Edition for 16 March 2020

Top Stories

Under water? Banks play home loan lottery as insurers bail out (Reuters)

  • The insurers agree that the floods were previously a 1-in-500-year event, but say climate change has made such events more frequent.
  • That divergence is echoed across regions in developed countries which have been hit by floods, forest fires or other extreme weather-related events linked to climate change and is worrying regulators and industry executives.
  • In Italy, insurers refuse to provide flood coverage to Venice, where flooding is a regular occurrence and has been getting worse due to climate change.

Investment vehicle underpins Germany’s exit from coal (FT)

  • Foundation uses €18bn war chest to stop disused mines flooding Ruhr and support economic revival.
  • “We extracted 10bn tonnes of hard coal from the ground — and therefore the surface is sunk and we have groundwater problems.”
  • Mr Tönjes now runs the RAG Foundation, a unique investment vehicle that as of January had amassed €18.5bn in assets and that will underwrite the maintenance of the shuttered mines in the Ruhr, Saar and Ibbenbüren districts in perpetuity, at a cost of roughly €300m a year.

Impossible Foods raises about $500 mln in new funding (Reuters)

  • The funding announcement comes as the novel coronavirus outbreak hits the U.S. hard with schools in many states closing and consumers emptying shelves at grocery stores.
  • Plant-based meat and lab grown meat companies have been gaining traction with many consumers becoming more aware of the environmental impact of industrial husbandry.
  • In addition to its plant-based burger patties, Impossible Foods also launched plant-based sausages and pork earlier this year.

Offshore aquifer found off South Island could help New Zealand tackle droughts (Guardian)

  • Rare discovery made of freshwater aquifer that could contain as much as 2,000 cubic kilometres of water.
  • As climate change begins to bite it could become a crucial source of freshwater for nearby drought-prone regions such as the Canterbury plains.

Changes in building and construction have great potential to slow global warming (Modern Diplomacy)

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel has just published a recent report titled Resource Efficiency and Climate Change: Material Efficiency Strategies for a Low-Carbon Future.
  • Commissioned by the G7 countries, it shows that natural resource extraction and processing account for more than 90 per cent of global biodiversity loss and water stress, and around half of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • More concretely, the Panel’s modeling tells us that within the buildings and construction sector, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 350 million tonnes in China; 270 million tonnes in India, and 170 million tonnes in G7 countries, between 2016 and 2060.

Zali Steggall launches ad campaign to rally support for climate change bill (Guardian)

  • Independent MP Zali Steggall is launching a national advertising campaign drawing on the summer bushfire crisis to rally public support for her private member’s bill on climate change, due to be introduced to parliament later this month.
  • The ads call for the public to support Steggall’s climate act, making the appeal that “what happens next is up to you”.
  • The campaign is being funded by community climate change groups, donors of the Climate Act Now campaign and pro-bono assistance, with more than 120 “Climate Act Now” advertisements set to appear across the country this month.

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