What lessons can we draw from COVID-19 that we can apply to clean energy in addressing climate change? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Daniel Goldman, Co-founder and Managing Director of Clean Energy Ventures, in their Session:
There are certainly lessons we can learn from how we are dealing with the pandemic globally that can be applied to address the climate crisis. One opportunity I see is for investors to begin to assess investments with a more synergistic approach. From an investment standpoint, how can companies be considerate of the intersection between health and wellbeing and climate, both of which are important focus areas in the future?
One thing that we’re seeing during the pandemic is how necessary innovative and specialized technologies are helping us understand, identify and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our world. There is an opportunity for us to build new technology with a wide range of applications. For example, when we build sensors and smart cities, it won’t just be about detecting carbon emissions but about using the same technology to detect viruses, chemicals and anything else that may harm human health. This is an area of overlap where there will be a lot of opportunity for development.
Another thing that we will see global businesses struggle with in the coming months is how to get workers back into buildings safely. Taking precautions to make sure that buildings are safe is imperative for workers’ health and wellbeing, and a significant part of that is managing the HVAC systems. The innovation in this space to bring forth technology that is both energy-efficient, cost-effective and mitigates the dangers of COVID-19 will be key for us to return to work in any capacity. Seeing as 40% of emissions come from buildings emissions, there are layers of health and air quality implications on top of that.
This is also a wake-up call for us to be more aware and involved with what is happening in our local, state and federal government. We need to bring in not only the state but also federal governments to fund climatetech solutions, like what ARPA-E, NYSERDA (NY) and the MassCEC (MA) are doing but at a much higher level to ensure that these new technologies are brought to a point that is VC-ready and then able to scale and take to the market. The current lack of support at the federal level, combined with relaxing environmental standards, the United States pulling out of the Paris Agreement and the lack of global collaboration are all factors that are hindering our ability to address climate change rapidly and effectively. The private sector needs to aggressively pick up the slack where the government is failing.
We need to pay attention to how we are dealing with COVID-19. I believe that this is a true opportunity for lessons as we continue to find ways to combat climate change.