To fix the climate, these 10 investors play the house on the ocean

Climate change is a problem. It is important and vital that investors begin to understand the opportunities that arise when trying to solve the problem. Now, they’re starting to cast their net wider for other, nearby opportunities.

The technology used to protect the oceans seems to be one of the opportunities when it is used to replace old and harmful methods of energy production and food. In fact, when we asked 10 investors in the sector to share their thoughts on the space, we quickly learned that as climate change heats up and people look for more ways to address it, ocean protection technologies are gaining more interest than general investors. Effects.

“Climate change used to be more focused on terrestrial activities. Now it’s ‘hot’ for ocean conservation,” Daniela Fernandez, managing partner at Seabird Ventures, told TechCrunch.

The world’s oceans and atmospheres have always been tightly coupled. Winds generate ocean currents, which in turn affect the weather in open water and deep into the continents.

“Our planet is 70% ocean, so the urgency of facing and solving climate change can only be properly addressed if we include the ocean in the equation,” said Rita Sosa, partner at Faber Ventures.

The open ocean contains a lot of energy. In the past, access has meant drilling on the ocean floor to tap oil and gas deposits that are difficult to reach. Today, however, it means tapping into the enormous power embodied in the ocean’s wind and waves. Offshore wind alone has the potential to meet the world’s electricity demand by 2040, according to the IEA, more than today’s offshore oil and gas production.

Stefan Feilhauer, managing director of clean energy at S2G Ventures, emphasizes the viability of technologies such as offshore wind as commercial alternatives to fossil fuels: “Onshore wind has stretched supply chains around the world. It is possible to manufacture, install and operate a wind turbine backed by technology and technology and with years of experience to understand its performance. The only ocean-based renewable technology that meets these requirements today is offshore wind.

Oceans constantly exchange gases with the atmosphere, after all, they are absorbing and storing about 30% of all carbon dioxide pollution. Ocean capacity as a carbon sink has historically depended on stable levels of acidity, causing problems for countless marine life. However, this potential creates opportunities to activate key nutrient cycles and contain excess human emissions.

“A healthy ocean will continue to provide important opportunities for carbon sequestration,” said Peter Bryant, Program Director (Oceans) at the Builders Initiative. “There are many opportunities to increase the carbon storage capacity of the ocean. We have biological approaches that include ecosystem restoration, seaweed cultivation and iron fertilization. Chemical solutions that minerals use to lock dissolved carbon dioxide into bicarbonate; and electromagnetic approaches that store carbon by driving electric currents through seawater.

Founders and investors are growing the ocean’s potential as a source of renewable energy and its ability to mask and even solve some climate problems. “We are confident in the resilience of the ocean here. It’s simply one of the best resources we have in our fight against the climate, and that’s an opportunity,” said Propeller partner Reece Pacheco. “We will not achieve our climate goals without the ocean. Four points.”

“It’s taken a long time, but the ocean is finally being recognized as a vital part of our fight against climate change,” said Christian Lim, managing director of Swin Capital Partners.

We talked to:

  • Daniela V. Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Ocean Alliance and Managing Partner at Seabird Ventures
  • Tim Agnew, General Partner, Bold Ocean Ventures
  • Peter Bryant, Program Director (Oceans), Builders Initiative
  • Kate Danaher, Managing Director (Oceans and Seafood), S2G Ventures
  • Francis O’Sullivan, Managing Director (Oceans & Seafood), S2G Ventures
  • Stefan Feilhauer, Managing Director (Clean Energy), S2G Ventures
  • Sanjeev Krishnan, Senior Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, S2G Ventures
  • Rita Sosa, Partner, Faber Ventures
  • Christian Lim, Managing Director, SWEN Blue Ocean Partners
  • Reece Pacheco, Partner, Propeller

Daniela V. Fernandez, Founder and CEO, Sustainable Ocean Alliance (Seabird Ventures)

Climate change is the elephant in the room. Has the rise of the issue taken the air out of the room, or is there a focus on ocean conservation that otherwise wouldn’t be there? How have things changed in the last five years?

Climate change has been a topic for decades. Ten years ago it was a “nice to have”: “If you have more money to do a climate risk assessment, we’ll give it to climate change.”

Now, it’s more of a “must have”. If we don’t address climate change, we will see more extreme weather events. Over the past five years, we’ve seen an increased focus on ocean conservation, but there’s still a $149 billion annual ocean funding gap. Climate change was more focused on terrestrial activities. Now it is “heat” to protect the ocean.

Now we are starting to see a different tone change. It used to be that “the ocean is a victim of climate change” but now “the ocean can be a climate hero” and play an important role in reducing our carbon footprint. However, this change is still in its infancy. In particular, the philanthropic community is still realizing the importance of supporting efforts to develop ocean-based climate solutions.

To date, most climate advocates have focused on land-based or atmospheric issues, while ocean funders have focused on important but climate-related ocean issues such as ending unsustainable fishing practices and establishing marine protected areas. The ocean is the largest sink of carbon on the planet, and we need to better understand both what all that carbon absorption does to the ocean ecosystem and how much it can contribute without disrupting its other critical ecosystem functions.

It’s encouraging to see governments taking action to really prioritize and create financial incentives to invest in climate/ocean innovation, such as the bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2022. If we don’t have a habitable planet in the next seven years, work will not be an option. We are seeing society adjust its priorities and climate is currently one of the highest.

Climate change has been called “recession proof” as governments and investors come to recognize the scope, scale and urgency of the issue. Do you think the same is true of ocean conservation technology?

Yes. Climate change and ocean regeneration are inherently linked. Because the ocean produces more than half of the air we breathe and absorbs 93% of the heat from global warming, it is humanity’s greatest buffer against climate change.

Ocean technology and climate change companies and investors all have the same goal. The urgency of the climate crisis has driven ambitious financiers and entrepreneurs to engage in developing solutions regardless of the state of the economy.

Climate change has had a profound effect on the oceans, causing everything from warming water to increasing acidity. How are you addressing climate change in your investments?

Seabird Ventures is monitoring and reporting on the social and/or environmental impact of our investments. We have reported externally on the following key ocean impact areas:

  • removal or avoidance of blue carbon and CO2e; Initiatives in this category are incredibly important to capture and eliminate harmful GHG emissions that contribute to climate change and ocean acidification. The impact of these companies is measured by the weight of the reduced or continuous CO2e emissions due to the solution.
  • waste reduction and circular use; We focus on companies that pollute our oceans with solid waste and plastic. Two commonly used methods are preventing plastics from entering waterways and plastic cleanup solutions. Plastic pollution is responsible for suffocating marine life and destroying marine and coastal ecosystems. In this category, footprint impact is achieved by measuring the amount of plastic that is reduced, removed or recycled. Companies offering fully biodegradable plastic alternatives will be considered in this area for their ability to use traditional plastics.

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