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Expand chart
Data: PitchBook; Chart: Axios Visuals

Venture capital investment into technologies aimed at combating climate change reached a record high in 2020, according to PitchBook, a private-market data firm.

Why it matters: Clean-energy technologies must increase substantially to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years. It’s also notable that the pandemic didn’t dampen the trend.

By the numbers: The climate technology market amounts to around $2.5 trillion, per PitchBook.

  • In 2020, VC deals amounted to $16.4 billion, which barely surpassed 2018’s total of $16.3 billion.
  • However, 2018 saw more deals (448) compared to 2020 (416).
  • As the chart shows, venture capital investments in this space started increasing significantly in 2016 and 2017, despite President Trump’s dismissal of the problem.
  • For context, the overall amount of global venture capital investment in 2019 was a little more than $300 billion, per PitchBook.

How it works: PitchBook broadly defines climate technology as including energy, transportation, agriculture, buildings, industry, materials, resources and adapting to the impacts of a warming world.

The big picture: Moves by major emitting nations, such as China, Japan and the United States (under President-elect Joe Biden), to commit to aggressively cutting emissions over the next 30 years are set to drive even more investment in the coming years, the report states.

  • The impacts of a warming world is also a big factor, it says.
  • “Whether it be water scarcity or flash flooding, people around the world are feeling the effects of climate change more viscerally, putting their plight in greater focus and spurring governments to take the issue more seriously,” states a report PitchBook wrote on this topic last year, which was updated with complete 2020 data at Axios’ request.

Go deeper: Why clean energy isn’t enough to tackle climate change

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Transportation's next big thing: flying taxis

Photo: Joby Aviation

The next big thing in transportation could be electric flying taxis — think of a drone crossed with a helicopter — that would ferry people and goods high above congested roadways.

Why it matters: Air taxis are billed as a cheaper, faster, cleaner mode of transportation, and an important link between remote areas and population centers. But there are still technical and regulatory challenges to overcome — not to mention public skepticism.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.