"Climate change is not some distant threat. It is a global tragedy unfolding before our eyes, disrupting ecosystems, communities and economies. For companies, investors and financiers the risks and opportunities are immediate and pressing. The expectations of markets and policymakers on emissions reduction targets and adaptation measures are ramping up. Customers, shareholders and regulators demand increasingly sophisticated responses. If Australian businesses and company directors fail to react urgently and coherently, then they will jeopardise their own future: assets will be stranded or uninsurable, investment will stall, debts will go unpaid, and companies will collapse.” Download the full report here
THIS summer has exposed yet another aspect of the fragility of our traditional electricity
grid, with several failures in local distribution networks—the so-called ‘poles and wires’. As former ATA staffer Craig Memery has reminded us in a recent article (www.bit.ly/2HSHTao), the vast majority of power failures—97.2% on Craig’s figures—happen within local networks, with just 0.24% from insufficient generation.
Once again we face a choice between propping up traditional over-built
electricity supply infrastructure or driving transformation. The first involves inefficient capital investment in power lines and equipment capacity used for just a few hours a year; the second involves innovation with confusing options and other risks.
The action plan on sustainable finance adopted by the European Commission in March 2018 has 3 main objectives:
- reorient capital flows towards sustainable investment, in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth
- manage financial risks stemming from climate change, environmental degradation and social issues
- foster transparency and long-termism in financial and economic activity
Likelihood and impact of global risks. In the top right quadrant, seven out of eight risks are climate change related. Is it time for drastic action or shall we kick the can a little further down the road?
Each year the Global Risks Report works with experts and decision-makers across the world to identify and analyze the most pressing risks that we face. As the pace of change accelerates, and as risk interconnections deepen, this year’s report highlights the growing strain we are placing on many of the global systems we rely on. Read more or download the full report here
Studies show that companies that take steps to operate more sustainably outperform their peers in terms of shareholder return. In a recent study from the Henley Business School, researchers examined the relationship between carbon emission disclosures and financial performance for UK companies. They found that the mere act of disclosure results in improved share price performance, and that there is “a significant positive relation between corporate carbon disclosure and corporate financial performance”.
In another study, Harvard researchers examined the future financial impact of material and immaterial sustainability investments. Using SASB’s framework for materiality, they were able to determine that firms with strong ratings on material sustainability issues outperform their peers with inferior ratings. Specifically, they found that top performers achieved an estimated annualized alpha of positive 4.83%, while firms that made no investments had an estimated annualized alpha of negative 2.20%.
In October, Boston Consulting Group released a report that agreed – “investors rewarded top performers in specific ESG topics with valuation multiples that were 3% to 19% higher… than median performers”. In addition, they found that top performers had margins that were up to 12.4% higher. It is irrelevant whether this is due to correlation (executive teams that understand the need for sustainable business operations are better managers overall), or causation (because of their superior sustainability efforts, these executives are creating brand value and customer allegiance that enables them to financially outperform); there is credible evidence that sustainability disclosure can help investors make better decisions.
Lazard has conducted this study comparing the levelized cost of energy for various conventional and Alternative Energy generation technologies in order to understand which Alternative Energy generation technologies may be cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies, either now or in the future, and under various operating assumptions, as well as to understand which technologies are best suited for various applications based on locational requirements, dispatch characteristics and other factors. We find that Alternative Energy technologies are complementary to conventional generation technologies, and believe that their use will be increasingly prevalent for a variety of reasons, including RPS requirements, carbon regulations, continually improving economics as underlying technologies improve and production volumes increase, and government subsidies in certain regions.
Download the full report here
In 2017, China has continued to be the world’s dominant force in the building and financing of clean energy technology globally. Indications are that renewable energy will dominate global power capacity additions for at least the next two decades. China is preparing now to lead this new energy world. The withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement along with an increased U.S. government emphasis on coal and away from renewables is at odds with the direction being taken by China.
"The clean energy market is growing at a rapid pace and China is setting itself up as a global technology leader whilst the U.S. government looks the other way,” Buckley said. Although China isn’t necessarily intending to fill the climate leadership void left by the U.S. withdrawal from Paris, it will certainly be very comfortable providing technology leadership and financial capacity so as to dominate fast-growing sectors such as solar energy, electric vehicles and batteries.
Download the full report here.
The resurgence in oil and gas production from the United States, deep declines in the cost of renewables and growing electrification are changing the face of the global energy system and upending traditional ways of meeting energy demand, according to the World Energy Outlook 2017. A cleaner and more diversified energy mix in China is another major driver of this transformation.
Over the next 25 years, the world’s growing energy needs are met first by renewables and natural gas, as fast-declining costs turn solar power into the cheapest source of new electricity generation. Global energy demand is 30% higher by 2040 – but still half as much as it would have been without efficiency improvements. The boom years for coal are over — in the absence of large-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) — and rising oil demand slows down but is not reversed before 2040 even as electric-car sales rise steeply.
WEO-2017, the International Energy Agency’s flagship publication, finds that over the next two decades the global energy system is being reshaped by four major forces: the United States is set to become the undisputed global oil and gas leader; renewables are being deployed rapidly thanks to falling costs; the share of electricity in the energy mix is growing; and China’s new economic strategy takes it on a cleaner growth mode, with implications for global energy markets. More
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) held a two-day conference in collaboration with the Bank of England (BoE) discussing scenario analysis and how it can help companies assess climate risks in their strategic planning and risk management processes.
Day 1 provided a high-level overview of the TCFD recommendations with regard to the use of scenario analysis; what scenario analysis is and why it is useful for assessing climate-related risks; how climate-related scenario analysis works in practice today – who is using it; experiences; and available tools. Day 1 is was hosted by the FSB TCFD and was open to press.
Day 2 brought together business practitioners, leading researchers from academia, and finance professionals to discuss in more detail how climate-related scenarios can be used for strategic and financial risk analysis and how scenarios could be improved. The goal was to highlight successful approaches, and identify further work and collaboration needed in this area. Day 2 was hosted by the Bank of England and was held under Chatham House rules.
Stakeholder presentations, videos and photo gallery plus introductions can be found here.
IEEFA's latest report entails a comprehensive analysis of India’s electricity sector transformation with a focus on the coming decade.
The report presents a sectoral model out to FY2027 that predicts dramatic market share gain by renewable energy with a sustained deflation in renewable tariffs, premised on 50% reduction already in last two years with a record low solar energy tariff of Rs2.44/kWh (US$38/MWh) in 2017.
With record low renewable tariffs of US$18 and US$21/MWh set in Mexico and Chile respectively this past week, further Indian cost reductions are set to continue. This translates into likely peak power sector coal usage not more than 10% above the current levels by FY2027, subsequently, import thermal coal demand in India will continue to decline as a result.
A combination of India’s ambitious energy policy and ongoing solar and wind energy tariff deflation will enable India to catalyse US$200-300Bn of investment in renewable energy infrastructure over the coming decade. Improvements in energy efficiency and reduction in technical and commercial losses will deliver better electricity production per coal tonnage. To conclude, the transformation will ensure India can support its economic growth while keeping GHG emissions in check.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800 000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent.
Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event. Concentrations of CO2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
Rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the potential to initiate unprecedented changes in climate systems, leading to “severe ecological and economic disruptions,” said the report.
CDP, the world’s largest environmental disclosure platform, has just published its annual scores and analysis of how the biggest companies globally are responding to climate change.
Last year, they found many big companies failing to meet Paris Agreement goals. This year, companies are moving faster:
- 89% of world’s biggest, most environmentally-impactful companies now have carbon emissions targets, with a fifth planning low-carbon into their futures to 2030 and beyond.
- 14% of 1,000+ sample are committed to aligning their targets with climate science, a 5% increase since last year. An additional 300+ companies (30%) plan to set science-based targets within two years.
- Companies are closing the emissions gap, with current targets taking the sample 31% of the way to a 2-degree world, up from 25% in 2016.
- The CDP A List names 159 leading corporates recognised as pioneers taking action on climate change, water and deforestation in 2017. Unilever and L'Oréal lead the way with A’s across all three areas.
Fourteen per cent of a sample of 1,073 responding companies have future-proofed their growth by committing to set science-based targets via the Science Based Targets initiative. 31 Australian companies responded, only 1 (3%) got A list ranking for climate change.
Climate Change made Australia’s warmest winter on record an astounding 60 times more likely, according to this latest report by the Climate Council.
The “Hot & Dry: Australia’s Weird Winter,” report shows the nation experienced its warmest winter on record (for average maximum temperatures), while more than 260 heat and low rainfall recordswere also broken throughout the season.
Climate Councillor and ecologist, Professor Lesley Hughes said Australia’s hottest winter in history was related to worsening climate change. “Without any meaningful action to tackle climate change, we will continue to see many more hot winters, just like this, as global temperatures rise,” she said. “We must take meaningful action to strongly reduce Australia’s emissions from fossil fuels."
Human-induced climate change is an existential risk to human civilisation, yet much climate research understates climate risks and provides conservative projections. Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that are crucial to climate policymaking and informing public narrative are characterised by scientific reticence, paying limited attention to lower-probability, high-risk events that are becoming increasingly likely.
The first responsibility of a government is to safeguard the people and their future well-being. The ability to do this is threatened by climate change, whose accelerating impacts will also drive political instability and conflict, posing large negative consequences to human society which may never be undone. This report looks at climate change and conflict issues through the lens of sensible risk-management to draw new conclusions about the challenge we now face.
For the first time a majority of global investor heavyweights recognise the financial risks of climate change, according to the results of a major global index rating how investors manage such risks.
But despite the advances, the Asset Owner Disclosure Project chairman, John Hewson, has warned there is still an “enormous resistance” to managing climate risk.
The AODP releases its fifth global index on Wednesday, ranking the world’s largest 500 asset owners and, for the first time, the 50 largest asset managers on their performance managing financial risks associated with climate change.
The risk of the controversial Adani Carmichael coalmine becoming a stranded asset has increased in the last 12 months, according to a new report. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), says the Carmichael project is likely to be “cash flow negative” for the majority its operating life, even with concessional loans. The IEEFA’s new report, Adani’s Remote Prospects, warns Adani Enterprises is not in a strong financial position.
It has thrown into doubt the wisdom of lending the project $1bn worth of taxpayers’ dollar through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
It comes a week after John Hewson, a former Liberal party leader, warned the Carmichael coalmine was already a “stranded asset” and the last thing the Turnbull government should be doing is lending Adani $1bn.