Europe must tackle its energy crisis now or face a very painful winter

When new energy security strategies for Europe arrive, it is essential that they align with climate change goals. False solutions abound, such as kick-starting a UK fracking industry, even though that has already been tried without success.

Thankfully, the answers are already clear. Wind and solar power should be turbocharged, and ideological barriers such as vetoes for onshore turbines in England must be lifted. More electricity links are required between countries, like the UK-Denmark one due to be finished next year. Energy efficiency needs serious government support, and electrification of cars and heating must be accelerated. And, yes, some mix of nuclear power, more energy storage or carbon-capture power stations will be required to support renewables when the sun isn’t shining.

Individuals can’t solve the climate or energy crises on their own, but there are things homeowners can do to help. People on lower incomes need support to cope with high energy prices. But for those able to pay, there has never been a better time to “repair” that roof, with proper insulation and solar panels. Winter is sooner than you think. Let’s seize the opportunity to make sure we weather it.

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Shell consultant quits, accusing firm of ‘extreme harms’ to environment

Caroline Dennett tells staff in video she made decision because of ‘double-talk on climate’

A senior safety consultant has quit working with Shell after 11 years, accusing the fossil fuel producer in a bombshell public video of causing “extreme harms” to the environment.

Caroline Dennett claimed Shell had a “disregard for climate change risks” and urged others in the oil and gas industry to “walk away while there’s still time”.

The executive, who works for the independent agency Clout, ended her working relationship with Shell in an open letter to its executives and 1,400 employees. In an accompanying video, posted on LinkedIn, she said she had quit because of Shell’s “double-talk on climate”.

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Climate group sues Dutch airline KLM over ‘greenwashing’ advert

Environmental campaigners are suing the Dutch airline KLM over “greenwashing” adverts they say misleadingly promote the sustainability of flying.

Lawyers from ClientEarth are supporting Fossielvrij NL, a Netherlands-based campaign group, to bring a claim that KLM’s ad campaigns give a false impression of the sustainability of its flights and its plans to address its impact on the climate.

“KLM’s marketing misleads consumers into believing that its flights won’t worsen the climate emergency. But this is a myth,” said Hiske Arts, a campaigner at Fossielvrij NL.

“Unchecked flying is one of the fastest ways to heat up the planet. Customers need to be informed and protected from claims that suggest otherwise.”

Activists from Fossielvrij NL submitted a pre-action letter to Air France KLM, KLM’s parent company, during its AGM in Paris on Tuesday. Their legal action takes aim at KLM’s “Fly Responsibly” campaign, which presents the airline as “creating a more sustainable future”.

Read here:
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/24/climate-group-sues-dutch-airline-klm-over-adverts

Executive pay system is broke

The system of executive pay is “broken”, the Church of England’s pension board has said, as it challenged more companies to ease the pain of soaring inflation by committing to paying workers the living wage.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/19/next-shareholders-agree-to-44m-pay-package-for-chief-despite-opposition?utm_term=62872e62da683c87d583e2df4151e534&utm_campaign=FirstEdition&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=firstedition_email

The Helsinki neighbourhood leading the way to zero-carbon cities

Kalasatama, a former cargo port in Finland’s capital, is acting as a test bed for new ideas that could help the city reach a goal of zero carbon emissions by 2040

A neighbourhood in the shadow of a coal power station on the outskirts of Helsinki, Finland, might seem an unlikely place to envangelise about its environmental credentials.
But here in the former cargo port of Kalasatama, a 31-year mega project is under way to build a model green urban district that should eventually be home to 30,000 people.
About 9000 have already moved in. “It’s getting better and better by the day,” says Hetta Huittinen-Naskali, who has lived in Kalasatama for four years. “What I like is that there are always people moving around.”
For her, that means walking, the city’s popular bike-hire scheme, the metro and, in her husband’s case, a car too.
The neighbourhood is billed by city authorities as a test bed for new ideas that might be rolled out to the rest of the capital: last year saw a driverless bus pilot project and robots delivering food to older residents.
Perhaps most importantly, the area is grappling with ways to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels to meet Helsinki’s goal of absolutely zero carbon emissions by 2040.

READ: newscientist.com article here

This climate crisis report asks: what is at stake? In short, everything

Analysis: Major IPCC report, approved by 195 countries, lays bare devastating harm caused by unchecked global heating

“A liveable and sustainable future for all”. It is the very last words of the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that spell out what is at stake. In short, it is everything.
 
The damage from global heating is already hitting hard. The comprehensive IPCC assessment, which is based on 34,000 studies, documents “widespread and pervasive” impacts on people and the natural world from increasingly frequent and intense heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, storms and floods. Some impacts are now irreversible.
 

Can a tech billionaire squash Australia’s coal industry by buying it?

Frustrated with the Australian government’s inaction on climate change, software king Mike Cannon-Brookes is trying to buy several big coal plants so he can shut them down in favour of renewables

Mike Cannon-Brookes, the third-richest person in Australia, has launched an audacious bid to buy the country’s biggest electricity company – and shut its coal-fired power plants. It is a bold approach to decarbonisation, but can he pull it off?

Australia currently produces the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world from burning coal for power generation. The country’s government is highly attached to fossil fuels. Not long before becoming the current prime minister, Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal to parliament and announced: “This is coal. Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you.”

Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of software giant Atlassian, has been a vocal critic of the government’s climate inaction. Now, he is using his net worth of A$20 billion to try to take matters into his own hands.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2309157-can-a-tech-billionaire-squash-australias-coal-industry-by-buying-it/

Climate change: Can the UK afford its net zero policies?

With the cost of living rising, are Britain’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions too expensive?

 

A small but vocal group of Conservative MPs are arguing that with energy prices soaring, the government should rethink how it reaches what’s known as ‘net-zero’ by 2050.

The group has made a number of key arguments. So what are they saying, and what does the data tell us?

Three years ago the goal of net-zero was written into UK law with the backing of MPs from all sides.

Broadly speaking it’s a commitment to transform the way our economy operates.

Net-zero means not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Achieving it means reducing emissions as much as possible, as balancing out any that remain.

There’s consensus among the world’s scientists that it’s vital if we’re to have a chance of keeping global temperature rises to manageable levels.

Read about this

Oil firms’ climate claims are greenwashing, study concludes

Most comprehensive scientific analysis to date finds words are not matched by actions

Accusations of greenwashing against major oil companies that claim to be in transition to clean energy are well-founded, according to the most comprehensive study to date.

The research, published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, examined the records of ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP, which together are responsible for more than 10% of global carbon emissions since 1965. The researchers analysed data over the 12 years up to 2020 and concluded the company claims do not align with their actions, which include increasing rather than decreasing exploration

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/16/oil-firms-climate-claims-are-greenwashing-study-concludes?utm_term=620dd653293a7d76d3b14b06409ae6d9&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUK&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=GTUK_email

SUVs have the carbon footprint of a major industrial nation

The market for the cars is booming despite campaigns to reduce emissions

Talk of sustainability is everywhere — whether in the installation of heat pumps in our homes, the expanding meat-free sections in our supermarkets, or in the cries of “climate hypocrisy” whenever a politician takes a private jet. One area seemingly unaffected by the green movement, however, is in the high-end sports utility vehicle (SUV) market.

Read here: newstatesman.com/chart

Waste must end

We hack almost 100 billion tonnes of stuff from Earth’s surface every year, and most of it goes to waste. Changing that means a complete overhaul of how we live

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25333730-800-the-end-of-waste-the-grand-plan-to-build-a-truly-circular-economy/

Waitrose and Lidl top list of eco-friendly supermarkets

Study by Which? looked at greenhouse gas emissions as well as plastic waste and food waste.

Waitrose and Lidl carrier bags

Waitrose and Lidl are the most sustainable supermarkets, according to a Which?’s eco-friendly grocer ranking.

Iceland finished last, according to the research, which tracked supermarket policies on: plastic waste and food waste, which shoppers have reported are the biggest issues for them; and greenhouse gas emissions, which most experts say poses the greatest environmental threat.

In its first such ranking, the consumer magazine pointed out that supermarkets respond to customer demand, so if shoppers make eco-friendly choices and demand sustainable options, this can influence shops to improve.

2021 Newsletter November

Have you noticed how popular you become when you start speaking about the environment, saving water, making your own compost, upcycling everything from furniture to clothes?

That is a good starting point, but what if you could do more with your pension or savings as well?

Have you been put off making those changes because:

  • you have been convinced it is just a fad?
  • doing good means sacrificing performance?
  • your worried about “Greenwash”?
  • money is safer in your bank?

Traditional advice works against sensible thoughts, and you do nothing to change your strategy because “it has always worked fine for me.”

Fortunately, for pensions, many major employers have changed strategy, moving billions into more sustainable investment types – investments that help the fight against climate change instead of adding to the problem.

Jan has decades of experience investing for good. She has worked over the past 5 years to better understand the thought processes and the policies behind the fund managers who offer Environmental, Social and Good Governance (ESG) as core values.

We have made investments for our clients that, over 5 years, have returned an average of 4% to 14% per year, or 20.46% and 74.88% over 5 years.

Of course, the past cannot guarantee the future, but it shows that good investment really can pay off.

Jan listens and takes your values seriously. She understands risk and reward strategies.

In our firm the client calls the shots; every client is treated as an individual whose views matter. 

Look at your pension or savings and ask yourself, could I invest better?

The time for us ALL to act is NOW

That includes the way you invest
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Sadiq Khan to warn time is running out to tackle emergency as he puts pressure on UK government to act

A fifth of London’s schools are now susceptible to flooding and millions of people living in the capital are at “high risk” of suffering from the effects of the climate crisis
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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/23/climate-crisis-fifth-london-schools-susceptible-flooding-sadiq-khan?utm_term=a0046991415b5f0d063d61b20a956eb0&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUK&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=GTUK_email&fbclid=IwAR3MKxMi-TTfilzEvFNr__S19V7JIcEV8om6-xeMkDmuS9z4bkZ8aqBBf14

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.”