Edition for 27 May 2020

Top Stories

Impact Investing Report 2020 (Unquote)

  • Unquote has spent the last few months surveying the impact space and has now released its inaugural Impact Investing Report, published in association with the Aztec Group.
  • Dedicated pools of capital intended to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return have been raised by the world's largest alternative asset managers, while the number of smaller niche strategies has also grown.
  • Key highlights of the report reveal how investor sentiment, a growing recognition that there is no trade-off between impact and financial returns, and the emergence of a millennial generation that wants to work for, and invest in, products that have a positive social and environmental impact are helping drive the impact agenda.

Airlines could get free pass on climate for five years under industry proposal (Climate Home News)

  • Airlines could defer paying for their climate impact by up to five years, according to researchers, under an industry proposal to soften the impact of coronavirus lockdowns.
  • The International Air Transport Association (Iata), which represents the world’s airlines, has called on the UN body responsible for aviation to rewrite the rules for offsetting the sector’s emissions growth.
  • To curb the aviation sector’s growing emissions, member states of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) have agreed to make all growth in international flights carbon neutral after 2020.

Nordic investors turn up heat on coal in climate campaign (Reuters)

  • Five years after first ditching some coal companies, Nordic investors are turning their focus to bigger carbon emitters in a range of industries, paving the way for other funds to follow.
  • Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, managed by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), last week excluded five companies, including Glencore, from its holdings after putting a hard limit on coal-related emissions.
  • Investors in the Nordic region have been among the vanguard of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, with Norway’s NBIM grabbing most of the attention due to its size.

Shipping plan would reel international emissions into EU carbon market (Reuters)

  • The European Union’s carbon market could capture a large chunk of emissions from outside Europe if the bloc succeeds in including shipping in the scheme, according to the European Commission’s first report on maritime CO2 emissions.
  • Pollution from ships plying international waters typically escapes countries’ domestic emissions-cutting targets, but the EU’s executive has said the sector must contribute to its trillion-euro push to achieve a “climate neutral” economy by 2050.
  • It wants to curb shipping’s carbon footprint by adding it to the Europe-wide emissions trading system (ETS), which forces emitters to buy carbon permits when they pollute.

Brazilian taxpayers subsidizing Amazon-clearing cattle ranches, study shows (Mongabay)

  • Even though it’s a multibillion-dollar industry — on March 25 this year, JBS, the world’s biggest meatpacking company, reported 6 billion reais ($1.1 billion) in profit for 2019, the best results in its history to date — the tax revenue it contributes to the Brazilian treasury, averaging 15.1 billion reais ($3 billion) per year, is small compared to the incentives.
  • These are some of the conclusions in a recent study, “From pasture to plate: The subsidization and environmental footprint of beef,” by Instituto Escolhas, a São Paulo-based organization that looks at sustainability issues through an economic lens.
  • In the Matopiba region, where the states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia converge, emissions from the cattle supply chain are eight times greater than in the rest of the nation.

Amazon Funds Urban Greening Program to Increase Climate-Resilience of German Cities (Business Wire Science)

  • Amazon today announced a €3.75 million commitment to The Nature Conservancy in an effort to reduce climate change risks and increase species biodiversity in three German cities.
  • This is the first project outside the U.S. of Amazon’s $100 million Right Now Climate Fund to support its Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • In April, Amazon announced two other projects out of the Right Now Climate Fund, committing $10 million to accelerate the restoration and conservation of millions of acres of forest in the Northeastern U.S.

Danish companies plan 1.3-GW green hydrogen project to fuel transport (S&P Global Platts)

  • Leading Danish companies said Tuesday they have formed a green hydrogen partnership to develop an industrial-scale electrolysis-based production facility to produce sustainable fuels for road, maritime and air transport in the Copenhagen area.
  • The plan comes a day before the European Commission is to unveil proposals for a green recovery program focused on renewables and sustainable production of hydrogen.
  • The project could reduce annual carbon emissions by 850,000 mt, the group said.
  • Last week, Denmark announced plans for two, 2-GW energy islands to help cut 2 million mt of CO2 by 2030 as the new coalition government targets a 70% cut in CO2 emissions (over 1990) by 2030. 

SF, other California cities permitted to sue oil industry over climate change, judge rules (EHN)

  • The five cities and three counties, which include San Francisco, are seeking billions of dollars from fossil fuel producers in first-of-its-kind litigation that alleges the companies caused pricey climate problems, including rising seas and extreme weather.
  • While the lawsuits target different companies, they all seek financial help building seawalls and strengthening infrastructure in the face of climate change.
  • The oil industry, in each of the cases, has argued that the Clean Air Act is responsible for regulating the emissions of heat-trapping gases and, as such, damage claims in state court should give way to the federal legislation.

New York PSC Issues Two Important Clean Energy Orders (NRDC)

  • In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, New York’s commitment to tackling climate change and achieving a clean energy economy is as steadfast as ever.
  • Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the state recently enacted the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (AREG Act), which will greatly expedite renewable energy generation and transmission projects and help ensure that the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s (CLCPA) bold goals are met—including 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030, 100 percent clean electricity by 2040, and 6 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025.
  • The order grants the petition and directs that initial funding from the expansion of the program comes from existing uncommitted funds held by NYSERDA, with extra funding to come from a review of Clean Energy Fund monies.

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