The Path to Net Zero is no longer just a hazy aspiration; it is becoming increasingly clear. And business leaders like Marco Alverà are showing the way.
Alverà and I met in New York yesterday. His varied career started here, led him through Goldman Sachs, the first internet boom, Italian telecom and energy businesses, and left him as one of the world’s leaders—maybe the world leader—in understanding how to commercialize green hydrogen. (He even wrote the book—see here.)
The former CEO of Snam, an Italian energy infrastructure firm, Alverà now heads something called TES that is building a system that will—bear with me—capture carbon dioxide emissions at a German factory, ship the CO2 to Texas where solar and wind energy will be used to combine it with hydrogen and create green methane (CH4), which can then be shipped back to Germany and used as fuel. The carbon emissions from that fuel get captured, sent back to Texas, and start the process all over again. “We keep it in a closed loop,” Alverà says.
Why make the green methane in Texas? Well, in part because Texas has lots of sun and wind, which can create the cheap green electricity needed to power the process. But also because the Inflation Reduction Act has made the U.S. the cheapest place in the world for manufacturing green methane. As a result, Texas gets a new industry and Germany gets cheap fuel—all courtesy of American taxpayers.
Is the U.S. government okay with billions of tax dollars being used to subsidize fuel for Germany? Alvera says U.S. officials have assured him the answer is yes. Their focus is competing against China to win the green energy future. If Europe benefits (or, next up, Japan), why not? In his view, Europeans should stop complaining about the IRA. It’s their green Marshall Plan.
I asked Alverà how much closer the IRA gets the world to net zero. “It’s gotten us about five years closer,” he says. “It is creating a race to the top. It will prod other nations to act.” That doesn’t mean we will make the 2050 target. But we are getting closer, so take that as a bit of optimism to start your day.
More news below.
Citigroup is cutting less than 1% of its 240,000-person workforce, with its investment banking division among those hit. Staff across the firm's operations, technology, and U.S. mortgage-underwriting arm are also affected. The bank's investment banking unit is experiencing a slowdown in deals, causing a 53% revenue drop in the business last year, with analysts predicting further declines in Q1. Bloomberg
A new Koch
Charles Koch, the 87-year-old billionaire chairman of Koch Industries, has named a non-Koch, Dave Robertson, as co-chief executive. Robertson, who has spent nearly 40 years at the company, has been promoted from his role as chief operating officer. Meanwhile, Koch's son Chase has received the title of executive vice president on top of leading investment arm Koch Disruptive Technologies. Financial Times
ESPN dreams big
ESPN is reportedly considering launching a feature that would direct users to live sporting events being streamed by its competitors. According to insiders, the network has held talks with major sports leagues and media partners, including Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video, to determine the viability of the plan. While media partners have not yet been confirmed, ESPN could potentially take a cut of subscription revenue from users who sign up for streaming services via its app or website, sources said. CNBC
AROUND THE WATERCOOLER
Databricks had one of the worst pitch decks Ben Horowitz has ever seen. Now it’s riding the A.I. boom as one of the world’s 10 most valuable startups by Jessica Mathews
Billionaire Marc Andreessen has joined the legions of people giving up alcohol. He isn’t happy about it by L’Oreal Thompson Payton
The fired Google engineer who thought its A.I. could be sentient says Microsoft’s chatbot feels like ‘watching the train wreck happen in real time’ by Tristan Bove
Senators write a scathing letter to Binance alleging it’s a ‘hotbed of illegal financial activity’ and has helped pay criminals billions by Olga Kharif and Bloomberg
No, Elon Musk can’t put chips into people’s brains: Regulators rejected Neuralink’s device due to safety risks, report says by Will Daniel
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Jackson Fordyce.
Correction, March 3, 2023: The number of years Robertson worked at the company has been updated after the FT corrected the article we linked to.
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