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Bill Gates wants to 'fix the cows' — here's the startup he backed to help fight climate change

Bill Gates wants to 'fix the cows' — here's the startup he backed to help fight climate change
Bill Gates wants to 'fix the cows' — here's the startup he backed to help fight climate change

On the front lines of combating climate change, one innovative startup is making significant strides in reducing methane emissions from livestock.

The company is called Rumin8, which develops feed supplements that reduce methane emissions produced by cows through their digestive processes, including burping and flatulence.

Rumin8 made headlines in 2023 after raising $12 million in a funding round led by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

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In a 2023 interview with the think tank Lowy Institute, Gates pointed out that there are two paths of solving the emission issue of cows, who “burp and fart methane to an extreme degree.”

“You can either fix the cows to stop them doing that or you can make beef without the cow. Both of those will be pursued to see which one can lead to the best product in terms of taste, health and cost,” he explained.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, livestock activities contribute to approximately 14.5% of human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions, with cattle alone accounting for two-thirds of this total.

Rumin8's solution looks promising. A controlled study run by Rumin8 and University of New England found an impressive 81% reduction in methane emissions when cattle had access to water troughs treated with the tech company's methane-reducing supplements.

While Rumin8 remains a privately held company, making it inaccessible to everyday investors, there are multiple avenues to safeguard our planet beyond reducing methane emissions from cows. Many publicly traded companies have taken significant steps towards combating climate change. Here's a look at three green stocks actively engaged in tackling this crucial issue.

Tesla

A typical passenger vehicle emits approximately 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA also reported that in 2022, direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector contributed to 29% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s why many consider Tesla (TSLA) to be a top green stock — the company helps resolve the issue through the production of electric vehicles (EVs) that produce no tailpipe emissions.

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The company has been at the forefront of the EV transition. In 2023, it delivered 1.81 million EVs, beating Wall Street's expectations and marking a 38% increase from 2022.

In Q1 of 2024, however, Tesla’s vehicle deliveries fell 8.5% year over year to 386,810. The company said this "decline in volumes was partially due to the early phase of the production ramp of the updated Model 3 at our Fremont factory and factory shutdowns resulting from shipping diversions caused by the Red Sea conflict and an arson attack at Gigafactory Berlin."

Tesla shares are down 26% year to date, but Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas sees a comeback on the horizon. Jonas has an “Overweight” rating on Tesla with a price target of $310 — around 68% above the current levels.

Brookfield Renewable Partners

While EVs are gaining popularity, it’s important to recognize that electricity doesn't appear magically in every wall outlet.

According to the EPA, electricity production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, comprising 25% of the U.S. total in 2022. The agency highlighted that for that year, “60% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.”

Fortunately, alternatives exist.

Enter Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP), renowned for operating one of the world's largest renewable power platforms. Their portfolio includes hydroelectric, wind, utility-scale solar and storage facilities across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. With an operational capacity nearing 34,000 megawatts and a development pipeline of approximately 157,000 megawatts, Brookfield is one of the leaders in sustainable energy solutions.

Brookfield Renewable Partners’ partnership units are dual listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, so it’s easy for both Canadian and American investors to get a piece of the action.

Wells Fargo analyst Jonathan Reeder has an “Overweight” rating on Brookfield Renewable Partners and a price target of $32, implying a potential upside of 29%.

First Solar

According to the United Nations, solar energy is recognized as “one of the least carbon-intensive means of electricity generation.” In particular, solar power produces no emissions during the generation process, and “life-cycle assessments clearly demonstrate that it has a smaller carbon footprint from ‘cradle-to-grave’ than fossil fuels.”

For those interested in investing in this segment, check out First Solar (FSLR), one of the world's largest manufacturers of photovoltaic solar panels.

First Solar’s thin-film solar module technology stands out for its efficiency and environmental advantages over traditional silicon-based panels. The company's commitment to sustainability extends beyond its products to its operational practices, emphasizing resource efficiency and responsible manufacturing.

In Q1 of 2024, First Solar reported net sales of $794 million, with management anticipating full-year net sales between $4.4 billion and $4.6 billion.

Shares have already climbed 50% year to date. Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch has an “Outperform” rating on First Solar and a price target of $325, suggesting a further upside of 25%.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.