Edition for 19 June 2020

Top Stories

World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert (Guardian)

  • The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned.
  • The stimulus packages created this year will determine the shape of the global economy for the next three years, according to Birol, and within that time emissions must start to fall sharply and permanently, or climate targets will be out of reach.
  • In a report published on Thursday, the IEA – the world’s gold standard for energy analysis - set out the first global blueprint for a green recovery, focusing on reforms to energy generation and consumption.
  • Wind and solar power should be a top focus, the report advised, alongside energy efficiency improvements to buildings and industries, and the modernisation of electricity grids.

Green investing has shortcomings (The Economist)

  • Some 500 environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds were launched last year, and many asset managers say they will force companies to cut their emissions and finance new projects. Yet, as we report this week (see article), green finance suffers from woolly thinking, marketing guff and bad data.
  • Fund managers have some influence over a big slice of the economy, but many emissions occur outside the firms they control.
  • Estimates by The Economist suggest that publicly listed firms, excluding state-controlled ones, account for 14-32% of the world’s total emissions, depending on the measure you use.

EU carbon prices hit 3-month high as market weighs reforms (S&P Global Platts)

  • EU carbon allowance prices rallied to a three-month high June 18 as the market eyed planned reforms that are likely to tighten supply in the long run as well as on supportive, technical factors.
  • Carbon prices appeared to react to media reports this week quoting a European Commission official saying that the commission would consider setting a price floor for carbon allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System. 
  • Many changes to the system are already in effect, including the Market Stability Reserve, or start taking effect next year such as a steeper decline in the carbon cap from 2021 to 2030, lower free allocation of allowances, and no borrowing of allowances in 2021 to meet calendar 2020 compliance obligations, she said.

HKEX to launch green exchange promoting sustainable investments (Straits Times)

  • Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is launching a "pioneering" exchange that will act as a data and information hub on sustainable and green finance investments in Asia, it said on Thursday.
  • Named Stage, the exchange will promote the visibility, transparency, and accessibility of sustainable and green finance across asset classes and product types.
  • In its initial phase, it will give investors access to a database of sustainable and green investment options available on Hong Kong's securities markets, for a start.

L’OCCITANE is the Latest Industry Leader to Join the Responsible Beauty Initiative, Powered by EcoVadis (Business Wire)

  • The L’OCCITANE Group, a leader in natural cosmetics and well-being products and a pioneer in corporate sustainability, has joined the Responsible Beauty Initiative (RBI) to accelerate ethical, social and environmental performance and progress throughout the beauty supply chain.
  • The initiative is built on EcoVadis’ sustainability ratings platform, which is used as a common foundation to measure and benchmark supplier sustainability performance and engagement.
  • L’OCCITANE has been working with EcoVadis for over a year to assess the sustainability performance of the organization and 100 of its most strategic suppliers.

How Iceland is undoing carbon emissions for good (BBC)

  • Getting from that figure to zero might seem like a tall order, especially when much of Iceland’s heavy industry already runs on renewables. But for the remaining carbon there is another way – capturing the CO2 released from the facilities’ smokestacks, injecting it into the Icelandic basalt rock nearby and waiting for it to turn into stone.
  • ON Power, a subsidiary of Reykjavik Energy, has employed an adapted method called CarbFix to work with the Icelandic rock.
  • The method can be used near emission sources in other parts of the world too, as long as the bedrock contains sufficient amounts of calcium, magnesium and iron.

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