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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Greentown Labs, the big Boston-area incubator of clean technology startups, is opening a second space in Houston, the heart of the U.S. oil industry.

Why it matters: It shows efforts to accelerate changes are already underway in the energy ecosystem even as fossil fuels remain dominant, and the cross-pollination between emerging and legacy industries.

  • It will be the city's first "climatetech and cleantech-focused startup incubator," per the joint announcement with city officials and business leaders.
  • Houston officials said Greentown will be a "catalyst" to help America's fourth-largest city meet its recently unveiled climate plan.

What they're saying: "We believe the engineering strength, talent, and assets of the energy industry in Houston can and must be redeployed toward a decarbonized future," Greentown CEO Emily Reichert said in announcing the move."Climate change cannot be solved from the coasts — we need all hands on deck at this time," she said.

  • The nine-year-old outfit said it's initially providing 30,000 square feet of "prototyping lab" and office space for up to 50 startups.

The big picture via the Houston Chronicle: "Houston has tried in fits and starts to capitalize on its expertise and experience in fossil fuel energy to expand on the growth of renewables."

  • "But the effort has been hampered by insufficient venture capital that favors coastal startups, a wary attitude about the legitimacy of climate change from the conservative oil and gas industry, and few government policies that encourage green energy."

The intrigue: Working with fossil fuel companies is not new for Greentown — which has years-long relationships with Shell and Chevron — or startups in general.

  • Large oil companies are getting more active in low-carbon energy tech and setting climate goals, even as fossil fuels receive the overwhelming share of their investment.
  • The mining and oil heavyweight BHP is a new Greentown partner, and BHP's Michelle Thomas said "we need to leverage those outside our company and outside our industry to think of new ways to reach our goals."

Go deeper: Renewable energy had a big 2019, but still isn't meeting long-term Paris agreement goals

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Why ending the filibuster might not guarantee big climate legislation after a blue wave

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If Democrats win the Senate and White House, ending the filibuster would lower the huge hurdles before climate legislation. But there could be other knock-on effects.

The intrigue: Big climate legislation would hardly be a guarantee, given resistance among Democrats from fossil fuel-producing states, according to a wide-ranging election look-ahead note from ClearView Energy Partners.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Updated Sep 24, 2020 - Energy & Environment

China's split personality on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new insta-analysis of China's vow to achieve "carbon neutrality" before 2060 helps to underscore why Tuesday's announcement sent shockwaves through the climate and energy world.

Why it matters: Per the Climate Action Tracker, a research group, following through would lower projected global warming 0.2 to 0.3°C. That's a lot!

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.