Proposals launched to ensure transparency, support climate policy and aid investors. Hot on the heels of a historic climate deal in Paris the Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, two non-profits who seek to promote transparency in relation to climate risk, will in Davos on Friday launch proposals for risk reporting by fossil fuel companies.
There is growing interest in and awareness of climate change and how it relates to the financial system, especially to capital markets. The prominence of climate risk and policy in the minds of business leaders is reflected in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016, which found that the risk with the greatest potential impact is a failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The Paris Agreement confirmed the commitment of global leaders to limit dangerous warming to below 2°C but also promised to pursue an even stricter 1.5°C target, adding more pressure for companies, investors and regulators to act. The ‘Paris effect’ reinforces the emerging political and market signals that will aid the transition to a climate-resilient, low-carbon economy.
Some actions have already been taken to realize that goal. They include, for example, the announcement at COP21 by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank England and Chair of the Financial Stability Board, that Michael Bloomberg will head a new global Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TCFD is intended to be an industry-led body that seeks to identify and set out the information the capital markets and other stakeholders need to manage the transition.
The “Considerations for reporting disclosure in a carbon-constrained world” paper launched on Friday is designed to assist the TCFD members in assessing the energy transition risk and ‘stranded asset’ danger inherent in the business-as-usual strategies of many fossil fuel companies.
The collapse in the oil price to 12-year lows and bankruptcies in the coal sector underscore the risk of ‘financial stranding’ and signals that fossil fuel companies need to accept that they are ex-growth stocks and must urgently re-assess their business models accordingly. Just this week a group of shareholders in ExxonMobil urged the oil giant to detail theresilience of its business model to climate change. This coalition of investors represents nearly $300 billion inassets under management.
Mark Campanale, Carbon Tracker Founder and Executive Director, said: “These disclosure principles go to the very core of the energy transition that is underway – they show investors and markets the extent to which individual fossil fuel companies may be at risk, as well as management’s plans for addressing the looming issue. They also should allow for a system-wide overview of how the transition is progressing over time.”
Lois Guthrie, CDSB Founding Director, said: “Much work has already been done to work out what fossil fuel companies should report about their activities and risks. We have also explored practices in financial reporting that can be applied to reporting such information in our proposals. Policy pronouncements have made this information material and it is essential to ensure that it is reported in a way that is suitable for investor decision-making.”
Rob Schuwerk, Carbon Tracker US Senior Counsel, said: “These proposals complement our recent ‘Engagement Principles’. These documents are both intended to identify and elicit the key information investors need to be able to manage their climate risk — be it by public disclosure or by private dialogue with fossil fuel companies.”
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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