January 30 2023

Incite Post | January 29th, 2023

January 30 2023
Markus Spiske, Unsplash

January 29, 2023
Incite Community,

2023 is going to be a big year for climate.

Last year’s $500 billion Inflation Reduction Act and 2021’s $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have opened up billions of dollars of potential funding for companies looking to make a difference on climate change.

At Incite, we work with dozens of companies doing just that – collaborating with public sector partners from the beginning. This includes my latest venture, Mill, an end-to-end system to prevent food waste (you can read more about Mill in the previous edition of the Incite Post).

So, last October, I hosted a webinar with Hannah Bascom (VP, SPAN), Kate Gordon (Senior Advisor, DOE), and Brandon Hurlbut (Co-Founder, Boundary Stone Partners) to discuss how startups can work with government, and with each other, to multiply their impact. Here are three points that really stuck out to me:

1. Start Early.

Brandon discussed working with a founder in rocket manufacturing – back when the startup only had two employees – and how a creative partnership helped them secure a lease agreement with a NASA testing facility. If they hadn’t started early, their business might not have been possible. Starting early helps you get a landscape of potential partnerships, build bonds beyond asking for things, and advise stakeholders at the beginning of the policymaking process.

2. Find all of the stakeholders. 

Kate advised companies to “get to know the different environments… there is a lot of money at the federal level that is driving a lot of state innovation and action.” Aside from federal funding, think about other valuable government relationships with decision makers like environmental regulators, state economic development offices, and metropolitan planning boards.

3. Work Collectively. 
Hannah tells us that “interfacing with industry groups and conferences are where you’ll get the sense of where to start.” Working with other people, whether non-profits, climate firms like Boundary Stone, industry groups, and even informal coalitions with competitors will help give you the credibility and expertise required to strengthen your government partnerships. 

As my team and I build Mill, and take on the work of changing everyday behaviors and larger waste systems, this advice from Brandon, Kate, and Hannah has been invaluable. Here's what I'll add: if we're going to make true progress on climate change, we have to engage private companies, governments, and non-profits to work collectively. Historic climate investments from the federal government, a wealth of knowledge within climate non-profits, and the necessity for innovative climate solutions make this the perfect time to get started.


Some of the most exciting work in climate is happening at organizations like Carbon180, where the team is working at the intersection of entrepreneurship, policy, academia, and peer nonprofits to scale carbon removal. At Incite, we know that solving the world's toughest problems is an interdisciplinary task, so we reached out to Anu Khan, the Deputy Director of Science and Innovation at Carbon180, to hear more about how she bridges gaps in her work.
Profile photo of Anu KhanAnu Khan
Deputy Director of Science and Innovation, Carbon180

What have you learned about communicating science and policy to stakeholders in often disconnected fields, like policy, academia, and industry? What advice would you give to people who want to help bridge some of the gaps? 
This is an area where I’m still growing and learning a lot, but two things come to mind right away. 

First, humility. I think effective communication really requires us to let go of “expert status” and engage others with genuine curiosity. What are they excited to share? What is their perspective? What is their experience?

Second, context. What can I share that supports this person’s goals? I’m aiming for the “minimum viable complexity” around a topic – the smallest set of information needed to make a context-specific, informed decision – even if there are a dozen other things I think are cool and interesting. And the MVC is different for every audience.

Carbon180 sits at the intersection of so many key groups in the climate space; how does that frame your big-picture view of the communities building climate change solutions? Are there any missing pieces? 
For me, the big picture is all about trust and scale. We need carbon removal at scale to limit and (maybe) redress harms caused by climate change. But we cannot achieve scale without simultaneously building trust. Without trust, communities won’t agree to host CDR projects and taxpayers won’t agree to fund them. Without trust, the whole thing goes bust.  

We’re still in the early days of building this relationship between trust and scale, and there is a lot of work to do. Monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) is a great example. How do we show communities that this work is actually happening? How do we effectively communicate project performance and outcomes in ways that are context-specific and decision-relevant for a broad range of stakeholders? This is going to be a big part of my work going forward. 

What’s your favorite piece of fiction - in any medium - that you’ve engaged with recently? Why?
I recently finished The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin and I’m currently reading Walkaway by Cory Doctorow. These books explore different visions for a post-capitalist society. One vision is rooted in physical resource scarcity – a colony established on a barren moon – and the other is (sort of) free from resource scarcity through technology like advanced recycling and on-demand additive manufacturing. 

Together, they make for an interesting thought experiment: do we expect a future of unavoidable scarcity or engineered abundance or something in between? I think this difference in expectations underpins a lot of debates about climate action. 
It's been almost two weeks since the launch of Mill! We've been thrilled with the reception Mill has gotten so far, so we thought we'd share some of our favorite articles with you. Here are some pieces highlighting the technology behind and potential environmental impacts of Mill:

Nest co-founder Matt Rogers’ new startup is trash

My Week With the Future of Garbage Bins

Nest co-founder is back with new device for the home, focused on food

Nest Co-Founder's Food Waste Startup Mill Launches
Business Insider

This Startup Wants to Redirect Your Food Waste to Feed Animals
The EU wants to legitimize carbon removal schemes
The Verge

Social Cohesion as a Climate Strategy: Reflections on Superstorm Sandy
NYC Comptroller/Urban Ocean Lab

Most Schools Burn Fossil Fuels for Heat. Here’s Why That’s a Problem

Biomanufacturing Startup Visolis Has Raised $8 Million To Make Carbon-Negative Materials

Alder Apparel launches a circular economy project for the new year
Fashion Magazine

Direct air capture funding has raised environmental justice concerns — but there’s more to the story
The Hill (Opinion)

How To Get Pre-Approved for a Credit Card Without Risking Your Credit Score

2022 Annual Report

The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal
Oxford University Smith School of Enterprise & Others
The billion-dollar pollution solution humanity needs right now
TED Talk (Video)

The Economics of Carbon Removal
a16z (Podcast)

Drafting Talent to Decarbonize the Global Economy
My Climate Journey (Podcast)

The fashion startups taking inspiration from nature in order to save it
CNBC (Video)

Four Sharks Circle This Eco-Friendly Outdoor Protection Company
Shark Tank (Video)


Eliminating Food Waste

Marketing Program Manager
Mobile Lead Developer
Manufacturing Operations Manager
Senior Product Design Engineer


Liminal Insights

Improving Battery Manufacturing

Strategic Finance Manager
Senior Software Engineer
Applied ML Scientist


Electrifying Flight

Mechanical Engineer
Electrical Engineer

Advanced Energy Institute

Researching the Path to a Clean Energy Economy

Director, Strategic Partnerships 


Electrifying Home Climate Control

Lead Thermal Engineer
Hardware Engineering Lead
Software Lead - Embedded Systems
Software Lead - Services & Applications


Empowering Climate Scientists

Chief Executive Officer
Data Solutions Engineer
Education & Community Manager
Partnerships Associate


Tracking, Reducing, and Offsetting Emissions

Principal Software Developer
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Decarbonizing Public Schools

Chief of Staff
California State Director

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All We Can Save
Comics and climate emotions: A climate studio led by Madeleine Jubilee Saito
��Join Madeleine Jubilee Saito, a cartoonist and artist best-known for her meditative comics about climate and the sacred, for a one-hour workshop on art and climate emotions. In this studio, Madeleine will share some reflections on climate art, and then lead us through a brief exercise where we’ll make our own reflective climate comic.
Tues Jan 31 @ 4:30 PM PT
Online (Free)
Learn more & register
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