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Green Remit of Green Investment Bank Must Be Protected If Sold

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Parliament’s green watchdog – the Environmental Audit Committee – has warned the Government that its proposed privatisation of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) must not go ahead unless Ministers can ensure that the Bank’s guiding green objectives are protected and strengthened.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Huw Irranca-Davies MP, said: “The Green Investment Bank has done a great job of getting capital flowing to the kind of innovative green projects that sometimes struggle to secure financial backing. The decision to privatise the Bank appears rushed and Ministers have not produced convincing evidence that it will achieve its aims better in the private sector.

“The Government is currently relying on assurances from potential shareholders and the commercial case for retaining the Green Investment Bank’s green purposes. That is not robust enough.

“The Government must ensure the Green Investment Bank continues to do what it says on the tin. If the Government cannot guarantee that the Green Investment Bank will retain its green purpose in the private sector then the sale should not go ahead.”

Lack of evidence and consultation

The Committee criticises the Government for taking the decision to privatise GIB without due transparency, publication of relevant evidence, consultation, or proper consideration of alternatives. It says that the Government has not put robust enough safeguards in place to protect GIB’s green purposes, and calls on the Government to establish a special share to protect GIB’s green purposes.

Risk to GIB’s green identity

The report identifies two key risks that could result from the privatisation that cannot be avoided merely by protecting its green purposes.

First, that the GIB will move its focus away from novel and complex projects that struggle to find funding in favour of easier, more commercial projects.

Second, that a privatised GIB could invest in areas which may damage its reputation and undermine its leadership role in the green economy.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Huw Irranca-Davies MP, added: “Markets sometimes fail to value the actions needed to protect our air, climate and biodiversity. Whilst we recognise there are potential benefits from an injection of capital, we are worried that a privatised Green Investment Bank would shy away from precisely the kind of difficult projects it was founded to fund.

“We need a Green Investment Bank that has the freedom to operate in ways that conventional commercial banks cannot. The green purposes of GIB must not only be properly protected – they should be strengthened. The Government should retain a minority stake in the Bank to ensure its long- term strength and demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the green economy following the Paris climate agreement.”

The sale and the Government’s future involvement

Before proceeding with the sale of the GIB, the Environmental Audit Committee says the Government must publish a business case and all impact assessments related to the sale. The Government should provide an evaluation of whether a ‘phased approach’ involving alternative recapitalisation options would be possible. This could allow for greater consultation, transparency and market testing on the form of any eventual privatisation.

The report concludes that, if the Government goes ahead with privatisation, the Bank should be sold as a going concern. In addition, the Government should retain a minority stake in the Bank in order to demonstrate its commitment to the green economy and ensure the Bank’s long-term strength.

If the GIB is not privatised, then it should be granted borrowing powers.

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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