Hong Kong raises ESG flag, SEC bares climate teeth, and a groundhog's comeuppance

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

With all due respect to Punxsutawney Phil, spring has sprung in the American South and Southwest. The Pennsylvania groundhog saw his shadow three weeks ago today, predicting six more weeks of winter. But according to the National Phenology Network today, spring hit parts of this region, even in Texas, more than 20 days ago.

After last week’s tragic cold disaster in Texas, it may be hard to believe. But temperatures in Austin were 82°F. today. Almost 80°F. in Houston. In Beijing they hit 78°F., 10 degrees past the record. Yesterday, outside of San Francisco, they hit 81°F. The cherry blossoms in my neighbor’s yard are already out, a month early. Anyone expecting the dangerous and disastrous weather patterns of the past two years around the world to give way in 2021 must be living in a groundhog hole.

Speaking of Beijing, don’t miss my ZEUS column this week on Hong Kong financial publisher Elsa Pau’s new campaign to add more transparency to ESG metrics, ahead of what she sees as a booming business in China in the next decade. And in our Insights section, breaking news from the SEC on climate disclosures, and why this coming proxy season will see a record number of climate resolutions.

More insights below. . . .

ZEUS: Hong Kong’s ESG plan, a talk with Elsa Pau

. . . . Hong Kong financial publisher Elsa Pau isn’t very bullish on the city’s own progress in re-creating itself for a green future. But she is significantly excited enough about China’s potential to cut its emissions and the prospects for environmental, social and governance funds in general to start a new fintech portal to add more transparency to a booming but opaque industry, writes David Callaway. Plus, why she gets a headache every time Larry Fink speaks. . . .

Read the full ZEUS column

Today’s insights: Climate resolutions set for record this proxy season

. . . . Annual (climate) meeting season is almost upon us, and early results show another record number of climate resolutions will be filed by investors. Read more about the topics to be put to a vote at annual general meetings, including calls for emissions limits, pollution reports and “climate audits.”

. . . . While power outages in Texas garnered most of the national attention last week, residents in West Virginia were also hit hard amid icy blackouts. Could “smart circuit” energy innovations help stabilize the state’s power grid and save a few bucks for tree trimming and management? Read the full insight here. . . .

. . . . The Securities and Exchange Commission showed its climate teeth today, as acting chair Allison Herren Lee authorized it to review a decade of climate disclosures by public companies. What’s in store for the next set of SEC disclosure guidelines? Read the full insight here. . . .

. . . . Annapolis, Md. is suing 26 corporations, including ExxonMobil (XOM), Shell (RDS.A), BP (BP) and Chevron (CVX), for failing to warn officials about the dangers posed by human-induced global warming. Read more on this, and how another Maryland community plans to become the nation’s biggest operator of electric school buses. . . .

Read all of today’s insights

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