Regulate business to tackle climate crisis, urges Mark Carney

Governments must step up their regulation of businesses to tackle the climate crisis, the former Bank of England governor Mark Carney has urged, because the financial free markets will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions alone.

Carney, who left the Bank of England last year before the first Covid-19 lockdown, is now one of the most influential figures working on Cop26, the vital UN climate talks to be held in Glasgow in November. He is a UN envoy on climate change and Boris Johnson’s finance adviser on the climate.

He said for the world to meet its climate goals, governments would have to force industries to follow clear rules, on everything from energy generation to construction and transport, and set carbon prices that would drive investment towards green ends and close down fossil fuels.

“We need clear, credible and predictable regulation from government,” he said. “Air quality rules, building codes, that type of strong regulation is needed. You can have strong regulation for the future, then the financial market will start investing today, for that future. Because that’s what markets do, they always look forward.”

Without such robust intervention from governments, markets would fail to address the crisis. “It wouldn’t happen spontaneously by the financial sector,” he said. “But we can’t get there without the financial sector.”

People must also press political leaders to act, Carney said. “When people have made it clear they have that objective [of tackling the climate crisis], and if there is public policy that translates those wishes into real action, a price on carbon, regulation of internal combustion engines for example, then financial markets – capitalism – will come up with the solutions to give people what they want.”

He pointed to Johnson’s promise to ban sales of new diesel- and petrol-driven cars from 2030. Car companies are responding: Nissan has announced a £1bn electric car hub in Sunderland, while Vauxhall’s owner, Stellantis, is making a £100m investment in Ellesmere Port. “We’ve seen the automotive industry saying, wait a minute, we have to make big investments in order to supply people with cars in the future,” Carney said.

However, Carney still sees a future for fossil fuels. In May, the International Energy Agency said if the world was to stay within 1.5C of global heating, there could be no more exploration or development of fossil fuel resources.

Carney argues that countries and companies could still carry on exploiting fossil fuels, despite this advice, if they use technology such as carbon capture and storage, or other ways of reducing emissions. “You have to take it on the specific projects. If [fossil fuel] producers are able, through considerable investment in carbon capture and storage, to get to net zero then that creates some room in the carbon budget.”

In Canada, for instance, where Carney is from and partly lives – and where, according to rumours, he is reported to be considering a political career – he said oil sands producers could continue to develop their high-carbon resources, if they reduce their emissions and Canada can make changes elsewhere. “Canada has an objective of 40-45% down on emissions by 2030,” he said. “I’m not going to dictate exactly how that is accomplished but the critical thing is the aggregate.”

Companies should also be able to use carbon offsets to meet climate targets, Carney insisted. The practice of offsetting – funding the planting of trees or protection of forests, or other projects that reduce carbon, to make up for a company’s or individual’s emissions – has become increasingly controversial. Some fraudulent schemes have been uncovered, in which carbon credits did not exist or did not represent an actual reduction in emissions. Other schemes have been found to fail to protect forests, allowing logging to continue while selling carbon credits based on keeping forests standing.

 

Carney has drawn criticism from green groups over his support for offsetting, but remains a staunch advocate. “I’m of the view that offsets can play a role because they extend the carbon budget,” he said. “It’s a bit like when we think about people living on a very tight budget. If you can find ways to save a bit of money here and there or earn a bit more money, you do it. That’s what this is.”

Part of the purpose of carbon credits is to protect areas of forest under threat, such as the Amazon or in south-east Asia, with the additional benefits of preserving natural ecosystems and helping indigenous peoples. The world has not yet found other ways of keeping rainforest protected, he said. “We may not like it that it makes sense to have private companies pay to stop [the burning] but it makes a lot more sense to do that and preserve the rainforest than to just let it happen. Unfortunately, we’ve been just letting it happen.”

Despite criticism of companies “greenwashing” before Cop26, and despite his acknowledgment that “we have left it very late” to begin seriously cutting emissions, Carney believes that harnessing capitalism and the power of money will bring about the changes needed in time to avoid climate breakdown.

“With the right regulation, with a rising carbon price, with a financial sector that is oriented this way, with public accountability of government, of financial institutions, of companies, yes, then we can, we certainly have the conditions in which to achieve [holding global heating to 1.5C],” he said. “That’s our objective.”

Porsche to be carbon neutral

Go Ultra Low@GoUltraLow·
– Campaign working towards an electric future – backed by the UK Government, vehicle manufacturers and energy providers.

Big commitment from @Porsche who want to become carbon neutral across their entire supply chain by 2030.

From July onwards, Porsche will require its 1,300 suppliers to use only renewable energy. A fantastic move towards ensuring a more sustainable future. #RenewableEnergy

Climate Desperation

Don’t have a real responsibility for our youth?

WE ALL need to deal with climate change for THEM – and NOW

Young people who feel “hopeless and paralysed” by fears about climate change need help and support, mental health experts have said.

Place2Be – a charity offering counselling in schools – said the issue was becoming “more and more prominent”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-57555760https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-57555760

Younger shoppers are driving a surge …

‘Pre-loved’ fashion moves from niche to mainstream as retailers join the fray

Younger shoppers are driving a surge in sales of secondhand clothing and furnishings, spurred by the desire to help the environment and find alternative looks to fast fashion.

On eBay, sales of “pre-loved” fashion and homewares have shot up in the UK over the past year, with the company selling more than 60 million used items. Murray Lambell, general manager of eBay’s UK business, said: “There is definitely a change in mindset, driven by younger consumers up to the age of 30.”

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/may/01/pre-loved-fashion-moves-from-niche-to-mainstream-as-retailers-join-the-fray

Royal Ascot is celebrating ‘the art of conscious shopping’.

The overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans

The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize. Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated the Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather – that much is widely understood.

The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.

As oceans heat up the water rises in part because warm water expands but also because the warmer waters have initiated major melt of polar ice sheets. As a result, average sea levels around the world are now all but certain to rise by at least 20 to 30 feet. That’s enough to put large parts of many coastal cities, home to hundreds of millions of people, under water.

The key questions are how soon this sea level rise will happen and whether humans can cool the atmosphere and oceans quickly enough to prevent part of this.

If seas rise 20 feet over the next 2,000 years, our children and their descendants may find ways to adapt. But if seas rise 20 feet or more over the next 100 to 200 years — which is our current trajectory – the outlook is grim. In that scenario, there could be two feet of sea level rise by 2040, three feet by 2050, and much more to come.

Two to three feet of sea level rise may not sound like much, but it will transform human societies the world over.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2021/apr/13/sea-level-rise-climate-emergency-harold-wanless?utm_term=df0639d7e897827b1813f440780eb56f&utm_campaign=GreenLight&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=greenlight_email

Climate considerations now fully embedded across UK principal financial regulators

The UK has extended its global leadership on green finance by requiring its principal financial regulators to consider climate change.

The move raises global ambition ahead of COP26 in November where the UK is aiming to ensure every financial decision takes climate change into account.

READ THIS: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/climate-considerations-now-fully-embedded-across-uk-principal-financial-regulators

Asset managers urged to ‘step up’

UK pensions minister issues warning as schemes lack detail on voting, disclosure and engagement.

Serious improvements in pensions transparency are required as two reports released this week show most asset managers were unable to provide details of how they exercised their voting rights, and the UK ranked behind Canada, Australia and many European countries in terms of the quality of pensions disclosures.

Read this here

2021 Newsletter April

Let’s Talk Tax

Budgets are all about gathering in money, by way of taxes to spend to support the country, its public services, businesses, and citizens.

Each Government takes a view of what is important or what is in their manifesto.

There are three approaches dependent on the particular politics of the government:

  • Low taxes particularly to benefit business and jobs.
  • High taxes to support society, healthcare, and infrastructure.
  • A third way, which raises money by tax and through investment by the private sector.

Since the Finance Act 1976, successive Governments of all parties, with private sector capital, have made a substantial step forward in supporting small businesses, from start up to sale. 

New technology and drug development has been financed.  Infrastructure and public services supported by specific tax reliefs.

The recent Budget recognised the benefits gained through tax benefits being used to influence behaviour.

Inheritance Tax Planning

How does this help you, as someone planning your financial future and that of your children and grandchildren?

There are opportunities for you to remove assets from your estate within two years, whilst keeping control and keeping it accessible, should you need to pay for your care costs. 

The investments have a wide range of assets, depending on what outcome the Treasury are interested in encouraging you to support.

There is something for you, whatever your approach to risk.  If your choice is to invest according to your values, social, environmental or supporting new technologies, you have a range to fit those values.

In my experience, your beneficiaries will be delighted that you saved 40% tax on their inheritance and made a difference to the wider world, building the country’s sustainability.

Capital gains tax, income tax savings, or income tax reclaim

For those of you who have reached your pension lifetime allowance limit and are looking for other tax savings, then you should explore, with your financial adviser the choice between different tax beneficial opportunities. The options are varied and must be made with professional help.

Women in Sustainability

Women in Sustainability

You care deeply about our planet, its people and places.
You’re passionate about growing your talents in a meaningful career.
You want to achieve great things but keep your life in balance.

Then you might be interested in this friendly, informative coaching-led Network Hub Events that make it easy for you to connect with like-minded women, building valuable relationships & growing your expertise.
 https://womeninsustainability.net/

Climate change is a global emergency

Despite the pandemic, almost two thirds of people around the world now view climate change as a global emergency.

That’s the key finding from the largest opinion poll yet conducted on tackling global warming.

More than a million people in 50 countries took part in the survey, with almost half the participants aged between 14 and 18.

Conserving forests and land emerged as the most popular solution for tackling the issue.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55802902

Corporate Governance

I have been urging people to look at better investments for the past 15 years and finally the theory has been tested.  Would Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments do better in a crisis? 

Yes, they did.

Most of the good performance has come by always adhering to Environmental, Social and Governance standards (ESG).

I know that my clients and most other investors understand the benefit to the environment and society.  What I do not know is if other investors and their advisers understand that a fundamental change has already taken place.

The changes will continue, and it is going to be difficult to spot the difference between ‘greenwash’ and the real deal, now that the flood gates have opened.

The shift started during the financial crisis a decade ago.  At the time I was asked to comment on BBC Bristol Radio on Ethical investing. 

My strongest memory is of the journalist who expressed disbelief that it was possible to question your adviser, bank, or pension manager about the assets they held. 

For my part, the idea that you hand over your savings without understanding what it was financing was unacceptable and contributed to the financial crash. 

MORE ON THIS HERE