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Christiana Figueres & Adair Turner flag financial risks of climate change ahead of Paris Summit

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Today an unprecedented gathering of some of the world’s leading figures from the finance sector are meeting at the historic Guildhall in the City of London with carbon risk and climate experts to discuss the financial implications of the upcoming COP21 summit in Paris in December.

Key speakers at the event will be Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Lord Adair Turner, former chair of the FSA and the UK Committee on Climate Change.

The event will also include a specially recorded video address from HRH The Prince of Wales in which His Royal Highness will say: “Climate change is becoming an increasing source of risk to the finance community.  There are therefore two factors to consider: firstly whether to divest from sectors especially those directly involved in fossil fuels, which will be severely impacted by any agreement to limit global temperatures to a 2 degree rise.

“Secondly, whether to invest in sectors which support the low carbon economy and are therefore better positioned in terms of risk and opportunities.  Some investors, such as philanthropic trusts and foundations, will also have to consider whether continuing to invest in high carbon assets represents a significant conflict to their overall mission and objectives.”

Panelists during the event include CEOs, Chairs and senior executives from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Newton, Carbon Tracker, Overseas Development Institute, Chatham House, Sarasin & Partners, Mercer, CCLA, MSCI and Aviva. Also attending will be Lord Mountevans, the incoming Lord Mayor of the City of London.

The event, organized by the City of London, Ashden Trust, Mark Leonard Trust, and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, and supported by the Local Authority Pension Fund, Aiming for A, IIGCC, Church Investors Group, and ShareAction will see over 300 attendees including many CEOs and leaders from the worlds of finance, business, government, policy, civil society, faith, philanthropy, higher education and health.

A major theme of the event will be stranded assets and the ‘carbon bubble’. This follows a recent speech by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England who said: “If [the IPCC carbon budget] estimate is even approximately correct it would render the vast majority of reserves ‘stranded’ – oil, gas and coal that will be literally unburnable without expensive carbon capture technology, which itself alters fossil fuel economics….climate change will threaten financial resilience and longer-term prosperity.”

Mark Campanale, Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which first coined the phrase the ‘carbon bubble’  said: “The transition to a low carbon energy system and the growth of new energy systems, such as decentralized solar energy generation and battery storage, means that tomorrow’s energy will look very different from today’s.  Costs of clean power generation are falling.

“Investors stuck in a ‘business as usual’ approach to energy investment risk and holding on to high carbon energy could leave their portfolios dangerously exposed. The commitments in Paris require emissions to drop by 30-40%. These goals negate fossil fuel industry plans to expand the sale of their products.  Even Goldman Sachs is telling their clients that the chances of a recovery in the worst polluting sector, the coal industry, is looking bleak”.

Christiana Figueres will open the event to speak about what is expected to be agreed in Paris, the implications for the finance sector and fossil fuel industry. She is likely to say that it is essential that political leaders and the finance sectors start to assess the financial risk of climate change to help a achieve a fast and smooth transition to the low-carbon economy.

The first of three panels will consider and discuss the material risks posed by climate change, risks on company valuations and the implications for finance and investment of the outcomes of the Paris talks. The second panel will discuss what the ‘stranded assets’ concept and the need for portfolio and energy-system decarbonisation mean for the valuation models used by investors in fossil fuel companies.  It will also look at how the growth of renewables and the speed of the clean energy transition are affecting the fossil-fuel sector.

Following the second panel Sarah Butler-Sloss, Chair of the Ashden Trust and founding member of Europeans for Divest Invest will speak about what civil society expects from institutional investors and asset managers and call for greater leadership.  She said: “Given what we now know about the impacts of climate change, it’s essential that climate risk is a material factor in investment decisions.

“For those of us in the charity sector, there are clear ethical responsibilities relating to our charitable objectives. Shortly we will bring into the public domain a new legal opinion by eminent QC and expert in charity law, Christopher McCall that will clarify the extent to which investments in carbon intensive assets conflict with the intent behind charities with environmental and health objectives.”

The final panel, chaired by Catherine Howarth, CEO of ShareAction, will ask what can and should the finance sector do to provide the leadership for called for by Butler-Sloss.

The event will end with concluding thoughts and a call to action from Lord Adair Turner.

Picture credit: Guildhall facade by Diego Delso via Flickr

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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