Edition for 10 March 2020

Top Stories

Oil crash sends a new shock through world already crippled by coronavirus (Financial Post)

  • And a long period of cheap oil prices could even hurt the fight against climate change by slowing the transition to renewable energy.
  • Chief Executive Bernard Looney is trying to transform his company in the face of climate change, while also reducing debt and maintaining a generous dividend.
  • “Sharply lower oil prices for a sustained period with a concurrent OPEC+ driven supply shock and virus demand shock almost certainly means oil majors’ energy transition plans and climate ambitions will be obstructed or slowed, at least in the near-term,” said Will Hares, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Where Biden and Sanders diverge on climate change (Reuters)

  • Democratic White House hopefuls Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders believe climate change is an existential threat, that the United States should immediately rejoin global climate talks, and that fossil fuel workers need help adjusting to a cleaner energy economy.
  • Here are the climate strategies of the two candidates: Joe Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama, touts a $1.7 trillion plan to set the United States on a course to achieve 100% clean energy and net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Biden’s plan, however, sees some role for fossil fuels during the transition to a clean energy economy: It would invest money in carbon capture and sequestration, for example, a potential lifeline to coal- and natural gas-fired power plants.

Momentum for climate action on Capitol Hill launches bipartisan Senate innovation package (Climate 411 - EDF)

  • To achieve this ambitious objective and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must ensure that no more climate pollution is produced than can be removed from the atmosphere across our economy.
  • While there are different paths to achieve a 100% clean economy, we know we can’t be successful on the timeline science demands without a comprehensive limit and price on carbon emissions, accelerated deployment of existing clean energy technologies and rapid advancement in technology innovation.
  • Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), leaders of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recognize the important role innovation will play in a 100% clean future and have developed a major legislative package that includes dozens of provisions supporting new and expanded investment in research, development and demonstration for a wide range of low-carbon energy technologies.

EU to consider proposed two-tier approach to 'green' rules (Reuters)

  • European policymakers should use a two-tier approach to define sustainable investments in order to smooth the bloc’s transition to a low carbon economy, a group of industry experts said.
  • In its final recommendations, the TEG said creating a second tier of assessment would incentivise investments that help reduce the impact of activities causing environmental harm.
  • For example, a power plant can only be classified as making a “significant contribution” to tackling climate change if it meets a strict emissions limit of 100 grams of CO2 equivalent per kiloWatt hour.

A Renewable Resource-Based Economy Requires Public-Private Partnership (Earth Institute)

  • Behavior is influenced by the availability and price of capital finance, and sustainability factors must be reflected in the world as understood by finance professionals in order to be real and not merely symbolic.
  • Green finance involves directing capital toward sustainability businesses and infrastructure, accounting for the business risk posed by climate change and ensuring that investments serve to protect rather than destroy our planet.
  • Ultimately, it will be private sector behaviors that bring about the transition to environmental sustainability.

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