Hi there 👋 My name is Lars and I launched The Climate Innovator as blog and newsletter in May 2022. When you start a newsletter, especially one about climate innovation, you must make sure it really is what you want. After all, I now need to publish content every week, research startups, and areas which are new to me and condense all of that for you and 201 other readers to read and enjoy.
So, I asked myself two questions.
Why do I want to write this newsletter? 🤔
In 2006 I watched Al Gore’s “An inconvenient truth” for the first time. It was shocking, when I first heard of climate change and the effects it will have on all our lives. How could this largest catastrophe in human history go so unnoticed by all the people around me? I could not accept that people were ignoring the climate crisis everywhere and every day. So, I convinced my teachers to watch “An inconvenient truth” with our class. In eighth grade, I started a newspaper on renewables and climate innovation and later joined the green party in Germany. Then, I studied energy technologies at RWTH Aachen University, and afterwards joined a cleantech startup. I even founded my own sustainability data startup SimplyLCA, and recently became a consultant to the energy industry.
But working for the management level of energy corporations does not always feel very impactful. Even if you are developing strategies for entering markets of climate innovation. But I want to contribute to solving climate change – doing my part by doing what I do best. Learning about problems, potential solutions, and putting them into perspective within the big picture. Meanwhile connecting the dots between different areas, various problems and solutions, and the people and communities behind these developments.
I want to accelerate climate innovation by empowering and connecting climate innovators and entrepreneurs worldwide. 🌍Lars Schellhas
What exactly do I want to write about and why? 🤯
Climate change on the one hand and climate innovation on the other are both incredibly complex and deep fields. We could discuss them at length forever. No matter in which sector, industry, community, society, or field of policy you look. You will always find a connection to climate change and an infinite number of related subtopics to discuss. That is why I needed to niche down and limit the scope of this newsletter.
I have been in politics long enough to know that I do not want to write about climate policy. At least not unless a specific context requires it.
As an engineer, I am aware of the need for technical solutions for the technical side of climate change. My interest in technology and innovation made it an easy choice to stay up to date with climate innovations. And I want to share my insights with you!
Let’s create a mutual understanding of where we are going and how!
🏭 Understanding the impact individual sectors and industries have on the climate
Many people still believe that replacing coal and gas with renewables is enough to solve climate change. Although, you and I both know already that decarbonisation must include mobility, heating, agriculture, and much more. This especially includes a large amount of industrial production from steel to cement.
Even with an awareness of the various sectors and industries requiring decarbonisation, it is hard to know how big their share of the overall emission pie is. For every sector or industry, I will write about, I want to provide an estimate of how big their impact is and how difficult it is to reduce their emissions at scale.
🚧 Understanding the specific technical and systematic problems climate innovation is facing in various sectors and industries
With renewable energies, electric vehicles, and heat pumps already available, it is hard to see why we are still struggling to solve climate change. Often, we hear someone say:
“All technologies we need already exist. We just need to deploy them.”
Many people do not realise that innovation does not only include the invention of a new technology. But we need innovation at every step of the development journey of a solution. Including the invention of course, but also:
- turning an invention into a product
- making this product economically viable and better than the existing alternatives in all aspects
- creating innovative business models which enable value creation
- creating a viable business around the product to earn profits which in return allow for scaling the solution
- scaling the solution, including build-up of manufacturing capacity, growing organisations, delivering to customers worldwide
- and much more…
We need to address every problem in every step of this journey to enable a sustainable future for you, me, and humanity overall. Talking to the players in different industries, I will identify the most important roadblocks on their way to sustainability, creating awareness for the problems that still need to be tackled by innovators and entrepreneurs like you and me.
🚀 Understanding what climate innovation solutions exist, who is working on them, and how big their impact could be in comparison to the size of the problem
Do you sometimes wonder why all these problems aren’t solved, yet? There are already soooo many “cleantech” companies out there whose miraculous solutions are shared all over the internet. Well, I do wonder about it every day and most of the times, those solutions are not really solutions for our problems at all. Let me explain.
In the startup world, many startups build fantastic products and still fail dramatically, because they built a product that no one wants. It’s a product which doesn’t solve a problem for anyone – a so-called “solution looking for a problem”.
Many innovative technologies and products are developed because they could be developed, not because they were needed. And while many of them sound interesting or even fantastic when you first hear about them, it is unclear how big their impact could really be and how likely it is to realise their impact potential.
I want to share currently developed solutions with you, but I will focus on high impact solutions. Whenever possible, I will try to provide you with an estimate of how many emissions could potentially be reduced with these solutions compared to the big picture and how likely it is that these solutions are applied at scale realising their potential.
💡 Connecting with you and other ambitious climate innovators and climate entrepreneurs who are changing the world of today and tomorrow
Behind every problem and every solution there are humans like you and me. Everyday people, workers, managers, investors, founders, and many more, who are trying to do what they think is right every day.
If we want to understand the problems we are facing better, and find the best solutions, we need to work together. And for that, we need to be aware of each other and connect in the first place. Over the course of this newsletter, I will talk to many interesting people, and I will introduce you to many of them as well. We are on this journey together and I want to connect with you, learn what motivates you and how you are driving change in this world.
Thank you for joining me and 201 other climate innovators in The Climate Innovator newsletter!
See you next week. 😉 (Haven’t subscribed to The Climate Innovator newsletter yet? Join here!)