Venture capital (VC) firms spent over $25 billion funding clean energy technology (cleantech) start-ups from 2006 to 2011 and lost over half their money; as a result, funding has dried up in the cleantech sector. In this report, we present the most comprehensive account to date of the cleantech VC boom and bust, aggregating hundreds of investments to calculate the risk/return profile of cleantech, compared with those of medical and software technology investments. The results are stark—cleantech offered VCs a dismal risk/return profile, dragged down by companies developing new materials, chemistries, or processes that never achieved manufacturing scale. We conclude that the VC model is broken for the cleantech sector, which suffers especially from a dearth of large corporations willing to invest in innovation. Fortunately, new public and private capital may be on the way after announcements made at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit. If a new and more diverse set of actors avoids the mistakes of the cleantech VC boom and bust, then they may be able to support a new generation of cleantech companies."
Given the spectacle of this year’s presidential race, it is easy to overlook the parallel drama in the world of central banking. But when the monetary priesthood gathers Thursday for its annual seminar-cum-summer camp in Jackson Hole, Wyo., heretics will stalk the halls.
Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics Robert Kahn argues that markets have absorbed the initial economic shock from Brexit, but navigating the new landscape will remain a challenge. Two months after the vote, the politics of Brexit is producing a lengthy and uncertain renegotiation of Britain’s place in Europe and the world. Such extended uncertainty is likely to produce a long-lasting drag on both UK and European economies, which could ultimately threaten the viability of the European Union (EU).
In recent weeks, ISIS has suffered territorial losses on multiple fronts, including in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The organization may look nearer to defeat than at any time in the past two years, but there is still a great deal of fighting to be done before the group is destroyed, or more likely beaten back to an underground terrorist organization as it was in 2009.
The battle for Aleppo has taken a staggering civilian toll and it is likely to escalate because both regime and opposition forces see the city as crucial to a political endgame, says expert Lina Khatib.
Adjunct Senior Fellow Stephen Biddle and his co-author, Ivan Oelrich, argue in the latest issue of the journal International Security that Chinese antiaccess/area denial is a real, but limited long term threat. It can allow China to gain control of its own airspace, it can deny the U.S. wartime freedom of movement across much of the South and East China Seas, and U.S. counter-efforts are unlikely to prevent this in the 2040 time frame on which we focus.
The desire to leave an enduring legacy can inspire presidents to do great things — also foolish ones. That Barack Obama is considering a change in strategic doctrine, declaring that the U.S. would never use nuclear weapons first, is the subject of op-eds in the New York Times and Washington Post, of agreat video explainer in The Wall Street Journal, of countless news articles, and of cabinet-level controversy.
Every September, many of the world’s presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers descend on New York City to mark the start of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass. This year, they will once again highlight the international community's inability to address a pressing global challenge.
Twenty-five years ago this week, a group of Politburo hard-liners launched a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The effort to depose him provoked a gigantic popular protest and collapsed in just three days. With the failure of the coup, the communist system itself began to unravel. “The 20th century” — so claimed Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev’s rival, rescuer and eventual successor — had “essentially ended.” People power had defeated the Soviet state.
Jane Nelson and Sarah Thorn will discussstrategies to grow women’s entrepreneurship worldwide, with a particular emphasis on the role of the private sector. They will address the importance of public-private partnerships to train female entrepreneurs and facilitate the integration of women-owned businesses into global supply chains. This meeting is part of a high-level series on women and development, generously sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation.
The fallout between the United States and Turkey after the failed coup demonstrates that Ankara and Washington no longer share values or interests, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook with Michael J. Koplow. It is time for the United States to search for more reliable allies.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »