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

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/

Behind headlines

It is important to read behind the story and not assume the headline is all. Sometimes you find it is not what you expect.

I often call companies to ask about the reality of their ESG proposition.

Why Lamborghini’s new hybrid is bad for the environment

Lamborghini has finally added a hybrid to its line-up, and it’s bad for the environment.

https://www.businessinsider.com/lamborghini-sian-hybrid-electric-bad-for-environment-2019-10?utm_campaign=sf-bi-main&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR15eqOvHcGIvLe4ZOIKkpPlnmKtDu3-Mm-AinlEaD8eBNdtn0H_7EYjiig&r=US&IR=T

Clean Slate: Green Slate

This year’s Good Money Week was all about giving your money an ethical overhaul.

This pandemic has been a wake-up call for many of us in many different senses, but especially when it comes to our finances.

That’s why the theme of this year’s Good Money Week was ‘Clean Slate Green Slate’, encouraging people to consider green options as they start afresh with their finances.

This year we commissioned FinText to analyse public conversations between private investors on the Reddit platform and found that ESG rarely came up and when it did it was often objected to.

We also share the results of our YouGov survey which shows that while half of us saved money and many are now talking our finances more seriously, most of those who saved would prefer a bog-standard savings account to an ISA or investment platform.

However, 51% of us want the government to prioritise lowering emissions when it builds back better even if it takes longer and 49% wants an affordable build back better bond. 


Jan works with UKSIF and Good Money

A sustainable return

In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, my newsletter, April 2020, it is important to give a view of the portfolios we manage. 
Not individual valuations but an overall position.

To put things in context, the portfolio with the biggest drawdown has reduced in value by 19.5% but most have reduced by less than 14%, after increasing from January 2019 to the current fall in February 2020 by 28.5%.
The fall was dramatic, and we may still see further falls as the markets are tested.

However, a 28.5% recovery in a single year demonstrates that markets recover and normally faster than anticipated during a crisis.

Portfolios are designed to match clients’ individual appetite for risk and should provide stability, providing better than cash returns and out pacing inflation.

Investments that help the world stay healthy, minimise waste of scarce resources and provide a sustainable return

Make Our Money Count

“Make Our Money Count”
– Public Demand for Sustainable Pensions & Savings Reaches Record High

Climate Anxiety is taking hold of our younger friend and relations, as a member of Women in Sustainability I regularly meet to exchange ideas on a range of subjects including sustainable fashion, food waste and how to make a positive difference in the world we inhabit.

As a member of the Ethical Investment community, I work with clients to ensure their money is used to meet their needs first and then to meet their values.  

Until recently it has been a slow burn, with many critics and challenges from within the retail investment community. However, attitudes are changing and so are the opportunities.

The City’s Green Initiative is a welcome response.

The City institutions are now on board, fearing overwhelming insurance claims from disasters caused by the changing weather and reducing values of assets within the larger pension funds, most of which have historically relied on returns from fossil fuels.

The benefit of running a small firm, allowing freedom to move quickly, is that I recognised the opportunities to invest in alternative energy, new science and engineering developments.

Having access to excellent research on what is actually in the chosen funds, I have been able to provide investments that have outperformed the stock market for the last 5 years.

They have been good for my clients and good for our future.

My research process allows for client specific investments that meet their values and avoid investments in things they are unhappy about, for example a young Vet student recently asked me to invest only in funds that have a good Animal Welfare approach.

I have always believed that Capitalism is good, but it must be Good Capitalism.  

Providing money to help solve problems;
ESG means Ethical Social and Governance.
Governance means that the providers of collective funds demand changes at Board level in the way firms are run, for the benefit of their employees, the local community and their supply chain.

Information source: FTSE Russell ‘Green Economy’

 

 

Pensions and National Insurance

I offer this reminder, as I am often asked about the need to pay National Insurance and the most appropriate way to achieve full benefits.  It is easy to check your personal account on line. 

  • the State Pension changed in April 2016.
  • if you reached State Pension Age before April 2016, you needed to have National Insurance contributions or credits for 30 years to receive the full pension.
  • if you reached State Pension age prior to April 2016, the State pension is made up of the Basic Old Age Pension and the Additional State Pension; otherwise known as State Second Pension (S2P), State Earnings Related Pension (SERPS) or the Graduated Retirement Benefit.
  • Those who enter the National Insurance system on or after 6 April 2016, will need to have a minimum of 10 years National Insurance contributions or credits to qualify for a State Pension.
    To receive the full pension, they will need to have National Insurance contributions or credits of 35 years. For everyone else, transitional rules apply. 

Clearly most of us do not rely on the State Pension and the question is how much additional funding is needed to achieve a realistic income at the time you plan to stop earning or reduce your working time.

Most people are shocked once they look at the levels of funding necessary, which means that you can either choose to fund to the desired outcome or delay your plans. Most importantly start early and fund realistically but also take the opportunity to get a realistic forecast.

Pension funding is still the most tax efficient way for all but basic rate tax payers, with Stocks and Shares ISAs used for anyone who is currently a basis rate tax payer. 

One important warning, Cash ISAs give a return less than inflation and the only tax benefit is that the small amount of interest is tax free. 

They do not make financial sense for medium and long-term savings. Inflation is expected to run at about 2.5% in the foreseeable future.  Stocks and Shares ISAs are exposed to market fluctuations but rarely give a negative return in the longer term.