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Your climate tech valentines

a pink paper cut illustration of the earth with an arrow going through the center of it

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

We asked climate investors which trends they're in love with — and which they'd love to dump.

  • Here are their valentines. Special shoutout to Andrew Beebe, who managed to work the word "slippery" into a question about climate tech.

Sophie Bakalar, Collaborative Fund

❤️ Geothermal, nuclear, green chemistry, construction materials, water and air purification, and any technology that improves efficiency of data centers.

💔 Any products or services that depend on green premiums or corporate ESG commitments.

Peter Barrett, Playground Global

❤️ Proven technologies that don't use the atmosphere as an open sewer.

💔 Direct air capture is a fantasy; no amount of enthusiasm can overcome thermodynamics.

Andrew Beebe, Obvious Ventures

❤️ Nothing gets one warmed up quite like geothermal. It's always been the silent and strong type (24/7), but was overlooked (hiding underground while their solar cousin got all the exposure). People are finally respecting the deep love geothermal has to offer.

💔 The rest of the subsurface world: oil and gas. They were a great hot date for decades, but now they're just sort of tired, dirty, and slippery. A little too explosive.

Yi Jean Chow, Clean Energy Ventures

❤️ Technologies that enable home electrification, from non-conventional heating sources to ways to avoid electric panel upgrades.

💔 Inflexible 'smart' metering. We need better data on residential energy use, and many smart metering initiatives have not been successful.

Amy Francetic, Buoyant Ventures

❤️ Climate + AI, specifically ways to speed discovery of new sustainable materials.

💔 Storing captured carbon in the ocean or mining the ocean floor for minerals.

Jon Guerster, Activate Capital

❤️ Entrepreneurs working on adaptation of our physical and financial infrastructure to climate shocks.

💔 VC dollars funding companies surviving on government subsidies to build out EV supply chains.

Joshua Posamentier, Congruent Ventures

❤️ Software that makes grids smarter, more robust and resilient; more focus on making the decarbonized grid cheaper and not just greener.

💔 Massive grid interconnection queue-stacking that's meant to gamify an already slow process; hydrogen as a transportation fuel for literally any application.

Katie Rae, Engine Ventures

❤️ Climate companies are getting the capital and resources to scale at the pace required to address our most urgent problems.

💔 Big shifts require big ideas, with equally big risks. Time to exit our "haters era."

John Tough, Energize Capital

❤️ That economic growth is aligned with increased labor demand in the energy sector, resulting in new tools to train a new generation of talent.

💔 The narrative that EVs and solar are in a tailspin — both industries are still among the fastest growing in the world. Also generalist investors that briefly came to climate during the market peak of 2021-22.

Jonathan Winer, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners

❤️ The increased focus on virtual power plants among investors and policymakers.

💔 Skyrocketing energy consumption by data centers.

Bilal Zuberi, Lux Capital

❤️ Carbon-free nuclear power substituting coal and natural gas, combined with low-cost batteries for distributed mobile uses substituting gasoline.

💔 I am unsure if all the meat/seafood substitutes are making a significant dent in the climate fight.

Rick Zullo, Equal Ventures

❤️ Funding market for climate tech is opening up with lots of interest from general and specialized firms.

💔 The IRA roll-out is slower than what it needs to be.

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