Edition for 15 June 2020

Top Stories

Canada's oil patch cuts back climate efforts under pandemic (Reuters)

  • Canadian oil sands companies have shelved nearly C$2 billion in green initiatives in a cost-cutting drive to weather the coronavirus pandemic, a reversal in some of their commitments to reduce emissions and clean up their dirty-oil image.
  • Some investors and banks, meanwhile, halted financing in part to pressure the world’s fourth-largest crude producer to reduce the environmental impact of oil-sands production.
  • This year, top producers Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) have cut a combined C$1.8 billion ($1.32 billion) in planned spending on green initiatives as losses mount due to economic lockdowns that have hammered oil demand.

UAE energy sector is ripe for ‘green’ funds (Gulf News)

  • According to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable energy could power an economic recovery from COVID-19 by spurring global GDP gains of almost $100 trillion between now and 2050.
  • To achieve this, increased renewable energy investment is required, not only to meet growing energy demand and reduce climate concerns, but also to enable sustainable development with significant socioeconomic benefits.
  • Despite the unwavering advantages found in financing renewable energy efforts, a majority of financial institutions in the UAE are hesitant to participate on account of numerous variables perceived to be associated with sustainable investments.

Investors in Africa are betting on the reality of climate change (Quartz)

  • African investors are already thinking seriously about this, both in terms of assessing risk through a climate lens but also in terms of investable opportunities, according to a survey by AVCA, the African private equity trade body.
  • This makes sense considering Africa is often cited as the most vulnerable continent to the fast-evolving impact of global climate change.
  • The vast majority of investors (95% ) were concerned about the risk their investee companies face from climate change versus 90% who were concerned by their carbon footprint and just over half see as equal an investment opportunity as they see risk mitigation.

Michigan’s dam problem isn’t just in Midland - and it’s part of a larger infrastructure crisis (Michigan Advance)

  • Across the county, dams are increasingly becoming a relic of America’s infrastructural past.
  • Add the inherent risks of aging infrastructure to a decades-long lack of underinvestment from both the state and federal government, plus more serious effects from climate change than in other regions, and you have a state scattered with increasingly old, potentially dangerous structures that Michigan largely does not have the money to fix or remove.
  • Tom Zimnicki, program director of groundwater, surface water and agriculture at Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), added that “stress to critical infrastructure will only intensify as the effects of climate change are realized.”

New Government document sees changes in environmental, transport policies (Irish Times)

  • The leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens are expected to formally sign off on a draft programme for government between their parties later on Monday.
  • It addresses a number of policy areas of particular concern to the Green Party, including extra funding for public transport and cycling infrastructure, an increase in carbon tax and an acceleration of Ireland’s carbon emissions reduction to an average of 7 per cent a year to 2030. The leaders of
  • It has also secured its main policy aim of accelerating Ireland’s carbon emissions reduction to an average of 7 per cent a year to 2030.

As Ottawa pieces together its COVID-19 recovery, will it make a big push on electric vehicles? (The Globe and Mail)

  • For countries prioritizing transition to a lower-emissions economy, especially in Europe, electric vehicles (EVs) are emerging as an early target of stimulus funds aimed at rebuilding economies shut down by COVID-19.
  • But for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the calculus on EV supports may be more uncertain than for those other governments – a result of Canada’s unusual role among developed countries in automobile manufacturing, and ensuing difficulty knowing whether environmental benefits from increased EV usage here would lead to significant economic benefit as well.
  • Strictly from a climate perspective, as a matter of meeting Canada’s obligations under the Paris Agreement and Mr. Trudeau’s promise to move toward net-zero emissions by 2050, the case for prioritizing EVs in a stimulus package is a very strong one.

Investing In These 8 Bioeconomy Sectors Could Create Up To 1.6M Jobs Lost To COVID (SynBioBeta)

  • Many of the jobs of the future are in the bioeconomy, the segment of the economy that uses renewable resources to make food, energy, and goods with biology.
  • At its core, making things with biology is akin to the age-old process of using bacteria or yeast to convert one thing into another, the process called fermentation.
  • So investing in job creation in the bioeconomy isn’t just about people in white lab coats. It’s about supporting the entire economy.

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