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Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Jeff Gentner/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Tom Steyer is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to fighting climate change. And other people's money too.

Driving the news: Steyer, the former presidential candidate and billionaire founder of Farallon Capital, today launched Galvanize, a climate tech investment platform that will back companies from the seed-stage through private equity and project finance.

  • Steyer's partner is Katie Hall, co-founder and co-chair of Hall Capital Partners.
  • Galvanize's senior team includes Veery Maxwell (Ajax Investment Strategies), Saloni Multani (Hellman & Friedman and CFO for Biden's presidential campaign), Cliff Ryan (Riverstone Holdings) and Christian Artmann (Deutsche Bank).
  • Initial backers include Marc Benioff's Time Ventures and the Laurene Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective.

The plan is to form a series of funds with different investment strategies, totaling billions of dollars. It also expects to provide lots of value-add capabilities at the umbrella level, including people with deep knowledge of policy and politics.

  • Steyer declined to provide specifics, citing SEC marketing restrictions, but said he's already been investing personal money in climate tech companies.
  • "This is going to be investment with activism, which we're calling movement capitalism," he tells me. "Bring the best of capitalism — its innovation, entrepreneurialism and competitiveness — and apply it to a generational imperative."

Galvanize plans to invest throughout the climate tech ecosystem, but Steyer specifically pointed out his interest in carbon sequestration and agricultural technologies.

The bottom line: Private market investors spent years shying away from climate tech, scarred from failed aughts investments that were ahead of their time in terms of execution ability and market adoption. That pause is over.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Report: Climate change is an "emerging threat" to U.S. economic stability

A firefighter watches an airplane drop fire retardant ahead of the Alisal fire near Goleta, California, on Oct. 13. Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A top U.S. financial coordinating organization took several steps on Thursday to manage the growing risks that climate change poses to the U.S. financial system.

Why it matters: While the Biden administration has been taking an all-of-government approach to climate change, like factoring climate risk into planning at the Treasury Department, today's moves by the politically independent Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) carry significant weight.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A Hard Truths event on the tech industry

On Tuesday, October 19th, Axios Editor-in-Chief Sara Kehaulani Goo and chief technology correspondent Ina Fried examined the current inequities within hiring practices, workplace culture and development in the tech industry today, featuring Girls Who Code CEO Dr. Tarika Barrett and TechEquity Collaborative founder & CEO Catherine Bracy.

Dr. Tarika Barrett explained how to engage and empower young girls to learn tech skills, how the pandemic exacerbated access to educational tools, and how big tech companies can address the industry’s gender gap.

  • On empowering the next generation of tech leaders: “Having more representation of women and people of color in tech in particular, can actually be the difference we need to empower a pipeline of young people and girls of color to pursue the tech careers of the future.”
  • On the gender gap in the tech industry: “As we are simultaneously addressing this growing gender gap in tech and trying to prepare our girls and young women for these thriving, exciting careers of the future, we also know that it’s within an industry that continues to sometimes be the source of negative news and troubling instances of discrimination.”

Catherine Bracy highlighted how tech platforms and their business models affect the broader economic well-being of a community, and the importance of improving working conditions for different tiers of workers at tech companies.

  • On inequities for contracted employees at tech companies: “We have done research that shows that not only are they treated differently because of labor laws and whatever else, but they are also more likely to be members of underrepresented minority groups.”
  • On how tech companies can better support contracted workers: “We do think that if they’re going to contract out, that they should ensure with the vendors that they’re using to provide this workforce, that those workers have an equal level of protection, benefits, stability as their full-time workforce. I feel like that’s the least that they can do.”

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Goldman Sachs Chief Operating Officer for Global Investment Research Gizelle George-Joseph, who spoke about how structural barriers affect labor market opportunities for minority communities.

  • “We talk about education, and six decades after Brown vs. Board of Education, 70% of Black students still attend a school where the majority of students are non-white. All of these have really broad repercussions for Black women and very large negative impacts on college graduation rates, on the labor market, and ultimately on our life outcomes.”

Thank you Goldman Sachs for sponsoring this event.

Study: More infectious diseases inevitable due to climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Climate change is creating ideal conditions for infectious diseases to spread more quickly, according to The Lancet Countdown's annual climate report out Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's just one of the increasingly urgent threats to human health emerging from global climate change.

The big picture: Climate studies show that extreme weather events — such as more powerful hurricanes, heavier rainstorms, larger wildfires and hotter and longer-lasting heat waves — are worsening worldwide due to the burning of fossil fuels for energy, Axios' Andrew Freeman reports.

  • These events have had serious impacts on the health of entire regions and the vulnerable causing preventable deaths, food and water insecurity and the spread of infectious diseases.