Climate Change Act author launches new ‘climate impact accelerator’

Funding body Subak, co-founded by the lead author of the Climate Change Act Baroness Bryony Worthington, launched yesterday with the aim to ‘save the planet with shared data’.

The new body mimics the approach of high-tech ‘accelerator’ investment houses, “yet instead of multimillion dollar exits, Subak’s alumni will deliver real-world impact”, it says. “Subak takes a totally new approach to funding climate nonprofits: we channel funding into innovative early stage organisations, supercharge them with hybridised capabilities, and match them with follow-on funding”.

It selects, funds and scales up non-profit organisations that aim to address climate change though sharing open source data, allowing the community of members, fellows and other organisations to obtain new insights and find opportunities to measure climate impacts. The data co-operative will connect datasets and make them accessible, while documentation and maintenance will ensure that information can be trusted.

Describing itself as the “world’s first non-profit climate impact accelerator”, the new organisation’s leadership unites the worlds of climate change data, artificial intelligence, venture capital and politics. Its team and board includes entrepreneur Gi Fernando, Dan Travers and Jack Kelly (the co-founders of Open Climate Fix) and Lord Jim Knight, who was a DEFRA minister under Labour.

“We need more people devoted to the task of fighting the climate emergency, and we need more support for people with radical world-changing ideas to grow and scale. A climate accelerator for data-focused organisations has the potential to influence policy and legislation and change the way people act. It is vital to harness and share data and skills and we’re delighted so many talented people have agreed to work together to help make this initiative a reality,” said Worthington.

The organisation takes its name from the collective water management system developed by Indonesian rice growers more than a thousand years ago, mentioned in Roland Kupers’ book ‘A Climate Policy Revolution’. It is based at London’s County Hall, already home to a number of sustainable technology start-ups, and has anchor funding from the Quadrature Climate Fund, of which Worthington is co-director.

Subak is already funding:

  • Transport research group New Automotive, which helped support the government’s decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
  • TransitionZero, which uses satellite data to provide insight into global energy markets.
  • Coal transition advocate Ember, which has built the first open-source dataset of global power generation. It was formerly known as Sandbag – also founded by Worthington.
  • Open Climate Fix, which has been awarded funding from Google’s charitable arm for work on forecasting solar electricity generation.
  • Climate Policy Radar, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to support climate policy development internationally.

Grants of £10,000 are also available for individuals with an idea for an innovative data-driven climate project.

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