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BMO Global Asset Management On #COP21 and Investor Outlook

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Vicki Bakhshi, Director, Head of Governance and Sustainable Investments, BMO Global Asset Management (EMEA), provides a Viewpoint note on COP21 and the Paris Climate Deal.

Her note says:

· Paris Agreement meets all key investor expectations: in setting out a long-term goal, including national commitments – which will be reviewed in 2018 and then every five years. The review process has also introduced a “naming-and-shaming” of countries lagging behind in carbon reduction efforts by 2023. The involvement of developed countries to fully fund the Green Climate Fund – up to $100 billion per year from a ‘variety of sources’ which will also include private finance – is also highlighted.

· The role of private sector involvement was vital: as noted by President Hollande, who praised the support of ‘businesses and investors’ in the negotiating process. BMO Global Asset Management’s Governance and Sustainable Investment (GSI) team has been at the forefront of investor action, taking a leading role in promoting joint investor activity through the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).

Key activities in 2014-15 included co-authoring, with the IIGCC, the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change, which attracted 409 supporters with over $24 trillion in assets and was delivered to Heads of State at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September 2014. The team also co-authored an open letter to G7 and G20 finance ministers expressing investors’ concerns regarding the systemic nature of climate risks, which was signed by 120 investor CEOs, and had the support of four regional investor groups on climate change and the Principles for Responsible Investment. The team was present at COP 21, as part of the IIGCC observer delegation, helping to represent investors’ voices during meetings with a number of country negotiating teams, including the US, EU, and G77.

What next for investors?

· 2016 may see a scaling up of actions by financial regulators on climate change, with potential consequences for investors

· Key developments in financial regulation to watch include:

o Financial Stability Board: Mark Carney, head of the Bank of England and chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), announced at the Paris Summit that the FSB was establishing an industry led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to be chaired by Michael Bloomberg; this is expected to conclude at the end of 2016.

o France: the Energy Transition Law requires institutional investors to provide the carbon footprints of their investments, to review their portfolio’s alignment with a low-carbon development pathway, and to disclose methods of integrating climate related risks; guidance on implementation is expected to be finalised shortly.

o Sweden: Sweden was the first country to announce a review aimed at creating an obligation for its financial regulator to ensure the financial system is ‘financing sustainable development’.

These developments follow the extensive work by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations and others to understand which policies hinder or support the deployment of capital towards sustainable solutions. As stakeholders at the highest ministerial levels were consulted during this research, it is now firmly embedded within the G20 process – with the Chinese G20 presidency making ‘Green Finance’ a priority area for 2016.

The Viewpoint concludes: “The Paris Agreement makes climate change, and the energy transition, a mainstream investor issue. The focus now shifts to implementation. We expect regulators’ attention to climate change to continue to increase, both as a result of the deal itself and in the broader context of a trend toward encouraging investors to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues – as seen in developments including the introduction of Stewardship codes in Asia, the revisions to the EU Shareholder Rights Directive, and the Ontario ESG legislation for pension plans. Existing investor initiatives to improve the understanding of climate risks and opportunities, such as the ‘Climate Change Investment Solutions: A Guide for Asset Owners’ compiled by the Global Investor Coalition, provide a strong foundation for the discussions we expect to continue into 2016 and beyond.”

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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