Carbon Direct: Scaling Decarbonization
Recently on Consensus in Conversation, I spoke with Jonathan Goldberg – founder and CEO of Carbon Direct. His team and this company are at the forefront of what is going to be one of the most important sectors of our future – decarbonization.
While some may be tempted to dismiss thought leaders from traditional energy companies as roadblocks on the path to a clean energy future, this view loses sight of the bigger picture. Our world demands an incredible amount of energy. Currently, we remain dependent on fossil fuels as we continue transitioning to renewable sources. This transition – which will cost trillions of dollars and be incredibly complex – will take time to do right. Legacy energy companies, already key clean and renewable energy players, will be critical to the successful transition. As Jonathan explains, “If the goal is net-zero, [decarbonizing] without an awareness of how the energy system works [seems] odd – these worlds need to speak better to each other.” Not only do they hold the keys to the past, but they are also investing in the future. And, as Jonathan says, it will be all hands on deck and all solutions deployed in order to succeed.
Jonathan himself is a perfect example of the benefits of being inclusive. For the greater part of 15 years, he built a career as an energy trader, eventually leading teams and running funds. It was this extensive knowledge that provided him with a deep understanding of the world’s energy infrastructure, and it has helped him develop a more holistic view of the energy transition. Through his work at Carbon Direct, Jonathan has taken on an intergenerational vision, founded on the knowledge that decarbonization will take decades to complete. His strategy is informed by a team of over 30 brilliant scientists, who help Carbon Direct make a serious impact in the present by advising companies on how to reach their emission reduction and carbon removal goals. Jonathan also blends this team’s technological knowledge with traditional Wall Street wisdom, laying the foundation for future phases in the clean energy transition through the firm’s investment division, Carbon Direct Capital.
Companies and projects will require tremendous innovation to reach our global goal of net- zero. In turn, those companies will require new capital in large amounts – something the markets are perfectly positioned to provide. Maybe it is the former investment banker in me, but this conversation is a reminder of what we have heard a lot recently – — the next generation of billionaires will come from cleantech and climate tech. Doing good for the world often aligns with doing well for the wallet.