Edition for 20 May 2020

Top Stories

JPMorgan Chase shareholders defeat call for greater climate-change disclosure at world’s largest oil funder (Market Watch)

  • The environmental resolution received a preliminary 48.6% of the votes from investors in the bank that is the leading lender to the oil patch.
  • Despite the defeat, environmental activists argued that the close call reflected increased interest on the part of shareholders that the bank increasingly recognize the risks associated with accelerating man-made climate change.
  • Globally, losses from climate change are estimated to be between $150 and $790 trillion by 2100, according to some measures.

Companies will have to get creative to advance sustainability amid crisis (strategy+business)

  • Coordinated climate strikes, beginning in the spring of 2019 and continuing through the end of that year, conveyed the growing environmental concerns of global citizens.
  • Fast forward to today: The pandemic has exposed the fragility of the world and heightened people’s appreciation of sustainability.
  • And unpublished PwC research shows that 75 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed believe companies should maintain changes they’ve made due to COVID-19 that have a positive environmental impact.

Airlines could save $15 billion from new emissions baseline: IATA (S&P Global Platts)

  • Sticking to the original plan to use an average of 2019 and 2020 emissions as the baseline could inflate airlines' bill for buying offset credits, because the coronavirus and government lockdowns have massively reduced the sector's emissions this year.
  • "We've gone to ICAO and said 2019 emissions should be used," IATA's director of aviation and environment Michael Gill said in a webinar Tuesday.
  • The ICAO's Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation requires airlines to buy carbon offsets to cover any CO2 emissions above a 2019-20 baseline.

Bill Would Direct $50M Annually for Clean Energy to Low-Income Areas - NJ Spotlight (NJ State News)

  • Troy Singleton is proposing New Jersey spend $50 million a year on solar projects, energy efficiency and other technologies in environmental-justice communities.
  • The legislation (S-2484), introduced last week by Singleton (D-Burlington), would tap the state’s clean-energy program to allocate 10% of its budget each year to spur investment and create job-training opportunities in those communities.
  • If the bill is enacted, it envisions helping a quarter-of-a-million low-income families benefit from solar power and energy efficiency, as well as by installing 400 megawatts of energy storage in those communities by 2030.

Is Amazon rainforest going from carbon sink to carbon source? (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

  • Atmospheric chemist Luciana Gatti was rushing to tell her colleagues the result of her latest analysis of carbon dioxide emissions from the Amazon rainforest, which she had completed that morning.
  • Their collating of recent results showed that, perhaps for the first time in thousands of years, a large part of the Amazon had switched from absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, damping down global warming, to being a “source” of the greenhouse gas and thus speeding up warming.

Rare drop in carbon emissions a potential catalyst for India's renewable energy ambitions (Channel News Asia)

  • India has recorded its first year-on-year drop in carbon emissions at the national level for nearly 40 years, an outcome that analysts say will strengthen the government’s push to phase out dirty fossil fuels.
  • With heavy industries shuttered, the transport sector barely operational and demand for electricity plummeting, the country’s CO2 emissions fell by an estimated 15 per cent during the month of March and a likely 30 per cent in April, according to an analysis by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
  • Overall, emissions were reported to be down 1 per cent during the fiscal year ending March, compared to 2019.

New advocacy group joins push for green recovery from COVID-19's economic shock (CBC)

  • Official plans for an economic recovery package in Canada — green or otherwise — are still in their infancy.
  • Civil society, though, is not waiting to push the Liberal government to focus any recovery plan on emissions-reducing and sustainable projects — a push that now includes a group of environmental, financial and political figures who are hoping to draft a set of recommendations over the next two months.
  • The Canada Green Building Council released a set of recommendations last week and a coalition of clean energy experts and operators has also written to the prime minister with suggestions.
  • In this downturn, there is talk instead of pursuing "shovel-worthy" investments — projects that cannot only get started quickly, but that also deserve to be funded because they fit within larger goals like reducing emissions.

The case for funding more affordable green housing (Corporate Knights)

  • While city officials are attaching all sorts of planning conditions to these deals, one in particular stands out: they must satisfy a set of demanding environmental performance benchmarks set out in the 2018 version of the “Toronto Green Standard” (TGS), which lays out the sustainable design requirements for new private and city-owned developments.
  • “The upfront costs may be high for creating more sustainable buildings, but in the long term, the operating costs will be lower.” Like a growing number of cities, Toronto last fall declared a climate emergency and is developing an ambitious plan to slash building-related emissions by 65% (from 1990 levels) over the next decade.
  • But given mounting public concern about escalating real estate, condo and rental costs, it’s also clear that sustainably designed affordable housing projects, such as those envisioned for the Housing Now sites, have become increasingly critical in meeting the city’s climate and social-inclusion goals.

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