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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.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.