CEO, the importance of measuring emissionality when designing a renewable energy project, the lifecycle of a zero-carbon energy project and the math/carbon accounting behind it, and how she takes pride in representing her underrepresented community in a field traditionally dominated by white males. 

Laura Zapata is the CEO and co-founder of Clearloop Corporation, a Nashville-based startup that helps companies of all sizes—from established companies like Intuit and Vista Equity Partners to direct to consumer brands like Dropps—cut their carbon footprint and expand access to clean energy in the United States. Zapata made a career in crisis communications and reputation management having worked in Congress, political campaigns, and Uber. She’s now helping companies reach their ESG goals with tangible climate action and ensure that the environmental, health, and economic benefits of new solar projects reach communities getting left behind. Zapata is a strong believer that solar can do more if we’re intentional about the communities where we invest and is eager to work with more companies seeking to tackle their carbon footprint to tap into their growing economic power as we strive for an equitable clean energy transition. Zapata immigrated from Colombia, was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

ClearLoop or ClearLoopUs on most social medias is for brands that want to reclaim their #carbonfootprint & expand access to #cleanenergy by building new #solar projects in the #USA ❌🌫😷👍☀️🇺🇸

You can keep up with Clearloop on Twitter or their blog, https://clearloop.us/category/blogs/, and if you’d like to get in touch with Laura, you can follow her on LinkedIn.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

 

Other show notes: 

#30 Reversing Climate Change through Podcasts with Ross Kenyon, Co-Founder of Nori and Host of the Reversing Climate Change Podcast

#30 Reversing Climate Change through Podcasts with Ross Kenyon, Co-Founder of Nori and Host of the Reversing Climate Change Podcast

July 5, 2022

Nori is the carbon removal marketplace that  helps organizations, companies, and individuals meet their climate goals with high-quality carbon removal offsets. They are early advocates of carbon removal (as opposed to avoided carbon offsets), advocates of the intersection of blockchain technology and climate, and purveyor of regenerative agriculture projects. 

Ross is a former political philosophy PhD student who decided playing with filmmaking was more fun than graduate school. He is a screenwriter, producer. He’s also worked in technology communications in the blockchain space. And he is a cofounder of Nori as well as their their Creative Editor where he leads the development of Nori's podcasts and other types of media.

If you’d like to get in touch with Ross, you can follow him on LinkedIn or follow Nori on Twitter

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software engineer looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

References During the Show:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendell_Berry

- https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/michael-e-mann/the-new-climate-war/9781541758223/

-https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/220698/the-wizard-and-the-prophet-by-charles-c-mann/

-https://www.amazon.com/Earth-Human-Hands-Shaping-Planets/dp/1455589128 (David Grinspoon)

 

 

#29 Creating New Markets to Achieve Net Zero with Elena Schmidt, Executive Director at The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)

#29 Creating New Markets to Achieve Net Zero with Elena Schmidt, Executive Director at The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)

June 28, 2022

How do we create new paradigms that shift the current economic incentives that ignore negative externalities like carbon emissions? One method is through new economic markets. But in order to build those markets, the players new frameworks and methodologies that govern the new market. Taking on this type of work requires a penchant for rule making and attention to detail. Not everyone is cut out for this work but there is a small group of organizations helping move the world closer to net zero by establishing the foundation for new markets and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) is one of those key leaders.

RSB is a global membership organization that drives the sustainable transition to a bio-based and circular economy. RSB’s sustainability framework has been developed by its multi-stakeholder membership, and is a uniquely robust and credible foundation for supporting innovative solutions to the climate crisis. RSB uses this foundation to develop projects, new knowledge and solutions that equip key decision-makers to deliver positive impacts for people and the planet.

RSB’s Executive Director, Elena Schmidt, has a strong sustainability background with a record of delivering robust product and business model innovations, serving as Head of the TÜV SÜD Certification Body for Climate and Energy before joining RSB. She has extensive experience in working with complex chain of custody settings, developing strategic business models, and managing innovation projects to establish new certification services in the private and public sector. She holds Master’s degrees in both Environmental and Political Sciences.

If you’d like to get in touch with Elena, you can follow her on LinkedIn or follow RSB on Twitter

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software engineer looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

 

#28 The Sustainable Possibilities of Crypto with Jonathan Rackoff, ex Coinbase, Obama White House and EPA

#28 The Sustainable Possibilities of Crypto with Jonathan Rackoff, ex Coinbase, Obama White House and EPA

June 14, 2022

Is cryptocurrency bad for the environment? A simple question with no simple answers. Not all coins are equally bad for the environment. Nearly all crypto related emissions are scope 2 — so is it even their fault? It's complicated.

On today's episode, Nathan explores the good and bad of crypto vis-á-vis the climate with Jonathan Rackoff, a Sustainability & ESG leader who recently spent ten months with Coinbase, helping the crypto giant with ESG, sustainability and climate issues.

During the episode, Nathan and Jonathan discuss Jonathan's winding career journey, consider the fact that nearly all of crypto's emissions are scope 2, and look for a comparison for the nascent world of crypto.

Jonathan Rackoff is a sustainability executive, former Obama White House and U.S. EPA senior lawyer, and expert in federal regulatory policy, process, and enforcement with over 20 years of diverse government affairs, crisis communications, and civil and administrative litigation experience spanning global law firms, public companies, and early and late stage startups.

If you’d like to get in touch with Jonathan, you can follow him on LinkedIn.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software engineer looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

#27 Discovering Your Inner Environmentalist with Mark Tercek, Former CEO of The Nature Conservancy

#27 Discovering Your Inner Environmentalist with Mark Tercek, Former CEO of The Nature Conservancy

June 7, 2022

How does a banker end up leading the world's largest environmental organization? What resources did he use to build his sustainability knowledge and what frameworks did he learn from 11 years leading the organization? In latest episode of TNZL, Nathan speaks with Mark Tercek to understand how he unlocked his inner environmentalist and how he thinks everyone needs to do the same. 

During the episode Nathan and Mark discuss Mark's climate journey, his unique perspective on the intersection of finance, capitalism, and the environment. They get into disclosure and carbon accounting with some added history of GAAP financial accounting and other lessons from his career for how to move the world closer to net zero emissions. 

Mark R. Tercek is the former president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. He is co-author of the book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature. Prior to The Nature Conservancy, he was a manager director and partner at Goldman Sachs for 24 years and was a member of the faculty at New York University Stern School of Business.

Today Mark spends his time advising companies, investors, and NGOs on ambitious environmental initiatives and also writes a bi-weekly newsletter on Substack "The Instigator."

If you’d like to get in touch with Mark, you can follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software engineer looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Other Show Notes 

-ETFs for the Amazon (blog post)

-Stewart Brand Biography

-Mark's Book Recommendations 

 

#26 Grand Challenges with Apoorv Sinha and Madison Savilow of Carbon Upcycling, winners of the Carbon X-Prize X-Factor Award

#26 Grand Challenges with Apoorv Sinha and Madison Savilow of Carbon Upcycling, winners of the Carbon X-Prize X-Factor Award

May 30, 2022

Business and governments have the unique responsibility to foster innovation that breeds new technologies, especially ones that enable humanity to achieve net zero. While the more recognizable way is via a maverick engineer who inspires venture capital firms to invest in her idea, there is a second method. That method is "grand challenges," or competitions with a stated goal, like removing millions of tons of carbon a year), and offering up a prize money for the winners, also in the millions of dollars.

Carbon Upcycling is a leading carbon to value (also known as carbon utilization) company that has participated in multiple climate-focused grand challenges and has a number of lessons to share with future participants.

Joining The Net Zero Life to share those lessons, along with frameworks for leading a net zero start-up in a oil and gas heavy state, is Madison Savilow, Chief of Staff, and Apoorv Sinha, co-founder and CEO.

Carbon Upcycling is a Carbon X-Prize X-Factor award winner, an Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) Grand Challenge Semi-finalist, and has received support from various provincial and federal entities in Canada. In 2017, CUT became the youngest CO2 utilization company to commercialize a product from CO2 emissions. 

Apoorv Sinha is the co-founder and CEO of Carbon Upcycling Technologies, he is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Energy awardee (2020), a Clean 50 Honoree (2021), he’s an alumnus of the Energy Futures Lab, a 2016 Leading Change delegate, a Clean50 Emerging Leader 2016, and has served on the ACTia (Alberta Cleantech Industrial Alliance) Board of Directors (2017-19). 

Madison Savilow is the Chief of Staff at Carbon Upcycling Technologies. She also started and leads the company’s consumer brand, Oco. Madison has spoken at TEDx conferences, podcasts, and is a member of the World Economic Forum as the Curator of Global Shapers Calgary. Most recently, Madison was listed on the 2021 Corporate Knights Top 30 Under 30 List of Sustainability Leaders. 

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software engineer looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

If you’d like to get in touch with Madison, you can follow her on LinkedIn or Twitter. For Apoorv LinkedIn LinkedIn is best.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#25 Why Net Zero Starts with the Grid with Rob Gramlich, Founder and President of Grid Strategies LLC

#25 Why Net Zero Starts with the Grid with Rob Gramlich, Founder and President of Grid Strategies LLC

May 24, 2022

A net zero future starts with zero-carbon electricity and then electrifying everything, so why are developers with fully funded solar and wind energy generation projects waiting to build them? What's the biggest constraint to increasing zero carbon energy in North America? How do you handle the 'wind doesn't blow and sun doesn't shine problem?'

The grid, the grid, and the grid. In the third episode of season three, Nathan interviews Rob Gramlich, a "grid geek" who has spent his entire career working to make the world more sustainable by effecting change at the highest levels of government and industry.  His latest effort is utilizing his 20+ years of directing or advising energy industry and policy leaders to ensure the grid is ready to support the clean energy transition. During the episode Nathan dives into Rob's climate journey, how the grid works, and why getting the grid right is so critical to achieving net zero. 

Rob Gramlich is President of Grid Strategies LLC, a consultancy focused on transmission and power market reforms for a low carbon grid.  He is also Executive Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid and of Working for Advanced Transmission Technologies (WATT Coalition).   

Rob oversaw transmission and power market policy for the American Wind Energy Association from 2005 through 2016 as Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs, Interim CEO, and Policy Director. He was Economic Advisor to FERC Chairman Pat Wood III from 2001 to 2005, Senior Economist at PJM Interconnection in 1999 and 2000. He has testified before the US Congress at the invitation of both parties, as well as the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and state regulatory commissions. 

Rob has a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from UC Berkeley and a BA with Honors in Economics from Colby College.

You can learn more about Grid Strategies LLC on their website,  https://gridstrategiesllc.com/, and if you’d like to get in touch with Rob, you can follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software engineer looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#24 Sustainable Corporate Governance with Diana Birkett Rakow, SVP Alaska Airlines

#24 Sustainable Corporate Governance with Diana Birkett Rakow, SVP Alaska Airlines

May 17, 2022

How do you move the needle in a hard-to-abate sector? What does good sustainable corporate governance look like in a Fortune 1000 company? In the second episode of season three, TNZL explores the corporate side of collective action with Diana Birkett Rakow, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Sustainability at Alaska Airlines.

During the episode Nathan and Diana discuss how she connects to climate through art and painting, and her new(ish) role at Alaska Airlines. Diana is a sustainability leader who thinks about maximizing her impact while taking into account climate equity and justice. Known throughout the aviation industry for their sustainability efforts, Alaska Airlines has been working to manage their carbon emissions and reporting their carbon footprint since 2009 -- long before that was the popular thing to do.

Diana leads Alaska's government affairs, ESG and sustainability, communications and community engagement with teams in Seattle, San Francisco, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. Together, they are responsible for advancing Alaska’s business, supporting the company’s employees and local communities, and managing its environmental and social impact consistent. Diana led development of the company’s 2025 ESG goals and five-part path to reach net zero by 2040, and is responsible for Alaska’s venture arm – Alaska Star Ventures – which is focused on identifying and enabling technologies to accelerate that path. She also chairs the Board for the Alaska Airlines Foundation.

Diana joined Alaska Airlines after two decades in health care, public health, and government service. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and master’s degrees in public administration and public health from the University of Washington. She also serves on the Boards of Philanthropy Northwest, Pacific Science Center, Bay Area Council, and Seattle Metro Chamber.

You can keep up with Alaska Airlines on their blog, https://news.alaskaair.com/, and if you’d like to get in touch with Diana, you can follow her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

#23 Hacking Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis with Gavin McCormick, Executive Director of WattTime

#23 Hacking Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis with Gavin McCormick, Executive Director of WattTime

May 10, 2022

How does one go from teaching in Namibia to founding one of the most audacious climate change programs in the world? Well, in Gavin McCormick's case he was convinced to attend a hackathon which led him to discover automated emissions reductions (AER) and in relatively short order to work with Al Gore to measure all of the world's emissions in real time through Climate TRACE.

In the first episode of season three, Gavin shares his story of how he become the co-founder and Executive Director of WattTime and the lessons he learned along the way.

Gavin McCormick is cofounder and Executive Director of WattTime, the not-for-profit tech startup that invented Automated Emissions Reduction (AER) technology. AER is software that causes IoT devices  He is also cofounder and Electricity Co-Lead of Climate TRACE, an open collaboration between over 50 collaborating nonprofits, tech companies, and universities. 

Climate TRACE teams are applying computer vision and machine learning to satellite imagery and big data to monitor all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.  Gavin dropped out of a PhD program in environmental economics at UC Berkeley to found WattTime. In 2021, Climate TRACE was named a TIME Magazine invention of the year.

You can learn more about WattTime on their website, https://www.watttime.org/. If you’d like to get in touch with Gavin you can follow him on LinkedIn. His TED talk on "Tracking the whole world's carbon emissions — with satellites and AI" from the TED Countdown conference in November 2021.

Season three of The Net Zero Life is powered by Climate People. If you are a software developer or recruiter looking to get into climate tech, Climate People is the best place to start. You can reach Brendan Anderson, CEO of Climate People, at brendan@climatepeople.com.

Keep up with the show by following The Net Zero Life on Twitter and Instagram (@thenetzerolife). You can also get in touch at www.thenetzerolife.com or via email at nathan@thenetzerolife.com.

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