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At COP28, the promise and vitality of deep tech was clear

On the ground in Dubai, I had the strong sense that governments and the business community alike are looking to the hardest core of the entre­pre­neurial community for solutions at scale

Early last month, I had the privilege of attending COP28, where I did what I could to support deep tech and connect with people making a difference. Highlights:

At the COP28 Business & Phil­an­thropy Climate Forum, I moderated the panel Accel­er­ating the Green Transition,” whose outstanding participants—

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive, HSBC Group
  • Khaled Al Huraimel, CEO, Beeah Group
  • Kara Hurst, CSO, Amazon
  • Hao Xu, Vice President and Head of Climate, Tencent
  • Jonathan Berman, CEO, Shell Foundation

—offered insight critical to making climate tech a force for good in the fight against climate change, especially in emerging markets and developing economies. 

The takeaway: A major theme of COP28 was — for the first time — engagement with the private sector. Hearing how each of these orga­ni­za­tions is putting its shoulder to the wheel to address the climate crisis was exciting, both on the global and regional scales. Their wide-ranging conver­sa­tion, covering everything from the first data center in the Middle East powered by waste-to-energy to plans to scale up DCVC portfolio company Twelve’s sustainable aviation fuel (not prompted by me), hammered home the point that one of the private sector’s superpowers is nurturing and scaling innovation. 

At the Axios roundtable Accel­er­ating Envi­ron­mental Science Through AI,” moderated by Niala Boodhoo and Alan Neuhauser, I partic­i­pated in a discussion about how compu­ta­tion­ally driven approaches to the hardest problems surrounding climate change can get the support they need.

The takeaway: Three large and promising deep tech areas where AI can accelerate the search for solutions to the climate crisis are enabling: innovations in biology and genomics; material science break­throughs; and simulations of massive-scale complex systems, not previously possible.

In a roundtable called The Nuclear Option,” I and others discussed the enormous potential of nuclear power to make an immediate-term impact against climate change, as well as energy poverty. On this same day at COP28, 20 nations, including the US, pledged to triple their nuclear capacity by 2050

The takeaway: we’re seeing unmis­tak­able momentum toward nuclear, which I have been working toward and calling for passion­ately for years. 

Major DCVC kudos to Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Ventures and COP28 Special Repre­sen­ta­tive for Business and Phil­an­thropy, who has been instru­mental in bringing the most productive energies of the business community to bear on this conference.

This COP also had lots of deep tech including Fervo Energy’s CEO Tim Latimer in a fireside conver­sa­tion with Ruth Porat and a great talk by Oklo cofounder Caroline Cochrane: an auspicious sign for a world that needs to act without delay.

Zachary Bogue is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of DCVC.

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