Al Gore called them “subprime carbon assets.” More and more banks, companies, countries, pension funds, universities, churches, and many others are beginning to understand the considerable investment risks in the constellations of fossil fuel companies. The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), the world’s biggest and most efficient sovereign wealth fund, last week jettisoned 32 coal mining companies, 5 tar sand producers, 2 cement companies and 1 coal-based electricity generator from its $850 billion portfolio. The Guardian quotes a GPFG rep here: “Our risk-based approach means that we exit sectors and areas where we see elevated levels of risk to our investments in the long term.” Continue reading
Action This Day. That’s what Winston Churchill wrote on many of his memos. It has always worked for me as a call to arms. Action was the persistent theme of the recent UN Climate Summit. I had the good fortune to be there last week and I was, after a fair number of years of observing the environmental scene, somewhat in awe of the tone and timbre of the speeches in support of climate action. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been building support for nearly a year for a successful summit, with leaders of governments, business and civil society in abundance coming to speak and to make commitments. Continue reading
Cool poster, isn’t it? I’m on this panel and I think it will be pretty interesting and energizing. Continue reading
Getting a jump on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s release this week of the first installment of the Fifth Assessment Report, the new Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, had its kickoff yesterday morning. This blue ribbon group is being led by Felipe Calderón, until last year the President of Mexico. He is well versed in the issue, as he also, among other things, led the climate negotiations in Cancún in 2010. The director of the project is Jeremy Oppenheim, on leave from McKinsey where for the past five years he has run their Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice. These are two highly seasoned and smart guys. The focus of the commission’s work in the first year will be researching and production of a report giving “comprehensive evidence on whether and how climate policy can be made compatible with strong economic performance.”
I can’t really say it often enough: nuclear power is a scandal. It’s squandered trillions of dollars, generated waste that will be lethal for hundreds of thousands of years, blighted vast areas of Japan and the Ukraine – and is still an accident waiting to happen. But, you say, in this age of warming, we need clean nuclear power to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. Utter, unadulterated, dangerously stupid bullshit! Okay? Can it be said any more clearly than that? Part of the extraordinary tragedy of commercial nuclear power is the fact that while the planet is truly burning, the Nukefists are fiddling away time, money, expertise and political will with this proven outrage of a technology. Continue reading
O’Dwyer’s Monthly Magazine is the flagship for J.R. O’Dwyer Company, a venerable source for “inside news of public relations and marketing communications.” They had a special issue this month on Environmental Communications & Public Affairs. They saw fit to excerpt some material from the book in the issue. They headed the excerpt Companies, investors seeing risk in climate change – Nonprofits and science organizations play an important role in educating corporations to the dangers posed by climate change. Continue reading
Back in 2006, Lord Nicholas Stern and his team produced the first comprehensive look at the economic impacts of climate change. The Stern Review was a serious clarion call to policy makers that climate change was a threat where nearly everyone feels it most: in the pocketbook. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has also considered these impacts from the time of their first assessment report in 1990 through to their report this year on extreme events and disasters.