December

How Climate Finance Flows Around The World | Carbon Brief

This diagram shows the average yearly amount of climate finance given by each OECD country on average in 2015 and 2016, and where that money went.

Donor countries are listed down the left-hand side of the diagram. The right-hand side shows the amounts which flowed to recipient countries or regions.

Will a 1.5 degrees target trigger a death spiral for oil and gas companies? | Renew Economy

“It is therefore important to think realistically about how such transitions occur and how society and the market will manage this one. Separately – and it is a quite separate issue – we also need to ask if there is a realistic likelihood of today’s oil and gas companies transitioning as corporate entities. Do they have a future? Or will they just fail – as incumbents most often do when faced with such dramatic market change?”

More Than 100 Years of Climate Change in 20 Seconds | ScienceAF

The data in the video above goes back to 1880, when we began collecting temperature records - culminating at today's 6,300 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations, and Antarctic research stations. 

Until around the 1970s, you can see that the temperature fluctuates much like you'd expect, with the oranges and reds reflecting warmer temperatures, and the blues showing cooler years.

But from the 1980s onwards, there's very little blue left on the globe, and it's slowly covered in orange, yellow, and red, taking us right through to 2016.

The reference thermometer you can see in the top left-hand corner reflects the temperature difference (in degrees Celsius) between each year, and the mid-20th century mean - the '0' on the scale. More

BHP releases Industry association review

BHP today published a report relating to its membership of industry associations which hold an active position on climate and energy policy.  The report, which BHP committed to produce on 18 September 2017, sets out:

  • a list of the material differences between the positions BHP holds on climate and energy policy and the advocacy positions on climate and energy policy taken by industry associations to which BHP belongs; and
  • the outcomes of BHP’s current review of those industry associations.

Twenty-one industry associations were assessed as holding an active position on climate and energy policy, and were included within the scope of the review. The review focused on 10 climate and energy policies identified as being of key importance to BHP, with seven material differences in position identified across three associations:

  • The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)
  • The United States Chamber of Commerce;
  • The World Coal Association (WCA).

The report sets out the principles which guide the Company’s membership of, and participation in, industry associations, and the methodology employed to identify material differences. It also describes considerations and possible courses of action for BHP where a material difference is identified. Considerations include the likely impact of the material difference on policy debate and the benefits BHP derives from the broader activities of the association, including in areas such as health, safety and environment.

Read more or download the report.

Cashing Out From the Climate Casino | New York Times

After years of effort from activists, there are signs that the world’s financial community is finally rousing itself in the fight against global warming. A foretaste came last month when Norway’s sovereign wealth fund — the world’s biggest — said that it is considering divestment from holdings in fossil fuel companies.  Read more

Climate change and human rights on ACSI’s radar | Governance Institute

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The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) recently released Governance Guidelines providing insights for the first time on how large investors expect climate change and human rights issues to be managed.

ACSI’s Governance Guidelines are updated every two years and outline its members’ expectations of the governance practices of the companies they invest in.

This year, a new chapter on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues has been added, which covers climate change, labour and human rights, corporate culture and tax disclosure.

When it comes to climate change, ACSI expects to understand whether a company can:

  • successfully identify and manage the climate change risks and opportunities it faces
  • demonstrate future viability and resilience by testing business strategies against a range of plausible but divergent climate futures, including a 2°C scenario
  • achieve cost savings through efficiencies and identify low carbon opportunities.

Where companies identify climate change risks as material, ACSI says disclosures should extend to discussing the strategy, as well as metrics and targets, used to manage the risk.

Download the press release or read the full article.

AGL announces plans for Liddell Power Station

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AGL has outlined plans for Liddell Power Station beyond its announced retirement in 2022.

 

The NSW Generation Plan proposes a mix of high-efficiency gas peakers, renewables, battery storage and demand response, coupled with an efficiency upgrade at Bayswater Power Station and conversion of generators at Liddell into synchronous condensers. The feasibility of a pumped hydro project in the Hunter region is being explored with the NSW Government. Details of the plan, which was developed to align with the National Energy Guarantee, are attached.

Land clearing and Climate Change | The Saturday Paper

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There are lies, damned lies and Turnbull government statistics about Australia’s contribution to global climate change.  Take, for example, the figures it provides on greenhouse gas emissions resulting from land clearing. If you believe them, the cutting and burning of native vegetation by farmers and other landholders resulted in 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being added to the air in 2015-16.

In the same year that the federal government claimed 1.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions for the whole country, Queensland – the state that has both the nation’s worst record for land clearing and the best system for recording it – claimed by itself to have contributed some 26 times that amount.

In 2015-16, recently released data from the Queensland government’s Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) shows, 395,000 hectares of land was cleared, producing 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

If you believe the federal government, nationwide carbon pollution from land clearing was down 13 per cent that year, compared with 2014-15. Yet the SLATS numbers show the amount of land cleared in Queensland was up 30 per cent, year on year.

The federal figures show CO2 emissions from land clearing are down about 90 per cent since 2012-13. Yet the SLATS data shows the area of land cleared annually in Queensland has gone up fourfold over the same period. In total, some 1.5 million hectares – an area rather larger than Northern Ireland – was cleared over the five years to 2015-16. And that was just in Queensland.

More

Transportation is the Biggest Source of U.S. Emissions | Climate Central

The busiest travel day of the year brings a renewed focus on transportation, and for the first time since the 1970s, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from transportation have eclipsed emissions from electricity generation as the top source of greenhouse gases.

The change comes as U.S. electricity generation relies less on coal and more on renewables and natural gas (a less carbon-intensive fossil fuel). Transportation emissions have also declined from a peak in 2008 due to steadily improving fuel economies, although there has been a small uptick recently as a result of a drop in gas prices. The projected growth in electric vehicles suggests decreases in CO2 transportation emissions are on the horizon. Even when accounting for how electricity is generated, an electric vehicle emits less carbon dioxide than a comparable gasoline car in a majority of U.S. states. More

A world in transformation: World Energy Outlook 2017 | IEA

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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

ASX top 20 companies for climate change reporting in 2017 | Renew Economy

In this note RE briefly looked at the top 20 companies by market capitalisation listed on the ASX to see what they actually said in their latest annual report. Mostly this is 2017 but in some cases it's still 2016. Each company was rated out of 5 on disclosure.  

Climate and energy – appeasement does not work | Renew Economy

The current chaos around climate and energy policy brings to mind George Santayana’s caution that: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. That is exactly what we are witnessing, albeit with far more profound implications even than the advent of the Second World War.  More