A call to action to clean-economy entrepreneurs

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In September, at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, thousands of people from corporations, nonprofits, investment groups, public agencies and others will convene to drive momentum around the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

We’re hoping that hundreds of clean-economy entrepreneurs can be represented, too, to raise their hands — and their voices — in support of accelerating the clean economy.

We aim to get at least 1,000 entrepreneurs, investors and operators of startup incubators and accelerators to sign the Speedwell Call to Action. (The name reflects the need for the world to move faster on climate solutions.) We hope you will be one of them.

Entrepreneurs and startup support organizations are getting their forces organized and voicing support for this summit. They are also encouraging the governments gathered at the event to do more, faster. This call to action being circulated, to be presented to the official meetings at the summit, demands more sooner.

"Decision makers must set the playing field towards well below 2 degrees Celsius of global warming so these efficient and renewable energy-based solutions move from being beacons of light towards partnering up to deliver the exponential change that the world needs," said Stefan Henningsson, Climate Solver program leader at WWF-Sweden.

A similar statement was issued by over 100 startups at COP21, the Paris climate meeting in 2015, organized by ClimateSolvers. This time, the network partners behind the push (of which our New Energy Nexus program is one) aim to increase it by a factor of 10. This is commensurate with the massive change in the market since 2015 and the need based on science-based goals.

As the Speedwell Call to Action puts it: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that the rate of adoption of clean energy must accelerate sixfold for us to meet our Paris commitments, which means we need many millions of companies to start and scale up solutions — fast — in years to come. The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco must be where we begin to accelerate this.

The petition includes a call for governments to take steps addressing climate change and social inequality, with clean energy which offers more jobs and opportunity for all. It speaks to:

  • Recruitment of the best and brightest to work on solutions and startups in the climate space, as well as reversing perverse subsidies to fossil fuels
  • Getting governments to reaffirm commitment to science-based targets and policy instruments that support innovative solution providers that have everything to gain from a rational playing field
  • For financiers and corporate investors in startups, it notes: "The new energy economy is going to be a $120 trillion opportunity space according to some forecasts in the time period of the Paris Agreement — strategic investment will favor the bold."

The role of incubators and accelerators, investors and innovators as key agents of change in the climate struggle is not well understood. But now that the transition to clean energy has gone from impossible to inevitable — society is inextricably moving this century to 100 percent renewables and electrify everything — their role has become obvious.

The only question is can we, working together, make it happen in time?

As the statement puts it to the governmental gathering:

As world leaders you have the power to propel us forward, inspiring citizens to become proud actors, aiders and abetters of change. You set the markets and the pace. You cannot hesitate to put these solutions into place.

We all must be disruptive. Together we must push forward in creating best-in-class, modern energy solutions for all. This needs to happen from today — at full speed.

Within the next decade, we have a window of opportunity to turn the climate boat around into safer waters. We can still set the world on track to continuously build resilience and manage climate risks with minimal loss and damage through 2050 and beyond. The solutions are already here, ready to be scaled. Now — help us and hundreds of thousands of blue-ocean-chasing cleantech entrepreneurs to speedwell.

If you are an entrepreneur, or working with an incubator on electricity and mobility, I urge you to sign the call to action and be present, whether in person or in spirit, at this important event.