Edition for 16 June 2020

Top Stories

Emissions from 13 dairy firms match those of entire UK, says report (Guardian)

  • The biggest dairy companies in the world have the same combined greenhouse gas emissions as the UK, the sixth biggest economy in the world, according to a new report.
  • The analysis shows the impact of the 13 firms on the climate crisis is growing, with an 11% increase in emissions in the two years after the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, largely due to consolidation in the sector.
  • “Unlike growing public scrutiny on fossil fuel companies, little public pressure exists to hold global meat and dairy corporations accountable for their emissions,” said Shefali Sharma, European director at IATP and report author.

Report: “Renewable” Gas – A Pipe Dream or Climate Solution? (NRDC)

  • The gas industry is scrambling to claim “renewable” alternatives to fossil gas will allow us to continue depending heavily on appliances that burn gas and investing in new pipelines to transport it while still meeting our climate goals. 
  • A new NRDC Issue Brief shows this simply isn't true. 
  • It’s important to dig into the opportunities and limitations of alternatives to fossil gas so that we understand what these resources might able to provide—and aren’t lulled into assuming they can take care of America’s “gas problem."

BP cuts up to $17.5-billion from assets’ value with bleaker oil outlook (Financial Post)

  • BP will write off up to $17.5 billion from the value of its assets after cutting its long-term oil and gas price forecasts, betting the COVID-19 crisis will cast a lasting chill on energy demand and accelerate a shift away from fossil fuels.
  • The move comes as Chief Executive Bernard Looney prepares to outline his strategy in September to “reinvent” BP including a reduced focus on oil and gas and a larger renewables business.
  • The large impairment relates mostly to oil and gas exploration assets and will lower BP’s asset value by around 10%, pushing the ratio of equity to debt, known as gearing, to about 48% in the second quarter, RBC Capital Markets said in a note.

Unilever is investing $1.1 billion in a new climate fund—and hopes to reach net zero emissions by 2039 (Fast Company)

  • An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company's distinctive lens Our annual guide to the businesses that matter the most Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine--even an entirely new economic system Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, had a carbon footprint equivalent to about 60 million metric tons of CO2 in 2019.
  • But by 2039, the company plans to shrink the carbon footprint of its products to net zero, 11 years before the deadline set by the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • The company wanted to move more quickly than 2050, a year that many countries and other businesses are targeting to reach “net zero” emissions, meaning that any remaining human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are balanced out by nature’s ability to suck carbon from the atmosphere (or new technology that can also suck carbon from the air.)

Unilever’s new climate plan puts carbon labels on 70 000 products (IOL)

  • Unilever is releasing a new set of climate goals that make it the most ambitious of any consumer goods company tackling carbon emissions.
  • The maker of Dove skincare, Colman’s mustard, and Q-tips cotton swabs now aims to zero out all emissions from its own operations and those of its suppliers by 2039.
  • The global carbon disclosure non-profit CDP already ranks Unilever highly for climate-friendly corporate governance and prioritizing emissions reduction in its supply chain.

CEFC invests $3.5m in electric vehicle charging station company (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • The government's clean energy investment agency has taken a $3.5 million stake in Australian company Jet Charge to help it roll out charging stations aimed at lowering power costs for electric vehicle owners.
  • Experts say electric vehicles and their batteries could be a key component of a new-look distributed energy grid where the majority of electricity generation comes from houses, businesses and large-scale renewables, and car batteries could be used to soak up cheap excess power.
  • A 2017 report by CSIRO found with good planning and reforms by 2050 a distributed energy grid would pay up to $2.5 billion a year to customers who supplied power back to the network, and deliver an annual electricity saving of $414 to an average household Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the government was focused on removing barriers to the take-up of electric vehicles.

Leading UK charities urge PM to seek green recovery from Covid-19 (Guardian)

  • The chiefs of some of Britain’s leading charities have written to the prime minister to demand a “green recovery” from the coronavirus crisis, urging him to use economic rescue packages to build low-carbon infrastructure and spur the creation of long-term green jobs.
  • The group of 57 charities representing 22 million members called for any bailouts to be subject to strict conditions so that companies receiving state help in the Covid-19 crisis would have to meet low-carbon targets, and for all elements of any economic recovery package to be subject to a test to ensure they were in line with the UK’s target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
  • They also want ministers to cancel, rather than suspend, the debts of developing countries struggling with the impact of Covid-19 and the climate crisis.

Supreme Court Rules For Pipeline In Appalachian Trail Dispute (Huffington Post)

  • Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.
  • Dominion Energy leads a consortium of companies in the project that also includes Duke Energy Corp.
  • The proposed pipeline would be 600 feet (180 meters) below a section of the 2,200-mile (3,500 km) trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia. 

Con Edison Sustainability Report: Confront Weather Risks and Allow Utility Solar Projects in NYS (Newswire.com)

  • Con Edison issued its Sustainability Report today advocating for utility ownership of renewable projects at home in New York to help the state reach its clean energy goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
  • “When it comes to climate action, Con Edison envisions a clean future for the world’s most complex energy grid,” said John McAvoy, Con Edison’s chairman and CEO.
  • “Powering the lives of 10 million people, we are committed to building tomorrow’s grid in a manner that supports renewable energy sources like solar and offshore wind, while empowering customers to make smarter energy choices.” The company’s expanding array of energy efficiency programs have helped over a million customers, preventing seven million metric tons of carbon emissions, equal to taking more than a million cars off the road.

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