Discover more from SF Bay Climate Tech by Alec Turnbull & Sonam Velani
Bay Area Climate Tech: June 5 - June 12
Party with a purpose, SF Design Week, Sec. Granholm, Sen. Corey Booker, "the climate change epic we need", and more events this week!
It’s World Ocean Day on Thursday, so we’re kicking off this month with a deep dive into California issues and startups working in the wine-dark sea. Read on to learn more. In the meantime, here are our picks for this week:
Start the week off right with 🥳 Party with a Purpose with Reusable SF on Monday at Manny’s
Wednesday, swing by SF Design Week for ✍️ Risky Business: Climate Change, Design, and Avoiding Unforeseen Consequences
Head to Redwood City on Thursday for the ⚡️ SVLG Energy & Sustainability Summit featuring talks by the DOE’s Jennifer Granholm, EPA’s Michael Reagan, and investor Tom Steyer
On Friday morning, dig into big issues at the 🍷 Wine and Environmental Justice Conference in Hayes Valley
Later on Friday, hear from 🌾 Cory Booker about Taking on Big Ag and Going Big on Climate at the Commonwealth Club
As always, scroll on down for the full list of all events!
Also: We’re excited to be launching a new newsletter this week: Seattle Climate Tech! Forward it onto any friends you know up in the PNW, we’re always looking to expand the community!
The SF Bay Climate Tech Team
P.S. Alec and Sonam are heading to The Next Web conference next week to speak about climate ecosystems and launch Climate Tech Amsterdam! Know anyone we should meet? Drop us a line!
— By Tamar Honig
What provides wildlife habitat, livelihoods to more than 50 million people, vital sustenance to humans and animals alike, an expressway for global commerce, and linkages between world cultures, all at once?
Our oceans do – that sprawling and largely ungoverned expanse that covers two-thirds of planet Earth. In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8th, we’ll be exploring the murky depths of symptoms borne and opportunities represented by the seas in our battle against climate change.
Among its many identities, the ocean is the world’s largest carbon sink, holding 50 times more CO2 than is currently in the atmosphere. Couple this with the scientific consensus that we must remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in addition to reducing how much carbon we emit, and the ocean becomes an attractive storage option. Attractive enough to spur on a host of innovators seeking to harness the ocean’s natural powers and accelerate its absorption of CO2.
The Bay Area offers a compelling testbed for innovations in the burgeoning field of ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR). The San Francisco Bay sees high levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in part because urban areas are sources of atmospheric CO2 and also because the area is influenced by both the open ocean outside the Golden Gate and the freshwater estuary in the South Bay. Estuaries typically contain more dissolved CO2 because they have higher levels of organic matter than the open ocean. When that organic matter decomposes, it releases CO2 into the water.
Leveraging these watery wildernesses to draw down “legacy” CO2 in the atmosphere is no small task: the most recent IPCC Assessment Report emphasizes that CDR will be required at gigaton scale to counteract hard-to-abate emissions. Some Golden State innovators that are stepping up to the challenge include:
Phykos: This Oakland-based startup cultivates fast growing seaweeds on mobile, autonomous systems in the open ocean, then harvests and deposits that seaweed biomass in the deep ocean, sequestering the embodied carbon for a thousand years or more. By mimicking and amplifying natural marine carbon cycles, these robotic seaweed farms are helping to remove excess atmospheric CO2 at scale.
Captura: Emerging from Caltech’s laboratories, Captura uses established electrochemical concepts to capture carbon dioxide from ocean water at scale. Using only renewable electricity and ocean water as inputs, Captura’s electrodialysis process generates a stream of pure CO2 that can be sequestered or utilized to make other low-carbon products.
Dutch Slough: This recently restored tidal marsh in Contra Costa County acts as a powerful carbon sink. Restoration efforts included excavating the channels around the wetlands, leveling the soil, and planting thousands of trees and shrubs. After the plants took root, crews from the California Department of Water Resources broke the surrounding levee, creating the marsh. Now, plants and other organic matter work together to capture CO2 in addition to welcoming new wildlife into the area.
Ocean-based CDR wouldn’t be a nascent, promising field without several accompanying challenges: to name a few, measuring the efficacy and durability of carbon removal, surmounting regulatory and technical obstacles, and addressing equity concerns. Robust policy support will be crucial in overcoming the current gaps and helping this fledgling industry thrive by establishing governance and regulatory frameworks; expanding the existing knowledge base; advancing monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV); and assessing and prioritizing public benefits. Hallmarks of a supportive policy environment for ocean-based CDR will include:
Clear permitting and oversight processes that allow field tests of various ocean carbon removal methods to occur and help identify those with the lowest ecological impacts.
Governance structures to ensure research projects are conducted safely and responsibly.
A focus on economic opportunities and other benefits for coastal communities.
Improved public awareness and perception of ocean carbon removal.
Appropriate MRV tools and protocols to keep developers accountable and measure how much carbon is being sequestered as well as ecological impacts.
The ocean has long been a source of mystery and intrigue, with centuries of sea literature painting vibrant pictures of an untamed and limitless wilderness, an opportunity for reinvention, a refuge from life on land. The uncertainties swirling around ocean carbon removal – in terms of effectiveness, community and ecosystem impacts, and other risks – are a new chapter in this age-old canon. Implementing MRV standards, channels for knowledge transfer, and robust regulatory policies can help the story unfold in time to meet the climate change crisis head-on.
Events This Week
🥳 Party with a Purpose with Reusable SF: Mon, Jun 5
📽️ Richard Mosse: "Broken Spectre": Tue, Jun 6
⚡️ SVLG Energy & Sustainability Summit: Thu, Jun 8
♻️ German American Circular Economy Conference: Thu, Jun 8
🍷 Wine and Environmental Justice Conference: Fri, Jun 9
🎭 Dispatches from the Great Burning: Sat, Jun 10
🍃 Gardeneur Plant and Eco-Market: Sun, Jun 11
Read on for more details about this week’s happenings and upcoming events this month
Events This Month
🌊 Peter Gleick and the Three Ages of Water: Mon, Jun 12
💧 Water Conservation Showcase: Wed, Jun 14
♻️ Recology San Francisco Public Tour: Wed, Jun 14
🕯️ Climate Resilience Clean-Up at Candlestick Point: Fri, Jun 16
🔭 Astronomy for Planet Earth: Tue, Jun 20
🏅 Pac 12 Sustainability Conference: Wed, Jun 21
📈 2023 Ventures Summit - Climate Innovation: Thu, Jun 22
💚 StorySlam Oakland presents Green: Sun, Jun 25
🥕 How You Can Change the Future of Food: Mon, Jun 26
♻️ Recology San Francisco Public Tour: Wed, Jun 28
⛳️ RLC Hosts a Putting GREEN Social: Thu, Jun 29
🐟 After Dark: Ecological Futures: Thu, Jun 29
Events This Week
When: Mon, Jun 5th from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: Manny’s, 3092 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Party with Purpose with Reusable SF! Come and Join us to make SF a Disposable-Free City! Meet the innovators that are making SF reusable. Learn about a new ordinance to make SF restaurants, events, and businesses disposable-free
When: Tue, Jun 6th at 11:00 AM to Fri, Jun 30th at 5:00 PM
Where: Minnesota Street Project Foundation, 1201 Minnesota Street, San Francisco, 94107
Broken Spectre (2022) is a dreamlike immersive video artwork that forms an extensive record of widespread yet unseen fronts of deforestation and industrialized ecocide in the Amazon, unveiled using a range of powerful scientific imaging technologies, at the tipping point of this crucial ecosystem’s erasure.
When: Wed, Jun 7th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: California College of the Arts, 450 Irwin St, San Francisco, 94107
We as designers must learn to recognize the possible unintended consequences of our work. Join us as we consider the near-term and long-term effects of our work as designers, innovators, and problem solvers at our next Climate Designers Bay Area event — Risky Business: Climate Change, Design, and Avoiding Unforeseen Consequences.
When: Thu, Jun 8th from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Where: Oracle Conference Center, 350 Oracle Pkwy, Redwood City, CA 94065
Last year’s ESS summit featured the entire Biden Administration climate team – from Climate Envoy John Kerry to National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. This year features top names in sustainability with the dynamic voices of finance for a summit on ways we finance a carbon free future.
When: Thu, Jun 8th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: Mindspace San Francisco, 575 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Join us for an insightful event that delves into the critical role of regulation, innovation, and customer needs in driving the transition to a circular economy. We are thrilled to announce that following the inspiring keynotes and panel discussion, there will not only be a networking session, but we will also be showcasing some amazing German companies who will share their best practices with you.
When: Thu, Jun 8th from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton, CA 94566
We are proud to host our Assemblymember, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, who will interview Dr. Heidi Roop about how citizens can best take action on climate and encourage their legislators to act. Audience Q&A will follow.
When: Thu, Jun 8th from 9:30 PM to 12:00 PM
Where: 224 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Join us for an hybrid event at the INSEAD San Francisco Hub - we will watch together the second Webinar from the INSEAD Business Sustainability Series, " Sustainability around the World - Trends, Impact, and Opportunities"
When: Fri, Jun 9th from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Where: 215 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
The Vinguard is holding a wine and environmental justice conference on June 9 in San Francisco, the day before WINeFare. We feel that like-minded wine professionals should band together to create safer conditions for industry workers and the communities surrounding our businesses, especially in the production sector. While there are many important issues, we will focus on pesticide and water usage.
When: Fri, Jun 9th from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Where: The Commonwealth Club, 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
Join us for a conversation with a passionate advocate of reforming America’s food system and progressive voice for bold climate action. U.S. Senator Cory Booker has introduced legislation that he says would challenge beef and pork packagers and tilt the balance of power in our industrial agriculture system, giving workers and family farms and ranches a better deal.
When: Sat, Jun 10th at 2:00 PM to Sun, Jun 11th at 5:00 PM
Where: Theatre of Yugen, 2840 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA
Dispatches from the Great Burning is one woman’s reckoning with the ecological devastation that now threatens all life. She seeks sustenance from her Civil War ancestors’ extraordinary survival stories, her encounters – both real and mythical - with the Gobi grizzly bear, and from the silent slow-motion procession of 26 red-robed fellow climate activists.
When: Sun, Jun 11th from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Where: Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94105
Gardeneur Plant and Eco Market is a one-stop plant source offering varieties of plants, plant related items and eco friendly products. The market also serves as a gathering place for communities in the bay area to meet up and share their love for plants and the environment. Gardeneur Plant and Eco Market is a one-stop plant source offering varieties of plants, plant related items and eco friendly products. The market also serves as a gathering place for communities in the bay area to meet up and share their love for plants and the environment.
Join the Fun!
We know all of you are cooking up great events across that highlight the latest and greatest in our collective effort to save our city - and our planet! 🌍 We would love to spread the word. Please share any event details and we'll add them to the list!
We are expanding! We started as an 8-person dinner and now have over 4,000 members in our community. We’ve had people across the world reach out to us to start their own chapters - so we’re launching a new Climate Tech Cities organization this year! If you have friends who are interested in becoming chapter leads, please share the word. Here’s to a global network of local communities making a positive impact!