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Climate tech joins the space race; plus, where Asia's ESG plays reside

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

Tucked away near the end of a Bank of America research note this week about how clean energy, battery power and other climate solutions will become the new yardsticks for global supremacy was an insight I hadn’t seen before — the idea of climate science joining the space race.

With China leading the way on things like electric vehicles and batteries, Europe on renewable energy, and the U.S. catching up on climate finance and international diplomacy, the idea of clean energy as both a defensive and offensive weapon is intriguing, if only for the potential investment opportunities it presents.

BAC’s head of global thematic research, Haim Israel, estimated that $100 billion in research and development will be made in climate solutions this century, with the market value of companies focused on them hitting some $6 trillion, according to Bloomberg.

But the idea that climate solutions will lead to next-generation satellite and telecommunications technology in space, which in turn creates new opportunities for spying, as well as for private space pioneers such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, adds to the theme that climate solutions are less about transition from fossil fuels than about the development of entirely new technologies for new uses.

Unfortunately, it also adds to the theme of geopolitical dominance and climate nationalism that makes the U.S.-China standoff all the more dangerous and threatens the potential for third-world countries most at risk. Our individual country responses to Covid are perhaps an early example of what is to come.

More insights below. . . .

Today’s insights: Big Oil’s push into European wind energy, and Thailand’s surprising sustainability

. . . . It was inevitable that when Big Oil decided to move into renewables in a real way, it would do so, well, big. The sale of wind leases off the coast of Britain this week is just an early example of what we can expect once companies sniff the profits now that the markets have begun to shift. One of them even went so far as to rebrand its famous name. Read more here. . . .

. . . . Of course, with oil prices touching $60 this week for the first time in more than a year, it could be a longer transition. But the push for renewables is proceeding apace, at least in the U.S., where a slew of new tax incentives were introduced in Congress. Read more here. . . .

. . . . S&P Global’s Sustainability Yearbook this week highlighted more 600 companies making progress in evolving EST metrics. You might be surprised where they come from, especially in Europe. Read more here. . . .

. . . . The surge in solar stocks and solar companies this year has investors looking for the big plays, and while the U.S. is strong in assembly, the components come from somewhere else. Read more here about the race in the polysilicon market to become the leader in solar. . . .

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