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Paris Agreement Top Priority at Business and Climate Summit

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Businesses and politicians from across the world are coming together today for the Business & Climate Summit. The second annual Summit is dedicated to tackling climate change. The event specifically focuses on how businesses should address the Paris Agreement, which was signed back in April 2016.

With the Paris Agreement now in place, attention must turn to the practical implementation of the commitments made last year. Investment decisions and business strategies must have decarbonisation and the path to a net zero carbon economy over the next half century at their heart.

The first day of the Summit will explore this implementation across themes including business, energy, transport, forestry, agriculture and the built environment.

Ségolène Royal, Minister of Environment, Energy and the Sea, in charge of International Climate Relations, Government of France, and President of COP21, will reaffirm her view on the need for wide-scale use of carbon pricing for global emissions reduction in an opening Keynote address at the Summit, stating: “Businesses are key for the implementation of the Paris agreement. Many advocate carbon pricing in order to give the right signal to investors and drive the transition towards a low carbon economy, which is very encouraging. As president of COP21, I aim to promote a carbon price that is high, stable and coordinated.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will address the Summit’s opening session in her last major international speech in her current role. Ms Figueres joined and transformed the UN Climate Change body shortly after the failed Copenhagen Summit in 2009, where she has helped firmly embed the crucial role of the business voice. In her speech she will say: In the run up to COP21 in Paris an extraordinary alliance of business and investors committed to ambitious actions via the dedicated NAZCA portal. I believe that you can truly say— ‘We’re Accelerating Climate Action’. But a universal climate agreement of nations also needs universal support from the private sector beyond Europe and North America. I would urge committed business to reach out to peers in Africa, Asia and Latin America in order to further seed, catalyse and build action everywhere and in support of COP22 in Marrakech.”

Momentum from business has continued to accelerate since COP21. In addition to the increasing numbers of companies setting bold targets – from sourcing 100% clean energy to transforming entire value chains with science-based guidance – forward-thinking companies are already taking concrete actions to deliver climate solutions that drive value for their business. The Summit will explore how businesses can continue to take this leadership forward at the speed and scale that is urgently needed to accelerate the transition to the low carbon economy.

Since Paris, there has been a determined effort to turn the conversation into actionable collaboration. The private sector is an effective and efficient actor of change. But a sound and effective international framework is needed from governments to address the urgency of global climate risk.

In reaction to this, a new report, ‘The Business End of Climate Change’, produced by the We Mean Business coalition in partnership with CDP and analysis from the New Climate Institute, will be launched during the Summit.

The report will outline what climate action business is already committed to, and what impact that will have on greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It will also demonstrate what more could be achieved with business and governments working together to achieve the right policy environment for enhanced climate action. Businesses have committed to reducing emissions by 3.7 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year by 2030. With the right policy enabling environment, the reductions could be as high as 10 billion.

During the launch of the report, Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group, will say: “Our report shows that business will be a key driver of climate action to reduce global CO2 equivalent emissions by 2030. But it can, and should, go further still. Government and business must continue to work together to create the right policy framework for enhanced climate action to make this happen.”

The Paris Agreement is also impacting the finance sector, which is seeing an increased interest in green finance and the emergence of clean investment themes that support robust flows of funds.

Michel Madelain, Vice Chairman of Moody Investors Service, will also address the Summit on the opening morning, saying: “The Paris Agreement was a defining moment for policymakers around the world. It has galvanized many actors and organisations into action, including my own, to start placing climate risk at the forefront of their thinking.”

Addressing the Summit in a pre-recorded video message, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon echoed this collective action from businesses, saying: “It’s time to turn our aspirations into urgent implementation. I have called on all nations to ratify the Paris Agreement for a rapid entry into force before the end of this year…to meet our goals we need 100% participation from businesses around the world.”

The second day of the event, tomorrow Wednesday, June 29, will focus on the finance, innovation and policy needed for the low carbon transition. A full agenda for the Summit can be found online here.

In addition to those already mentioned, the Summit will be addressed by a stellar cast of global CEOs and international policymakers including: Stuart Gulliver, CEO, HSBC; Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; Rana Kapoor, Founder, Managing Director and CEO, Yes Bank; Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico and Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate; Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP; Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman, Paris EUROPLACE, Chairman, ENGIE; Sir Roger Gifford, Chairman, City of London’s Green Finance Initiative; Roberto Azevêdo, World Trade Organization Director-General; Mahendra Singhi, CEO and Whole Time Director, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited; and Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO, Michelin.

Media registration has now closed. However, the Summit is being live-streamed, and can be watched here.

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

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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