(source: Ashleigh Olinger/NYT)
The science is clear: The world is warming dangerously, humans are the cause of it, and a failure to act today will deeply affect the future of the Earth.
This week the New York Times published a 7-part crash course on climate change, in which seven reporters from the Times’s Climate desk address the big questions:
Go deeper at https://carbon.substack.com/p/planet-of-the-humans-coronavirus
(source: Planet of the Humans)
Planet of the Humans, the new documentary film from director Jeff Gibbs and executive producer Michael Moore, contains a stunning criticism of green energy and the people profiting from it. It was released on April 21 for free viewing on YouTube and as of the afternoon of Friday, April 24, had been viewed over 1.5 million times.
However, it may not be available for public viewing much longer. A pressure campaign is underway to get the distributor to pull the film.
Every type of green energy is "exposed" as phony, useless, or inextricably dependent on fossil fuel production and large-scale hardrock mining. The targets include wind power, solar power, ethanol, biomass, battery storage, electric vehicles, and seaweed.
The film features Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Richard Branson, Robert F Kennedy Jr., Michael Bloomberg, Van Jones, Vinod Khosla, Koch Brothers, Vandana Shiva, General Motors, 350.org, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nature Conservancy, Elon Musk and Tesla.
Go deeper at https://carbon.substack.com/p/planet-of-the-humans-coronavirus
Corporate reporting on sustainability — including environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and achievements — has grown more than fivefold in the past 10 years. Roughly 20 percent of S&P 500 companies published a sustainability report in 2011. In 2018, that number rose to 86 percent. During that time, sustainability professionals have fretted about whether anybody reads their reports.
What we’re beginning to see is that it may not be "who" but "what."
Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are being leveraged to both generate and evaluate ESG data.
The bots and AI are largely in response to the confusing world of ESG reporting. There are more than 600 ESG ratings agencies globally, according to the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings, as ESG data becomes a greater factor in a company’s valuation and access to capital. The challenge is that current corporate ESG disclosures lack consistency and standardization.
Further complicating things, financial markets don’t produce enough data to get the most out of AI and machine learning, according to industry watchdog MarketWatch. AI functions best on billions of data points rather than millions, but three decades of daily share-price data for the benchmark S&P 500 Index would yield only about 4 million data points, a mere drop in the big-data bucket.
For many investors, the technology doesn’t have to be exotic. For example, bot searches of companies’ 10-Q and 10-K filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission can track and redline what has changed when it comes to sustainability and ESG topics. Investors take notice when a phrase in what normally may be seen as boilerplate shifts from "probable" to "likely" from one report to the next. A machine is more likely to spot such subtleties.
The takeaway is that bots and AI work best when humans develop an investment thesis and machines test that theory. Go deeper here. LINK
(source: Stockholm Environment Institute)
As the covid-19 outbreak rages across the world, it’s easy to forget about the climate crisis. The priorities right now are, and should be, slowing the pandemic, saving lives, and then restarting economies left in shambles. But by that point few countries are likely to be able or especially eager to sacrifice near-term growth to help slow climate change.
In the short term, global emissions are falling, as they did during steep economic declines in the past. But carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for centuries, meaning the total concentration will continue to rise even if we’re producing less of it. And emissions will bounce back as soon as economies do.
So the threat of rapidly accelerating climate change will remain. And we’ll be living in a much poorer world, with fewer job opportunities, less money to invest in cleaner systems, and deeper fears about our health, our financial futures, and other lurking dangers.
When the pandemic wanes, a poorer, more divided world will still face the rapidly rising threat of climate change.
These are ripe conditions to further inflame nationalist instincts, making our global challenges even harder to solve. Indeed, the breakdowns in international (and even intra-national) cooperation as countries race to understand and tackle the covid-19 outbreak offer a stark warning for our climate future.
Another major casualty of the pandemic has been our faith in a global supply chain. As countries shut down production and distribution, first in China and then around the world, essential goods are in short supply. It has become evident how vulnerable we are to trade relationships and concentrated manufacturing centers.
That too presents a challenge for climate change. China produces about a third of the world’s wind turbines, two-thirds of its solar panels, and roughly 70% of its lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. What happens if we enter a cold war on clean tech?
In the end, whether people feel the need to tighten international ties or erect higher walls may depend on how ugly things get in the coming weeks and months, and the political narratives that take hold as we try to make sense of how it all happened.
Author James Temple goes deeper addressing America First, the collapse of trust and Climate Fascism in the full article.
Go deeper here LINK
Solar power on electric cars has yet to become a common feature, but Tesla is about to change that – starting with the Cybertruck electric pickup.
Electric Vehicle expert and Electrek writer Fred Lambert, has discussed solar roofs on EVs before, most recently with the one on the latest Prius Prime, but a recurring problem is that they rarely generate enough power to be worth it.
According to Lambert, the solar cells on the Prius Prime’s roof were estimated to generate enough power to add about 2 miles of range during the day. However, solar power technology has been improving greatly, and it is increasingly starting to make more sense.
There are even startups, like Sono Motors and Lightyear, developing electric vehicles mainly powered through onboard solar power.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been looking into the idea for years.
In 2017, he said that he pushed his Tesla engineers to look into integrating solar cells on Model 3, but they concluded that it wasn’t worth it at the time.
Two years later, things have changed.
After the launch of the Cybertruck, Musk said that Tesla’s new electric pickup truck will have a solar roof option that will add 15 miles of range per day.
It’s the first time that a solar roof system has been confirmed to be coming to a Tesla vehicle.
Tesla has yet to open the configurator for the Cybertruck and therefore, the price or availability of the solar roof feature for the Cybertruck is still unknown.
The automaker is aiming to release the Cybertruck in late 2021. Go deeper here. LINK
A recent report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate tells us that aggressive climate action could deliver $26 trillion or more in economic benefits through 2030. As businesses embrace a greener economy, women are leading the way.
Globally, they now hold the majority of leadership roles in corporate responsibility and sustainability divisions. This can’t be an accident; a growing wealth of research shows that businesses with more women in leadership roles more successfully shift focus from maximizing short-term profits to achieving longer-term goals of growth and environmental sustainability. And the bigger the company, the more this can matter.
The quintessential leader in this space is Lisa Jackson – vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives at Apple.
Ms. Jackson leads the company's work to address climate change and other environmental issues along with programs on education policy and accessibility. Before coming to Apple, Jackson served as the first African-American head of the Environmental Protection Agency, where she oversaw a groundbreaking decision to classify greenhouse gases as pollutants and begin limiting carbon pollution at power plants.
At Apple, Jackson led the company in issuing $2.5 billion in green bonds--more than any other corporation--to fund projects like a shift to 100% renewable electricity, a goal the company met in 2018. Through a $300 million clean energy fund launched in China in 2018, the company is helping its suppliers also shift to clean power. Jackson continues to lead the company to find innovative sustainability solutions, including investing in forests to help fight climate change.
To learn about more women “eco-warriors” at Amazon and Google, go deeper here. LINK
In Italy, the fall in electricity demand reached 20% over the last two weeks. The impact of confinement measures there was visible early on, with a decrease in electricity demand already observed in the week of 2-8 March, according to research by Ember, a climate think tank.
And a further fall in demand is expected to happen after the Italian government announced new lockdown measures on Sunday (22 March), ordering factory closures and halting all production considered “non-essential”.
This means “even more industry and services will shut down and the impact on electricity demand could even exceed 20%,” said Ember.
There is a silver lining to this. Last week, German think-tank Agora Energiewende reported a dive in CO2 emissions related to falling electricity demand.
German industry alone is on track to emit 10 to 25 million tons less CO2 than business as usual, according to the think-tank’s projections, meaning Germany could end up reaching and even exceeding its climate target for 2020.
Carbon market “the first victim”
But the falling price of electricity is also threatening the EU carbon market, which risks becoming “the first victim” of the demand slump because of an oversupply of CO2 allowances, according to Máximo Miccinilli from the Centre on Regulation in Europe, a Brussels-based think tank.
“The uncertainty and instability of the system may undermine the plans to phase-out coal. It may also reduce public income from auctioning revenues and may slow down low-carbon investments,” Miccinilli said.
CO2 prices have sunk to €15.45 a tonne on Monday (23 March), down from around €23 at the beginning of March, according to data by Ember. And demand is not expected to pick up any time soon, Miccinilli said, predicting that “the CO2 price will hardly recover in 2020” because of the prolonged economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Europe is thus at a crossroads - applaud short term carbon emissions reductions due to a global recession or fret over the collapse in long term CO2 pricing. LINK
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