by Ilan Levy
Israel became once again an international stage for climate tech innovation. The ecosystem promoting decarbonization and sustainability is clearly growing, evidencing a huge challenge and an enormous opportunity. According to Start-Up Nation Central climate solutions investment has raised 3.9 billion USD since 2020.
More than 500 global leaders gathered at the event. 85 speakers presented some different viewpoints about the way to solve the climate crisis and how the ecosystem is shaping to achieve the ambitious goal. Interesting discussions and debates took place at the festival. The following paragraphs intend to have an overview of a few of them.
The long-term investment cycle challenge for climate action technology is something that venture capitalists (VCs) agreed on. Investors are looking for returns in 5-7 years for early-stage startups, and some greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, adaptation, or reduction technologies may take even longer to develop, which could be a long time before start making some profit.
Pippa Gawley, Founding Partner of Zero Carbon Capital assured that some VCs are changing, seeking profit because of porpoise, not despite it. She believes there should be a balance between science and business to solve the climate challenges.
Ofir Gomeh, CEO of Capital Nature pointed out that sustainable energy investment is a must. Prioritizing sustainable energy has been pushed not because of climate change, but as a consequence of the current war in Ukraine.
From my standpoint, VCs may have different motivations to start directing their investments towards technologies related to climatech, what is clear is that it is a sector that is becoming a trend. The crisis has to be solved because there is no other option, which is undoubtedly a great opportunity to invest, innovate and be ready for the adoption of new technologies. Whether as an individual, community, company, or government.
Public servants from different departments and countries were present at the event explaining how the government is igniting the climate ecosystem, giving some points of view, and taking the opportunity to report on related issues.
The Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg, launched the Israel draft of the “green” taxonomy based on the European Union’s taxonomy. The document is an attempt for pushing businesses to become net zero emissions. It´s a detailed set of definitions of what it means to be environmentally friendly for investments, businesses, or financial products. Also, she announced the zero-hour program and platform designed to help businesses to develop plans for reaching net zero emissions.
Galit Cohen, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection shared the efforts that have been made by the government for implementing carbon taxes and subsidies for solutions for reducing carbon emissions.
The Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology also was present, Hilla Haddad the Director General made clear that the army, which has been responsible for many innovations and entrepreneurs, is not dealing with climate change, hence the innovation needs to come from elsewhere, as well academia is not good enough for making companies, so the ministry is working in changing that. Certainly, the government recognizes Climate as an opportunity for innovation.
The 44th Mayor of Montreal, Canada, Denis Coderre, was insistent that the way to success in implementing climate solution technologies is through the cities. He maintains that cities are close to the people therefore startups have a 99% chance of success if they make alliances with the government.
Some other common opinions were that the ecosystem is not isolated and collaborations are needed. The fact that solutions must be economically convenient thus excluding the urgency of less consumption as a necessary pathway for solving the crisis produces a rush of making mandatory the compliance of net zero emissions.
According to my way of thinking, the festival made clear that even if there is still a long way to go to achieve net zero emissions, the Israeli ecosystem is getting ready to bring to the world solutions through innovation and collaboration.