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We’re back in! A letter from our CEO

January 25, 2021

· 3 min read
Carmen Ayala

We’re back in the Paris Climate Accord! On January 20, 2021 President Joe Biden reentered the U.S. into the agreement – and took other sweeping actions to address climate change in a just and equitable way. As we (re)enter this new chapter, I am reflecting on the moments of both anxiety and optimism that many of us have shared over the last 4 years.

Four years ago I was in Marrakech, Morocco, with my colleagues Ramsay and Melissa, along with many brothers and sisters from across the world. This was a few days after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, and about a week after I got married. It was COP22, and nations had gathered to chart the implementation of their emissions goals set forth in the Paris Agreement a year earlier. But that work was complicated by the uncertainty of how the next four years in the U.S. would impact climate progress. This story is coming full-circle as we celebrate our re-entry into the Paris Agreement and once again pursue decarbonization with the leadership and support of the Biden-Harris Administration.

The last four years have been incredibly eventful in climate and energy. We saw unprecedented numbers of cities and states take action to lower emissions. We saw oil prices drop below zero, and Exxon was dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. We saw decades of drought lead to the destruction of millions of acres of forest in Australia, Amazon, California, and the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. We saw communities of color continue to be disproportionately impacted by the consequences of climate change. We saw a youth-led movement send shockwaves through corporations and lead to a big shift in consumer preference. We saw the rise of the SPAC, a new financing model bringing significant liquidity opportunities to companies addressing climate change (including for our portfolio companies Stem and Proterra).

Progress isn’t a linear path. It’s lots of ups and downs, and finding creative ways to work together to create a better future. As we enter this new year, partnering deeply is one of our primary pillars to create impact. If you have ideas on how we can work together, get in touch.

As poet Amanda Gorman inspired us yesterday,

When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

I look forward to being brave together in this new day.