Edition for 03 April 2020

Top Stories

Coronavirus as the ESG acid test (FT)

  • Remember the acronym ESG? The phrase sets off a distant chime in our consciousness, a resonance that recalls a happier time.
  • When the dust settles from the coronavirus pandemic, the practice of investing in companies that conform to various ESG standards, whether it be to do with carbon emissions or workplace diversity, will be still a a growing force in capital markets.
  • It’s often said that under extreme pressure you see someone’s true character, and it’s no different for business. So, with that in mind, here are some pre-packed questions -- some quantitative, some qualitative -- for executive suites.

On Baffin Island in the fragile Canadian Arctic, an iron ore mine spews black carbon (PRI.org)

  • It also means more greenhouse gas emissions — and especially an increase in a climate-warming pollutant that scientists warn is particularly devastating for the Arctic: black carbon.
  • In 2017, there were 574 metric tons of black carbon documented in the Canadian Arctic, with shipping contributing 41.5 metric tons of that, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, a federal agency.
  • Baffinland estimates that once the Mary River mine is operating at peak production, the black carbon emissions from mining and shipping the ore will increase in the region by 65.3 metric tons per year, up 11% from 2017 levels.

PG&E Residential Customers Will Receive State-Mandated Climate Credit Reducing April Bills (Business Wire Energy News)

  • We want customers to be aware that the semi-annual California Climate Credit will help reduce their energy costs this month,” said Laurie Giammona, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.
  • California requires power plants, natural gas providers and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits from auctions managed by the California Air Resources Board.
  • The California Climate Credit is customers’ share of the payments from the state’s program.

The corona recovery must be green (International Politics and Society)

  • This year, we will see states surpassing their climate goals, with an emissions reduction resulting from the corona crisis.
  • We also see from the reaction to the corona crisis that it is eminently possible to solve the climate crisis: the broad fiscal space that states suddenly put to work, the radical deprivation citizens are willing to accept to protect public interest as well as the bold decision-making, where it’s not the markets but science that dictates policy.
  • But the conclusion that Covid-19 is good for the climate is mistaken.

The Promise and Peril of Nuclear Power (Gizmodo)

  • Temperatures are rising, the Antarctic is melting, and a million animal and plant species face the risk of extinction, all driven by the climate crisis.
  • To save us from the coming climate catastrophe, we need an energy hero, boasting limitless power and no greenhouse gas emissions (or nearly none).
  • Doing so could provide carbon-free energy.
  • Pointing to numbers from investment researchers at the financial firm Lazard, Makhijani said nuclear power is too expensive to be practical. According to Lazard, a new nuclear power plant ends up producing electricity that costs $112 per megawatt hour while solar currently costs about $46 per megawatt hour.

Can a town go fossil fuel-free? Takoma Park is about to see. (Christian Science Monitor)

  • Takoma Park, Maryland, wants to do what has not yet been achieved in the United States: become a fossil fuel-free community.
  • They’re proud it was one of the first places in the country to declare itself “nuclear-free.” But many of those same residents were in an uproar in February when Ms. Mathias brought a resolution to the City Council that laid out an ambitious agenda to combat climate change in the coming decades.
  • "That’s why we’re in the climate crisis to begin with – voluntary programs."

The Climate Sentinel is an AI-powered news assistant for ESG investors and those concerned about climate change, corporate social responsibility, and related topics. Learn more.

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