Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus Augurs Hope for Climate Action

The coronavirus will augur change and while it is far too early to say with any certainty, it may very well drive the kind of radical transformation that we need to address the climate crisis. People are coming together to face this modern day plague. We are seeing a return to multilateralism and perhaps even a reversal of the trend towards increasing polarization. In the first few weeks of the pandemic we also began to see a reduction in climate change causing emissions.

To be clear we have little reason to celebrate at present. Health care systems are being overwhelmed and people are sick and dying. To make matters worse this pandemic is unfolding against the backdrop of the Trump administration's tragic mishandling of the crisis and a global economic meltdown. The stock markets are experiencing unprecedented volatility and U.S. job losses have spiked to a record 3.3 million making recession a virtual certainty.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Scourge of Ghost Planes in the Wake of the Coronavirus

Early in March as the coronavirus was breaking and air travel was declining airlines began flying empty planes so that they could keep their flight slots. According to European rules if airlines fail to fly their allocated flights they risk losing their right to fly these routes. These passenger-less flights are being called ghost planes. As a consequence they wasted thousands of gallons of jet fuel and generated emissions that we can ill afford given our dwindling carbon budgets.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Zombie Pathogens and 5 Other Climate Concerns Undermining Human Health

The world is preoccupied with coronavirus, however, our health is also being impacted by climate change in a number of ways. There are a host of serious diseases that are being unleashed as the world continues to warm. Melting ice and rising seas are expected to add to the number of pathogens that undermine human health.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Fossil Fuel Industry is Increasing Climate Change Causing Emissions

It is important to acknowledge where most of the current emissions come from. The world still gets about 80% of its energy from fossil fuels today which generate the lions share of emissions. According to the EIA, in 2017, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning fossil fuels for energy were equal to about 76% of total U.S. anthropogenic GHG emissions (based on global warming potential) and about 93% of total U.S. anthropogenic CO2 emissions. As reported by MIT, as of 2011, the burning of fossil fuels were responsible for more than 36.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution (MIT, 2012). We continue to burn fossil fuels at a prodigious rate.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Climate Related Excerpts from the March 15th Democratic Presidential Debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders

Here are the climate related excerpts from the CNN Univision Democratic Presidential Debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders that took place on March 15, 2020 in Washington DC. The debate was moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, and Univision’s Ilia Calderón.  Although the coronavirus was predominate theme in the debate, more than 12 minutes were devoted to climate change and fossil fuels. Here is the full summary:

Monday, March 16, 2020

Emission Reductions from the Coronavirus are Being Undermined by Government Subsidies

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 4,000 people and infected more than 120,000, but on the upside it is cutting global carbon emissions for the first time in more than a decade. In China we have seen emissions fall by 25 percent (200 megatonnes of CO2). We are seeing a tremendous decline in emissions intensive air travel (global air traffic decreased by 4.3% in February) and a looming recession could decrease fossil fuel consumption and resultant emissions just like we saw in the recession of 2008-2008.

Whether or not the coronavirus has long-term impacts depends on what we do. Subsidies, such as those that prop-up the fossil fuel industry will exacerbate the problem. The key question is will we go back to business as usual or will we take this opportunity to get serious about climate action. If the past is any indication of the future it is likely that we will ramp up carbon intensive activity once this crisis abates. If we do this then the future is grim. However, there is a small chance that this may give us pause for refection and perhaps even augur change.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Event - Impact Investing Forum 2020 (West Palm Beach)

Opal Group's 5th annual Impact Investing Forum will take place on March 29, 2020 - March 31, 2020 at the Hilton West Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, FL.

Impact investing is an approach that seeks to create positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Today, we see an increase in companies proving that mission-driven and communication based strategy, can attract value based workforce, investor base, and like-minded consumer. Impact investing strategies are also proving to be able to generate returns in line to their traditional counterparts. Over the next four decades, it is estimated that over $41+ trillion will transfer from baby boomers to Millennials. As we move to the next generation of investors, we are going to find companies aligning their beliefs, operation, and communication strategies with that of the Millennials. The Impact Investing Forum will look at many of the asset classes that encompass this space.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Two Climate Pledges Honoring the Paris Climate Agreement

Businesses have signed two climate promises in recent years. The most recent is the Climate Pledge which was founded by Amazon along with Global Optimism an organization founded by Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and Tom Rivett-Carnac, a former senior advisor to the Executive Secretary at the UN Climate Convention.  As part of his work with the UN, Carnac developed the political strategy for the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Trump's Mishandling of the Coronavirus is a lot like his Climate Strategy

U.S. President Donald Trump did not cause the Coronavirus just like he did not invent hate or the climate crisis, but he does have an extraordinary aptitude for making bad situations worse. More than 1000 Americans are known to have the virus but that number is likely far higher as tests are in short supply. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) only slightly more than 8,000 Coronavirus tests have been administered in the U.S. to date. The WHO offered the administration a test a month ago but Trump refused it. This has led many people to conclude that this administration may be trying to minimize the number of tests available to keep the numbers artificially low.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Female Investors Make More Money by Caring about People and the Planet

Women control $14 trillion of personal wealth in the U.S. and they are an important part of the rapidly growing impact investing market. According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GINN) the size of the impact investing market doubled between 2017 and 2018 to $228 billion in assets under management.

The investing community is still very much a male dominated world.  Between 80 and 90 percent of hedge fund managers, financial advisors, and traders are male. However, this is changing as illustrated by the recently launched Impactive Capital LP,  whose co-founders are two women by the name of Christian Asmar and Lauren Taylor Wolfe. Their ESG focused fund launched with $250 million from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Why the Climate Movement Needs Women in Positions of Political Power

Countries with female political leaderships adopt more stringent climate change policies, so if we had more women heads of state we could expect to see more ambitious actions. This is the conclusion of a 2018 study which demonstrated that female politicians are better climate leaders than their male counterparts.

We are seeing an increasing number of women assuming positions of political leadership all around the world. In 2017 Iceland elected the Green Movement's Katrín Jakobsdóttir who is working to make Iceland a global climate leader.

Friday, March 6, 2020

28 Posts Commemorating the Seminal Efforts of Female Environmentalists

March 8 is International Women's Day, and this is a day to honor all the women who have contributed to environmental stewardship around the world. However, this year we are forced to acknowledge that women are increasingly being targeted by a growing chorus of misogynistic voices.

In the era of trump sexism is thriving. The despicable abuse hurled at global climate icon Greta Thunberg by world leaders is a deplorable case in point.  The problem extends well beyond world leaders as demonstrated by the U.N. Development Program's Gender Social Norms Index in which nearly 90 percent of respondent indicated that they harbor some type of bias against women.

As explained by Nina Munteanu in a Vancouver Sun article, the reason that conservative men are so negatively disposed towards female environmentalists is because these women threaten their gender identity. She illustrated the link between climate-denial and misogyny by citing an August 2019 article by Martin Gelin which explains that attacks against Greta are "consistent with a growing body of research linking gender reactionaries to climate-denialism."

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Using the Courts to Challenge the Trump Administration's Environmental Assaults

Trump's disdain for the environment is being challenged by those who refuse to submit to this administration's autocratic rule. Although Trump is actively subverting constitutional constraints to embolden his bid to hold on power, organizations like the NRDC and the Sierra Club are leveraging the courts to push back against this administration's environmental assaults

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Economic Opportunities Associated with Carbon Removal

Technologies that draw-down carbon represent a massive economic opportunity. The global carbon capture and sequestration market is projected to reach USD 8.05 billion by 2021, representing a compounded annual growth rate of 13.6 percent from 2016 to 2021. According to some estimates carbon capture and utilization (CCU)** alone will be a $1 trillion market by 2030.

There are numerous co-benefits associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in addition to climate mitigation. This includes those that improve health. These health co-benefits could be worth $100 US per tonne of CO2 in high-income countries like the U.S. and Canada.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Net Economic Gains from Climate Action

Cost is a commonly cited reason for resistance to climate action, however when we factor co-benefits and the real costs of inaction the logic for action is overwhelming  Research shows that when we include reduced death and disease as well as increased technological innovation and other co-benefits, the costs of climate action offer a  net economic benefit.

When we add up the costs of action and compare them to the costs of inaction the value equation becomes clear.  The benefits of climate action far outweigh the costs.  This includes $160 trillion dollars worth of savings associated with climate action and massive risks associated with inaction.  According to the U.K.’s National Oceanographic Centre, the costs of sea level rise alone could exceed $14 trillion a year by 2100. The costs are already being felt. According to a Nature article, CO2 emissions in 2017, have a global impact of more than $16 trillion.

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Energy End Game: Renewables vs Fossil Fuels

The combination of market forces and changing public sensibilities are driving a major shift in the energy landscape. The need for renewable energy to combat climate change is incontrovertible, while a plethora of warnings tell us that we are rapidly exhausting our carbon budgets. Ending fossil fuels is a mathematical imperative if we are to have a chance of keeping temperatures from rising above the upper threshold limit of 1.5 - 2.0 C.

In 2016 we were already seeing how diminishing profits were contributing to the fall of fossil fuel and the rise of renewables  In 2020 the momentum away from fossil fuels is undeniable. They are being shunned by investors, insurance companies and banks. Fossil fuels are approaching the end of their life cycle while renewables are becoming increasingly attractive due to the declining cost of solar and storage.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Events - SUSTAINATOPIA 2020 Series (Los Angeles, New York, Boulder and Vancouver)

SUSTAINATOPIA 2020 Series will take place in Los Angeles · New York · Boulder · Vancouver. Impacting the World for GOOD for more than 11 Years. Founded in 2009, SUSTAINATOPIA remains one of the leading events in the world for social, financial and environmental sustainability & impact. Attendees have participated from more than 60 countries. Consisting of both a mega-conference and a broad-ranging Festival, SUSTAINATOPIA brings together the global ecosystem of social, financial and environmental sustainability & impact like no other singular event. Over 3,500 expert speakers have participated since 2009 and record attendance is expected the 2020.

Workshop - Supporting the Deployment of Renewable Energy in the Caribbean

The workshop "Supporting the deployment of bankable renewable energy projects in the Caribbean" will take place on March 15 – 18, 2020 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In recent years, a range of stakeholders, including governments, development banks and official development assistance providers have made significant efforts to foster the inclusion of renewable energy in the Caribbean. These efforts include comprehensive planning processes, sectorial roadmaps and in some countries the adjustment of the institutional and regulatory framework. While these actions are key, there is a need to move from planning to action and thus to support the development of bankable renewable energy projects in the Caribbean.