AI for sustainability, the billionaire betting on coal and Tesla with lower sales in China

Of this week Current Climatewhich brings you the latest news on the sustainability profession every Saturday. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every week.

Tthanks everyone you loyal readers of the Current Climate newsletter. This week we’re kicking off with some format changes in an effort to bring you more focused news on sustainability. That’s why we’re introducing a number of new sections in the newsletter, including one that focuses on venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, contracts and other deals happening in the industry. I am also pleased to announce that my colleague, Alan Ohnsman, join me as co-writer of the newsletter. Alan will bring you news every week about the world of green transport, from electric cars to the hydrogen economy. Let us know what you think of the changes and what other types of news you might be interested in.

But without further ado, here’s your recap of the week in sustainability…

Earlier this weekForbes published its fourth annual AI 50 list, which recognizes the private North American companies that are doing interesting — and effective — things with artificial intelligence. Several of these companies do work directly related to sustainability, including AMP Robotics, which builds 300-pound robots that can quickly sort the millions of tons of glass, plastic and paper sent to recycling plants every year. There’s also Aurora Solar, whose platform uses computer vision to help solar companies design systems for their customers faster, helping to accelerate solar projects at a lower cost. Another highlight on the list is FarmWise, which has developed an autonomous vegetable weeder that allows farmers to maintain their fields with fewer herbicides.

View the full list of 50 companies here.

The Great Lecture

The Aussie Tech Billionaire Who Bet Big On Coal, Making Enemies At Home And Admirers In The US

Atlassian co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes is using his money to stop Australia’s largest energy company from venting carbon. Read more here.

Discoveries and innovations

New Research Suggests California Could Get Its Electricity Grid To 85% clean energy by 2030 without compromising reliability.

Global average temperatures now have about a fifty-fifty chance of rising temporarily 1.5 degrees Celsius past pre-industrial levels within five years, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.

A group of engineers from MIT and the Technical University of Munich have a fuel cell which could use the sugar from a person’s body to power sensors and medical implants.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a biodegradable coating that gives paper bags the waterproof properties of plastic bags without sacrificing flexibility.

Sustainability deals of the week

based in London Carbon cleanwhich develops point source carbon capture systems for heavy industry, announced Wednesday that it has raised a $150 million Series C round led by Chevron.

based in San Francisco Bright seed just closed a series B round of $68 million with a valuation of $300 million. The company uses AI to find useful chemicals in plants that can be used for pharmaceutical or other purposes.

Norwegian CO2 Capture Company Aqualong has just closed a $10 million equity round aimed at growing the team and delivering its first commercial pilot project.

on the horizon

The United Nations Sustainable Energy For All Forum kicks off next week in Kigali, Rwanda. According to the organisers, the forum “serves as a platform to forge new partnerships, encourage investment, address challenges and drive action” to move towards cleaner energy.

What else are we reading this week

Rechargeable molten salt battery freezes energy in place for long-term storage (Scientific American)

India’s heat wave could exacerbate global food crisis (Atlantic)

Cities Release Plants for ‘No Mow May’ (Popular Science)

Green transport update

Tthe electric vehicle revolution is much bigger than Tesla and Ford’s electric pickup truck as the world’s top heavy truck and powertrain makers, including Navistar, Daimler, Cummins, Hyundai and Volvo also plan to shake up their industry with next-generation battery and hydrogen-powered models that reduce carbon and exhaust pollution. Steps from the sprawling ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, North America’s largest freight container terminals, truck makers, and motorcycle and energy companies packed the Long Beach Convention Center this week at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo to debut dozens of electric semi- and heavy-duty commercial truck models to be proposed and tested, many of which will first enter service at those Southern California ports.

The big transport story

Tesla sales in China take a hit as Covid Lockdown continues

Speaking of Tesla, the global leader in EVs is struggling with a headache in China, the market underpinning its profitability. Elon Musk tried to downplay concerns about the electric car maker’s operations in China after a three-week shutdown of its Shanghai factory, but sales and production there are taking a hit for the time being. Read more here.

More green transport news

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning First Drive: An Electric Pickup Done Right

Can the Genesis GV60 electric SUV live with the German competition?

Harley’s ‘LiveWire’ Debuts Second Electric Model, The 80hp S2 Del Mar

Rivian hits new low, shares plunge nearly 20% as early investors sell shares in ‘twitchy market’

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