Digital Coffee (Paid) #9 — a freebie for all subs, Libra may never launch and carbon sequestration

Happy Thursday and apologies for the radio silence this week — sending out the free issue of Digital Coffee on Tuesday threw off my whole week of in terms of writing. 

Also, I’m making a big push to get my upcoming book finished — last night writing somewhere around 2,000 words! Great news is, I’m now happy with the structure and the flow of the book — over the past couple of months it had been nagging at me, I knew something was up. The flow didn’t feel right. But now, a lot more happy. So stay tuned, once I get it proofread a couple of times, I’ll be sending out a few chapters to everyone on this list 🙏

As always, if you enjoy today’s post please do hit the like button. 

Five interesting reads for your Thursday 

📉 Negative yields are nuts, when’s the crash. The FT reports “we’re not sure on the total dollar amount of non-US bonds, but we’re smart enough to know it’s in the trillions. We’re sure this market aberration can be fixed by the European Central Bank buying equities. More monetisation of asset markets. That’s what we need. Anyway, the real question is: when does the UK get its first negative-yielding mortgage? Perhaps that’s the next step to support house prices in the South-East of the country. Boris, are you listening?”

👨🏻‍💼 New Republic put out an interesting piece titled The very small world of venture capital — the people who bet big on disruptive technologies have a lot in common.

💰Libra crypto may never launch due to regulatory scrutiny, warns Facebook. Social media giant Facebook has now itself warned that Libra cryptocurrency may never launch due to “significant” regulatory scrutiny. “There can be no assurance that Libra or our associated products and services will be made available in a timely manner, or at all,” the company's risk disclosure section from its latest Q2 report filing with the SEC read in part. “Uncertain and evolving” laws and regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies and investigations from regulators around the world may “delay or impede” the launch of Libra, it added.

🏛 The Bank of England decides on rates. Economists expect the central bank to hold rates at 0.75%, even as the threat of a no-deal Brexit looms on the horizon, causing the sterling to plunge in recent days. The US Fed, in its first cut since 2008, dropped rates by 25 basis points yesterday. The European Central Bank is expected to follow suit with a rate cut next month.

🤷‍♂️ Europe's startup banks are coming to America. Can they succeed? CNN’s Michael Scaturro explores whether the recent expansion of N26 and Monzo was a wise move. 

Some thoughts on startups tackling climate change

First some facts

  1. Our summers and winters keep getting warmer

  2. Indonesia will move its capital city as its current one is sinking

  3. Average wildlife populations have dropped by 60% in just over 40 years

  4. There’s more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than anytime in human history

  5. We will consume all of earth’s 2019 resources by July 29

  6. Dengue fever could spread through much of the southeastern US by 2050

  7. Two-thirds of extreme weather events in the last 20 years were influenced by humans

  8. Carbon emissions from energy use are rising at the fastest rate since 2011

  9. 120,000 square kilometres of tropical forest were lost in 2018

  10. The UK will likely miss its transport emissions targets 

And a couple of articles:

🔗 Startups looking to suck CO2 from the air are suddenly luring big bucks

🔗 Carbon farming is the hot (and overhyped) tool to fight climate change

🔗 Maybe we can afford to suck CO2 out of the sky after all

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time, but just haven’t had a chance. You may or may not remember from my first “Weekly idea digest” where I was exploring what industries and problems interested me — and what I wanted to focus my next decade on — carbon removal was very much a top contender (and still, to some extent, is). 

I don’t have the time to jump into a full conversation about it this morning, but I would push you to read the facts above, and then jump into check out the links.

While avoiding the worst dangers of climate change will likely require sucking carbon dioxide out of the sky, prominent scientists have long dismissed such technologies as far too expensive.

But a detailed new analysis published in the journal Joule finds that direct air capture may be practical after all. The study concludes it would cost between $94 and $232 per ton of captured carbon dioxide, if existing technologies were implemented on a commercial scale. One earlier estimate, published in Proceedings of the National Academies, put that figure at more than $1,000 (though the calculations were made on what’s known as an avoided-cost basis, which would add about 10 percent to the new study’s figures).

Crucially, the lowest-cost design, optimised to produce and sell alternative fuels made from the captured carbon dioxide, could already be profitable with existing public policies in certain markets. The higher cost estimates are for plants that would deliver compressed carbon dioxide for permanent underground storage.

In summary; the carbon capture space is finally showing that the economics can add up — if only we had some of the worlds brightest starting to focus on this problem rather than getting us to click more ads!