About us / frequently asked questions

by Steven Zhang · updated Feb 2, 2023

👋 I'm Steven Zhang, a software engineer (SWE) who's worked in Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Boston at Google, Tableau, and Airtable.

My interest in climate tech goes way back to college in 2012 where I took a course on sustainable product design and did life-cycle analysis on the Kindle vs. a physical book:

Life cycle analysis of a Kindle

After college, I spent a gap year as an environmental journalist in Asia before starting my career in tech.

I've been following the most recent climate tech boom for a while, have done some climate tech angel investments, and am now exploring climate tech ideas to start a company in.

Why did you make ClimateTechList?

In talking to SWE friends who seeking to work in climate tech, I saw 3 problems with existing resources and company lists for SWEs looking to work in climate tech:

  1. Overwhelming number of companies in many different climate problem areas
  2. Lack of clarity around what each company's climate impact
  3. Lack of clarity around why software is a key role in each company's success

Here's how ClimateTechList tries to address each of these problems:

  • For #1: I curate the top companies according to this methodology, and filter by climate verticals (e.g. energy, transportation, food, etc.)

  • For #2/3: I interview each company to understand their climate impact and why software is a key role in their success. I then summarize this information in a standardized format so that job seekers can easily scan through each company profile.

Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn (send me a message when you request a connection) or this form.

If you're a SWE job seeker, you might find the story of how I once got 18 offers at once interesting.

Are you affiliated with

No, ClimateTechList is not affiliated with However, me and many of my friends have personally found the content on Breakout List helpful in thinking about my careers earlier on. I also recommend reading the methodology/framework of Wealthfront List, although it hasn't been updated since 2022.

What’s your methodology for this list?

See this post.

Why can’t I just donate to or invest in climate causes?

In the past several years, numerous companies like Delta Airlines and Microsoft have declared their net-zero goals. Stripe and Shopify have started major investments in decarbonization funds. 163 of Fortune Global 500 companies have set some sort of climate target. Isn’t this great? It’s capitalism doing the hard work of decarbonization that they should have been doing all along, right?

The reality is that most of these companies are offsetting their carbon through carbon credits, which are grossly underpriced, allowing them to underpay for the damage that they inflict on the planet. For them, more growth is usually correlated to more “activity,” which usually requires energy, and generating energy, more likely than not, means releasing more carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating the climate problem.

However, now, a new category of REAL climate companies is emerging. All of the companies on our list fall into this category. These climate companies have aligned their incentives around the act of decarbonization. For them, growing the company means LESS, not more, carbon in the atmosphere. For them, success IS decarbonization.

And in many ways, these companies are faster growing than traditional software companies. See this thread for more about how Tesla and CATL (a battery manufacturer) have been growing relative to their traditional software peers.

We think that is what makes these companies special. And their aligned incentives also make them more likely to succeed in both business and decarbonization.