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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The precarious White House climate posture

President Biden at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado on Sept. 14, 2021. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The White House is stepping up its PR push for strong climate measures on Capitol Hill even while arguing it can make lots of progress with executive powers.

Driving the news: President Biden yesterday called for congressional action in remarks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate offices closing ahead of "Justice for J6" demonstration

Security fencing outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of a planned "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C.. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Multiple congressional offices will be closed Friday amid security precautions ahead of Saturday's rally in support of jailed Jan. 6 rioters, aides who have been instructed to work remotely tell Axios.

Why it matters: As the U.S. Capitol faces its first large-scale security test since the deadly attack, House and Senate offices are taking precautionary measures to protect staff as well as lawmakers.