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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.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
19 mins ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

19 mins ago - Science

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.