Economy

Dublin Climate Summit convened to address new pace of energy transition

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

Astute readers of Callaway Climate Insights will know we’ve been planning a special conference in Ireland for some time to address the new pace of energy transition triggered by the war in Ukraine and the rebound in global oil and coal use.

Today, just as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms April will be the first month in human history that global atmospheric carbon levels top 420 parts per million — the highest level in more than four million years — we’re formally announcing the Dublin Climate Summit on May 12.

We’ve assembled an A-list of international speakers and sponsors, including Jean Rogers, global head of ESG at Blackstone (BX), Paschal Donohoe, president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Iggy Bassi, CEO of climate intelligence company Cervest, and Gabriel Kra, managing director of Prelude Ventures. The conference will be opened by Ireland’s Taoiseach, Micheal Martin.

An early version of the website and registration forms for both in-person and virtual attendees is available here: The Dublin Climate Summit 2022.

Stephen Rae, our European bureau chief, partner and co-host of the summit, and our team in Dublin and I are thrilled to finally be able to hold a live conference, and it couldn’t come at a more vital time.

Decisions made in Europe and beyond this year about how fast to transition to renewable energy and what role oil, gas and coal will continue to play will be pivotal to our chances of keeping global warming within manageable boundaries; something it is currently threatening to go well beyond as the NOAA chart shows above.

We’ll have more in coming weeks on speakers, topics, sponsors and how Ireland is taking a leadership role in Europe’s climate battle. And we hope to see you in May.

More insights below . . . .

Europe scrambles for floating gas terminals to replace Putin’s pipelines

. . . . Europe’s sudden race to dump Russian oil and gas and replace them with liquified natural gas (LNG) has triggered a mad rush to set up floating gas terminals, particularly in Germany, writes Alisha Houlihan from Dublin. Lack of suitable storage on land is hampering the continent’s ability to import the gas it needs from the U.S. and Canada, and offshore terminals come with less expensive price tags and quicker times to market. Italy and France are also in on the race, with time growing short as Putin’s war drags on. . . .

Read the full EU notebook

This is how much the new SEC climate disclosure rules will cost your company

. . . . Securities and Exchange Commissioner Gary Gensler has been quick to point out the benefit to investors of the agency’s proposed new rules on public companies to disclosure their climate risk and financial risk from global warming. But what about the costs, which are certain to draw opposition? Bill Sternberg breaks down the cost per company and looks at how the opposition is lining up, as well as the potential bull market for compliance officers and audit companies if the rules are approved. . . .

Read the full column

Thursday’s subscriber insights: Africa’s renewables innovation gives it a chance to do green right

. . . . The West, with centuries of industrialization, kicked off the climate crisis. Now, mostly, it is among the best at curbing pollution and investing in renewables. The now and future problem: the developing world. A look at the situation in India and Africa, the former now a major polluter and the latter a possible problem in the future. Read more here. . . .

. . . . The European Commission Wednesday adopted a new series of technical disclosure standards tied to companies who offer sustainable financial products. The new rules, which take effect Jan. 1, are the latest to hit banks and asset managers, following similar rules proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week. . . .

. . . . Cheap and cheerful — and kind of surprising. Honda, long a fiercely independent operator, is teaming up with GM to produce cheaper EVs. At present, EVs, such as from Tesla, are out of reach of many motorists. This deal might go a long way to solving that. Read more here. . . .

. . . . Pinterest (PINS) said this week it will ban climate misinformation from its platform, claiming it’s the first big social media platform to do so. Pinterest has been a leader in fighting healthcare misinformation. It said it’s decided to act after noticing an increase in reader searchers for more green living information. Its move could cause other social media giants to consider how they might also join the act. . . .

. . . . Despite its considerable success with renewables, particularly wind, it turns out that Germany, like the U.S., is plagued with layers of regulation that can delay installations. Now it appears the Ukraine war, which has highlighted Germany’s dependence on Russian natural gas, might slim down the permitting. Could the U.S. learn any lessons? Read more here. . . .

. . . . A couple of days ago we reported that prized French wines were being hit by seesawing winter and spring temperatures. Another victim of the climate craziness is maple syrup. Sometimes unstable temperatures lead to less production of the sweet treat; sometimes it even makes the pancake topper less sweet. Read more here. . . .

Editor’s picks: NextEra subsidiary pleads in eagle deaths; EPA set to ban asbestos

Wind company pleads guilty to killing 150 eagles in U.S.

NextEra Energy (NEE) subsidiary ESI Energy has been sentenced to probation and will pay more than $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed at its wind farms in eight states, the Associated Press reports. Citing federal prosecutors, the report said that in addition to those deaths, “the company acknowledged the deaths of golden and bald eagles at 50 wind farms affiliated with ESI and NextEra since 2012, prosecutors said. Birds were killed in eight states: Wyoming, California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Illinois.” Almost all of the eagles killed at the NextEra subsidiary’s facilities were struck by the blades of wind turbines, prosecutors said.

EPA rule would ban asbestos – finally

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that would end the use of asbestos, a carcinogen that is in some imported vehicle products and is used to manufacture chlorine bleach and sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda. The proposed rule would ban chrysotile asbestos, the only known form of asbestos that’s currently imported into the U.S., which is found in products like asbestos diaphragms, sheet gaskets, brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes/linings, other vehicle friction products, and other gaskets also imported into the U.S. The Associated Press reports the EPA attempted to ban asbestos in 1989, but the rule was largely overturned by a 1991 court decision that weakened EPA’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to address risks to human health from asbestos or other existing chemicals. Use of asbestos in the U.S. has been declining for decades, and its use is banned in over 50 countries.

Time to talk about climate change solutions

When it comes to climate change, “news organizations have gotten better at saying ‘it’s real,’ but seem less ready to tell people ‘there’s hope,’” John D. Sutter writes in an opinion piece for Nieman Reports. “After decades of recklessly presenting an issue of science as a two-sided political debate, mainstream news organizations have gotten better at saying it’s real and experts agree. … Likewise, following decades of reports from the IPCC warning of calamitous fires, droughts, and storms, we’re now adept at highlighting how bad things have gotten.” Sutter says many newsrooms just focus on what consumers should be doing to battle climate change, be it “driving electric cars or eating less beef.” He adds, however, “it’s hardly fair to dump this crisis on the shoulders of individual people when large corporations and governments are profiting from it. Solutions to the climate crisis must be measured by how far and how fast they take the world toward net-zero emissions. That will require an overhaul of the world’s economy.”

Eat your veggies: Ag is critical to the health of the planet

The development of agriculture is directly linked with the growth of human civilizations and the general improvement of global health, but the world is seeing more nutrition-related chronic diseases, say the authors of Growing Health — Why Agriculture is Vital to the Health of People and the Planet. Moreover, “notwithstanding major developments in practice, the expansion and intensification of agriculture has also had impacts on multiple environmental outcomes including greenhouse gas emissions, water availability and biodiversity.” The authors say in the abstract, “using data on global food supply we explore the association of four dominant food system types that supply diverse patterns of foods at the national level with nutrition-related disease burdens and environmental footprints. Our analysis demonstrates that while many countries with modern agricultural systems (typically in high income countries) have food system types associated with high disease burdens and environmental footprints, alternative food system types exist and could be the blueprint for transitions to sustainable and healthy futures.” Authors: Rosemary Green, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Department of Population Health; and Pauline Scheelbeek, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (Part of SSRN’s Preprints with The Lancet project)

Words to live by . . . .

“Climate change doesn’t discriminate, and everyone is at risk. April is Earth Month — I encourage all of us to think about the role we play in caring for our planet and protecting America’s lands and waters for the future generations.” — Deb Haaland, U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

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