There's also the matter of a company preparing for the end of the world, or something close to it. We've got a lot to cover, so let's dive into the nine things you need to know from the past week:
1. Startups at the end of the worldIn 2016, the nations of the world created the Paris Agreement, an international call to action in the battle against a rapidly changing climate. It dictated limits to greenhouse gas emissions and other major changes to economies and infrastructure—the sorts of things that might be inconvenient and expensive, but which maybe, just maybe, are worth doing when the alternative is widespread climate catastrophe.
Nearly every country in the world signed the agreement. Three years later, nearly every country in the world is falling short of its commitments—and the science behind those commitments is getting scarier. At the time, the constraints of the Paris Agreement were designed to keep the Earth below 2 degrees Celsius of warming from pre-industrial levels by 2100, an amount that at the time was deemed perilous; according to some current estimates, even if the world rapidly changes course and manages to fulfill its Paris pledges, we could still now be on track for a change of at least 3 degrees Celsius.
What would a world three degrees warmer look like? An ice-free Arctic and oceans several feet higher, turning cities from Miami to Hong Kong into modern-day Atlantises. Unfathomable drought, almost-endless wildfires, thousand-year storms coming once a week, crushing heat, hundreds of millions of refugees with nowhere good to go. The point being, we should try to avoid this, as best we still can.
Another point being: As climate disruption continues, expect a huge wave of startups aiming to help save the globe—and make a little profit along the way.
This week brought one early example, in the form of Jupiter Intelligence, which raised a $23 million funding led by Energize Ventures at a valuation of $76 million. Headed by an impressive team that includes a Nobel Prize recipient and two members of the C-suite with ties to Google, Jupiter is a provider of AI-powered weather prediction data designed to help its customers—such as insurance companies and governments—know when and where climate disasters might strike. Hurricanes and massive floods can cause billions of dollars in damage, and Jupiter offers a chance to mitigate some of that risk.
Other climate-focused startups will surely continue raising cash, perhaps even some with moonshot ideas for creating negative emissions or other ways of dialing back our current rate of warming. If there's one thing worth investing in, it's the literal future of the planet.