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President Joe Biden kicked off a virtual climate summit on Thursday with a pledge to slash US greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
Angel Gurría, the head of the OECD, told CNN Business that the summit, which continues on Friday, is a huge step in fighting the climate crisis.
“It’s completely turning the expectations around, and now with the United States leading the charge rather than holding everything back, this is the big game changer,” he told Julia Chatterley on her show “First Move.”
But will the United States stay committed to the goal, especially after four years of climate denial from the previous occupant of the White House?
According to John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, you don’t have to take the administration’s word for it. Instead, look at the actions of companies and investors.
“There’s a company called Tesla, which is the highest-valued automobile company in the world. Why? All it makes is one product: electric vehicles. That is what is happening. That’s a signal. That’s the market saying, ‘Here we are. This is going to happen,’ ” Kerry told reporters on Thursday.
He’s not wrong. Wall Street and Corporate America are waking up to the climate crisis, and many companies are putting money to work to address the crisis. But there are still huge challenges, and more investment needed.
The numbers: A record $501 billion was pumped into the energy transition in 2020, according to BloombergNEF. The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, which tracks shares in 125 global companies that aim to address climate change, hit an all-time high earlier this year.
The flood of money comes as clients push fund managers to create portfolios built around sustainable businesses. Assets in sustainable funds hit a record high of $1.65 trillion at the end of last year, up 29% from the previous quarter, according to Morningstar.
Collateral damage: The magnitude of money now looking for a home is also feeding concerns that some will inevitably flow to unworthy companies, reports Julia Horowitz, your usual Before the Bell correspondent.
And memories of a previous boom-bust cycle in green investing linger. But can climate progress be reversed? Kerry doesn’t think so.
“These companies have made this critical, long-term, strategic marketing judgment — and that is the way the market is moving — no politician, no matter how demagogic or how potent and capable they are, is going to be able to change what that market is doing, because it will have moved. It’ll have four years of entrenchment. And those jobs will be there,” he said.
India is churning out billion-dollar startups
India’s startup community is experiencing an unprecedented funding bonanza, my CNN Business colleague Diksha Madhok reports from New Delhi. But can the companies make any money?
In the first four months of 2021, 11 Indian companies have attained unicorn status, meaning they’ve reached a valuation of at least $1 billion, according to data platform Tracxn. Five startups hit that milestone in April alone. By comparison, there were 13 in all of 2020, and 10 in 2019.
The play: The boom is in large part thanks to investment by firms such as Tiger Global and SoftBank, which are pumping money into India’s fast growing internet businesses — a prize many investors simply find too big to ignore. Not only are more companies amassing this kind of money than ever, but they’re also doing so at a record-breaking clip.
But the seemingly endless fundraising cycles may eventually produce diminishing returns, worry many industry experts, who say India’s startups need to start showing consistent profits and healthy exits for investors, and soon.
“It is great that Indian startups are going through this funding boom. But they will need to find sustainable business models, which make a lot of money, in order to survive,” said Radhika Gupta, CEO of Edelweiss Asset Management Limited.
Reasons to worry: Flipkart — now controlled by Walmart (WMT) — is the only Indian tech unicorn to have been acquired at a valuation of more than $1 billion. And no tech startup worth more than $1 billion has gone public.
“By inflating valuations in the private market, you are postponing your ability to go into the public market,” said Karthik Reddy, co-founder of venture capital firm Blume Ventures.
“We don’t have large tech acquirers, so you can’t wait for a Walmart to come and buy your biggest asset every time,” he added.
A guide to the Wild Wild West
Bitcoin and its many peers have surged to new levels of popularity over the past year, but they’re still a mystery to many investors.
With new “coins” cropping up all the time, it’s hard to keep track of what’s worth paying attention to and what might not be here to stay.
Ranked by their market value in US dollars, the biggest cryptocurrencies in the world are bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, XRP and Tether, according to CoinMarketCap.
Their market values range from more than $1 trillion to around $50 billion. But that doesn’t tell us anything about how they work and how valuable the single coins might be in a broader context.
Bookmark this: From my CNN Business colleague Anneken Tappe, here’s your guide to the biggest digital currencies.
Honeywell (HON), American Express (AXP) and Schlumberger (SLB) report earnings before the opening bell.
- US data on new home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET.
Coming next week: Earnings season continues with results from Tesla (TSLA), BP (BP), Google (GOOGL) owner Alphabet, Microsoft (MSFT) and many others.