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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This morning brought the launch of a climate tech VC fund that's notable for its prominent backers and connective tissue to communities on the front lines of global warming.

Driving the news: Earthshot Ventures is a new early-stage investor in hardware and software companies that announced its presence today and the close of its first fund at $60 million.

  • Backers include Microsoft, billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, the Emerson Collective, McKinley Alaska Private Investment, Kleiner Perkins chairman John Doerr, Hawaii's state pension fund, and Facebook executive Chris Cox.

The big picture: More and more money is flowing into climate tech at a time when the window is closing to meet the Paris Agreement's climate goals.

  • Via Pitchbook, U.S. climate tech deals this year have already totaled a record-breaking $11 billion.

How it works: The new fund is spun out of the Hawaii-based Elemental Excelerator, a decade-old nonprofit climate tech finance organization.

  • Three of Elemental's officials will lead the new Earthshot fund, including Elemental founder and CEO Dawn Lippert.
  • In addition, the new fund is working with the startup accelerator Launch Alaska.

What they're saying: Earthshot's ties to Hawaii- and Alaska-based organizations will "bring real-world experience and insight deploying technologies in communities on the front lines of climate change," the announcement states.

  • Alaska is seeing melting permafrost and rapid warming, and Hawaii is threatened by sea-level rise and changes in weather patterns.

Go deeper: The private climate finance surge

Go deeper

Rep. Underwood: Maternal and infant health linked to climate change

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) with Axios' Tina Reed.

Outcomes around maternal health are linked to climate change, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Human caused climate change is also a public health crisis, as extreme weather events such as heat waves turn deadly, per Axios' Andrew Freedman. There is also the potential for vector-borne infectious diseases to spread outside their traditional range as the world warms.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Exclusive: Climate movement veterans launch major new foundation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Prominent climate movement veterans have set up a major new foundation with a mission to steer big, near-term policy decisions in nations with large carbon emissions.

Driving the news: Climate Imperative is emerging publicly today and with a planned budget of $180 million annually over five years. The California-based foundation began making grants in the spring of 2020.

21 mins ago - Health

Student's death renews calls for schools to stock opioid overdose drug

Photo: Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Connecticut student's death has renewed calls for schools to stock and administer naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Why it matters: U.S. drug overdose fatalities reached six figures in a 12-month period for the first time in November, and synthetic or natural opioids were the cause of a majority of the overdoses.