Edition for 14 May 2020

Top Stories

Microsoft, Visa and others worth combined $11.5 trillion want Congress to include climate in COVID-19 recovery plan (Market Watch)

  • The group, supported by sustainable investing advocates Ceres, claims they are the largest ever to advance a call to action from the business community to Congress on climate change.
  • The businesses behind the pledge want Congress to work toward putting Americans into clean-energy jobs, as well as foster an accelerated transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner and provide more investment in sustainable infrastructure.
  • The business leaders also urge Congress to consider a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and setting a carbon price.

Why Norway fund’s divestment from the oilsands could trigger a bigger fund exodus (Financial Post)

  • The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has divested from four Canadian oilsands companies over concerns about carbon emissions, adding to the woes of the already embattled domestic energy sector.
  • Shares in Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Imperial Oil Ltd. and Cenovus Energy Inc. all tumbled between 5 per cent and 7 per cent Wednesday after Norges Bank Investment Management, the country’s $1 trillion oil fund, said it would exclude those companies from its portfolio, citing their “unacceptable greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • The fund reportedly held stock worth $1.15 billion in the Canadian companies at the end of 2019.
  • Egypt’s ElSewedy Electric Co., and Brazilian companies Vale SA and Electrobras were also excluded for causing environmental damage.

Canada's oil producers need climate targets to draw investment, Trudeau says (Reuters)

  • Canada’s oil producers need to set clear targets to fight climate change to continue to attract global capital, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as the country’s carbon-intensive oil sands industry faces heightened environmental scrutiny from investors.
  • “We’ve seen investors around the world looking at the risks associated with climate change as an integral part of investment decisions they make,” Trudeau told reporters, adding that many companies in the energy sector understood the investment climate is shifting.
  • “There is a need for clear leadership and clear targets to reach on fighting climate change to draw on global capital.” Norway’s wealth fund said it would exclude Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Suncor Energy and Imperial Oil for producing excessive greenhouse gas emissions, the first time it has used that reason to blacklist firms.

World's largest wealth fund blacklists Glencore, other giants over coal use (Reuters)

  • Underlining the growing role of climate considerations for long-term investors, the fund is also excluding German utility RWE, South African petrochemicals firm Sasol and Dutch company AGL Energy over their use of coal.
  • “This is good news that the biggest producers of coal in absolute terms are finally out of the fund,” Else Hendel, acting environmental policy leader at green group WWF Norway, told Reuters.
  • The fund also said it was excluding four Canadian oil firms for producing excessive greenhouse gas emissions, the first time it has used that reason to blacklist firms from its portfolio.

Taking ownership of a sustainable future (McKinsey)

  • He set aggressive zero targets in many areas: zero waste to landfill, zero fossil fuel energy use, zero process water use, and zero greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • When it comes to sustainability, despite genuine interest, many still suffer from collective inertia—waiting or hoping for other companies or governments to respond; simply not knowing where to start; or not fully recognizing how much more of a difference they could make.
  • After numerous interviews with top-level executives, senior managers, and a host of employees from dozens of publicly listed companies across the world, my research revealed that senior leaders making real progress on the sustainability front are those who tackle it with what organizational psychologists refer to as an ownership mentality.

A brief history of climate targets and technological promises (Carbon Brief)

  • From initial ideas of climate stabilisation, suggested approaches have focused on percentage CO2 emissions cuts, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, carbon budgets and today’s dominant framing of temperature rise limits.
  • It might seem that this successive reframing reflects an improving scientific representation of what it means to avoid dangerous human-caused climate change, interpreted through enhanced modelling power and capacities, and in the light of better scientific knowledge regarding climate impacts.
  • However, my research into this history, published in Nature Climate Change with my coauthor Dr Nils Markusson and part of a project examining the cultural political economy of carbon removal, suggests that the process has been much less rational – and more problematic – than this explanation might imply.

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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