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World’s first climate-focused non-profit accelerator Subak launched

Baroness Bryony Worthington is the co-founder of Subak, having previously worked as a lead author of the UK’s Climate Change Act. Image: Subak.

Baroness Bryony Worthington is the co-founder of Subak, having previously worked as a lead author of the UK’s Climate Change Act. Image: Subak.

The world’s first climate-focused non-profit accelerator dubbed Subak has been launched in London, its founding members have said.

It will select, fund and help scale organisations that are looking to work collectively to tackle the climate emergency using shared data, infrastructure and tools.

Subak’s founding organisations include New AutoMotive, which is helping to support the rapid uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK by developing tools such as the Electric Car Count, which splits EV sales data by manufacturer and region to track progress.

Second, TransitionZero is working to harness satellite data to provide insight into global energy markets, including recent work on China’s ambition to reach net zero by 2060 which former US Vice President Al Gore described as “ground-breaking”.

Next, thinktank Ember forms the third founding member. It has built the first open-source dataset of global power generation that maps coal flows. In the UK, Ember has focused on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and its potential costs, finding it could cost £31.7 billion in public subsidies.

As part of its wider work it produces the Global Electricity Review, which this month ranked the UK as the sixth in the world for solar and wind power generation.

Former Google DeepMind machine learning engineer Dr Jack Kelly’s Open Climate Fix is also a founding member of Subak. The software non-profit is working to utilise transformer models to forecast solar irradiation.

Our sister site Solar Power Portal recently caught up with Kelly to discuss how the software works, and what it could mean for the solar sector.

Climate Policy Radar is the final founding member, with the company working to map and analyse the climate policy landscape to support evidence-based policymaking. This builds on the work of Dr Michal Nachmany at the Grantham Research Institute at LSE, to map climate legislation in every country in the world.

Subak is being led by Baroness Bryony Worthington, who is co-director of the Swiss Quadrature Climate Fund, which is the anchor funder for the initiative. She is joined by entrepreneurs Michelle You and Gi Fernando, as well as head of product at Google DeepMind Steve Crossan, in Subak’s leadership team.

“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,” said Worthington.

“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.”

Subak will offer individuals up to £10,000 in grant funding to conduct climate-focused data projects, including those focused on the energy sector. The accelerator seeded £250,000 and its founding members have since raised over £8.5 million in funding.

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