Economy

Why EV charging stocks are flagging; plus, how Europe's airlines are fighting change

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

More than 46 million Americans are under heat advisories or warnings today as a record-breaking heat wave blankets much of the country, with some places topping 120°F. This map depicting today’s temps is from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer.

In past years in the Bay Area of Northern California, we’d call days like these earthquake weather.

Dry, hot, windless days that portend something bad about to happen. They would come two or three times a year, often in late summer or early autumn, when the land was at its driest.

This year, we’re in our second heatwave by mid-June, with temperatures expected to be well above 100 degrees (37.7C) in most of the region. With severe drought and the potential for wildfires lurking everywhere, the last thing anyone is thinking about is an earthquake.

A new study published in the Journal of Global Environmental Change, conducted over 12 years, reported that extreme heat and drought in our communities are the only symptoms of climate change that most people will generally agree have been caused by global warming. As opposed to flooding, hurricanes, excessive rainfall, or dramatic storms such as Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast years ago, which brought all three at once to New York City.

Another study from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, detailed below in this newsletter, finds that the earth is trapping twice as much heat in the atmosphere as it did in 2005, just 16 years ago. Disappearing cloud cover and reflecting Arctic ice are the main reasons.

Here in Northern California, where officials are warning residents not to touch the sidewalks for risk of third-degree burns, few need convincing.

More insights below. . . .

ZEUS: EV charging stocks not up to speed

. . . . In the tumult around electric vehicle SPACs and their stocks, one major component has gone little noticed. EV charging station stocks are going nowherewrites David Callaway. The companies tasked with powering the EV revolution are struggling with political bureaucracies both state and national; President Biden’s plan for 500,000 new stations across the country isn’t even in the latest iterations of his infrastructure bill. The gap is ripe with trouble, and opportunity, if someone can find out how to meet the expected demand that is coming. . . .

Read the full ZEUS column

EU notebook: The two faces of European airlines

. . . . European airlines are spending tens of millions lobbying against EU climate initiatives, while at the same time brandishing their green credentials wherever they can, writes Vish Gain from Dublin. And that’s not counting the €30 billion ($36 billion) they received in Covid bailout money from the governments they are opposing. It will be up to investors to drive the change

Plus, Europe’s history is replete with dependency on foreign governments for it energy needs. But as the continent hangs its hopes on green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels, there is finally an opportunity to change the dynamic, if it has the courage. . . .

Read the full EU notebook

Thursday’s subscriber insights: A sample of our best offerings

. . . . Delta Airlines shareholders scored a victory this week in a resolution to force the airline to disclose its lobbying on climate change, but progress toward transitioning global airlines to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) remains agonizingly slow. It may come down to more shareholder efforts, and good old-fashioned carrier rivalry. Read more here. . . .

. . . . Stock index provider FTSE Russell threatened to expel 208 companies from its FTSE4Good index this week, for failing to meet tightening climate reporting requirements. If it happens, the companies would see their shares sold off by many global pensions that use the index. These types of penalties are the only way regulators and exchanges can work to bust greenwashing. Good to see them being used. . . .

. . . . European investors are increasingly looking to Asia for climate projects, especially Spain’s Iberdrola, as the region remains the world’s worst polluter. The question is whether a surge in renewable projects an offset local government’s addiction to coal. Read more here. . . .

Editor’s picks: HSBC launches SLL program, General Fusion to build pilot plant in UK

HSBC launches sustainability-linked loans

HSBC Bank USA (HSBC) is launching sustainability-linked loans for commercial banking clients, enabling U.S. businesses to tie their borrowing costs to their progress on achieving sustainability goals, the company says. ESG Today reports the market for sustainability-linked debt is currently experiencing rapid growth, with a recent report from Moody’s Investor Service revealing that global sustainability-linked loans reached $97 billion in the first quarter of 2021, up 29% over the prior quarter. For the new offering, HSBC structures SLLs in accordance with the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles, which are voluntary global guidelines set by the independent Loan Market Associations. The principles ensure that SPTs are meaningful and ambitious for the business, and that performance is verified and reported regularly, the company said.

General Fusion to build pilot plant in UK

Canada’s General Fusion Inc., backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, says it will build its first pilot plant in the U.K., outside of London at the UK Atomic Energy Authority campus at Culham. The company says it will enter into a long-term lease with UKAEA following construction of a new facility at Culham to host the Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP). The FDP will demonstrate General Fusion’s proprietary Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology, paving the way for the company’s subsequent commercial pilot plant. Amanda Solloway, Science Minister for the UK government said: “This new plant by General Fusion is a huge boost for our plans to develop a fusion industry in the UK, and I’m thrilled that Culham will be home to such a cutting-edge and potentially transformative project. Fusion energy has great potential as a source of limitless, low-carbon energy, and today’s announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the region and the UK’s status as a global science superpower.”

Tabasco maker fighting the tide of climate change in Louisiana

The family that makes the storied Tabasco Sauce is holding on in the battle against hurricanes and erosion on Avery Island, a salt dome near the Gulf of Mexico, south of Lafayette, La. CEO and president Harold “Took” Osborn, great-great-grandson of the McIlhenny Co.’s founder, tells The Associated Press the company is dedicated to fighting erosion with big rocks, terraced wetlands and planting grass. Osborn said the company has plugged at least 15 of the many canals created by oil companies as shortcuts through the marsh. Marsh restoration around Avery Island has the added benefit of helping protect cities and towns to the north, said Mark Shirley of Louisiana Sea Grant. “Storm surge and hurricane protection is directly related to the marshland between you and the Gulf of Mexico,” he said. The AP reports the family also played a big part in creating the Rainey Conservation Alliance to foster larger wetland restoration and coastal protection projects across 187,000 acres in St. Mary, Iberia and Vermilion parishes.

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