Edition for 22 June 2020

Top Stories

Rising seas threaten an American institution: The 30-year mortgage (NY Times)

  • Climate change is starting to transform the classic home loan, a fixture of the American experience and financial system that dates back generations.
  • But the threat that climate change poses to the 30-year mortgage is different, striking at an American social institution that dates from the Great Depression.
  • Currently, new research shows banks rapidly shifting mortgages with floods risk off their books and over to organizations like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-sponsored entities whose debts are backed by taxpayers. 

More investors to support sustainable business models post-pandemic (Straits Times)

  • As the world grapples with the social, health and economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, investor awareness of and demand for sustainable business models will become more prevalent.
  • The investment community has a key role in supporting the growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues by channelling capital into sustainable companies.
  • While there are three "Rs" for environmental protection - reduce, reuse and recycle, we suggest another three "Rs" in identifying opportunities for sustainable investments.

OCBC sets new sustainable finance target of S$25 billion by 2025 (Borneo Post)

  • OCBC Bank has set an ambitious new target of S$25 billion by 2025 for its sustainable finance portfolio, having surpassed its original S$10 billion target in the first quarter of 2020 – two years ahead of its 2022 schedule.
  • In a press statement, it said it has seen a significant increase in the demand for sustainable financing in recent years due to better awareness and heightened efforts to combat climate change.
  • The bank said it would focus on driving growth in the following two areas to reach its ‘25-by-25’ target which includes industry diversification by including more renewable energy, clean transportation, education, water and waste management industries, and geographical diversification by leveraging on its international network of branches and offices across the region.

Why The Ecosystem Needs To Support Cleantech Entrepreneurship? (Inc42 Media)

  • Recently, a global think tank, The Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), comprising leaders from across energy, industry, finance and civil society, outlined key priorities to support economic recovery from the ongoing coronavirus crisis and highlighted the energy transition required to avoid a climate crisis in the future.
  • Every sector of the economy, be it industry, infrastructure, the service sector, solar, agriculture, has potential for clean technology interventions that will help in the transition to a sustainable growth path in the long term.
  • Over the past decade, more than 200 cleantech startups have been founded in Switzerland which are still active today. The industry in 2017 accounted for almost 5% of Swiss GDP and the number of jobs had increased by 25% over the last five years.

A national US power grid would make electricity cheaper and cleaner (Vox)

  • Earlier this week, an effort launched to finally deal with it: the Macro Grid Initiative, which "seeks to expand and upgrade the nation's transmission network." 
  • Rather than get into the policies and regulatory changes necessary to accomplish this goal — which are many, complex, and lamentably boring — I’m going to briefly cover the top five reasons why it’s a good idea.
  • In 2018, a team assembled by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published the Interconnections Seam Study, a close analysis of the costs and benefits of stitching together America’s fragmented grid. It found that for every $1 invested, ratepayers would see more than $2.50 in benefits.

Hemant Soren says Centre’s decision on coal mine auction a ‘disregard of cooperative federalism’ (The Hindu)

  • “The decision by the Union Coal Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to go ahead with commercial mining and coal block auctions without acknowledging our concerns around the potential socio-economic and environmental costs and the impact on our forests and tribal population is blatant disregard of co-operative federalism,” Mr. Soren said on Twitter.
  • His attack came two days after the State government moved the Supreme Court challenging the virtual auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining in the country.
  • “There is a need for fair assessment of the social and environmental impact on the huge tribal population and vast tracts of forestland of the State which are likely to be adversely affected,” the Jharkhand government said in its petition.

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