Sense and Sustainability - July 2022

Facing the heat

As Britain endured its highest ever summer temperatures and Europe suffered record fire damage, the climate apocalypse we’ve been warned about for decades seemed to become reality, with chart-busting temperatures in America’s north-east and three other continents. Met Office chief scientist Professor Stephen Belcher said UK temperatures could reach 40°C as often as every three years by the end of the century. Britain began planning for drought, while Seville became the world’s first city to name and classify heatwaves in an effort to protect the public. As we were sweating in the sun, net zero was said to have slumped to the bottom of Conservative Party members’ priority list and a damning report from Britain’s Climate Change Committee suggested that ministers could renege on their greenhouse gas emissions commitment.

GIVEN A ROASTING

ESG investing was made to swelter, with pressure growing on regulators to scrutinise ESG data amid rising criticism of ‘greenwashing’ and America’s Securities & Exchange Commission unveiling plans to regulate funds in the sector. Government proposals to revoke EU financial services regulation and replace it with rules ‘designed for the UK’ were said to present a ‘unique opportunity for Britain to lead the ESG race’. Banks HSBC and Coutts, insurer Legal & General and the Coal Pensions Board pressured supermarkets group Sainsbury’s to pay all its workers Britain’s living wage of £9.90 an hour.

FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS

London’s transport authority launched a tender to buy £200m of renewable electricity in an attempt to decarbonise the city’s 150-year-old underground railway network, while the Crown Estate said floating windfarms could be hosted off Cornwall and Wales. As a BP report revealed that global energy consumption topped pre-pandemic levels in 2021, Munich-based JOLT Energy unveiled plans for 5,000 ultra-fast charging stations across Europe and the US by 2027 in partnership with ADS-TEC Energy. Los Angeles said it may become the world’s largest city to ban new gas stations to help combat the climate emergency. In China, new figures showed that solar power installations more than doubled in the first half of this year. At the capital markets day of Edison client Itaconix, CEO John Shaw and his team explained why everyday objects must be decarbonised. In the emerging hydrogen economy, here are seven things every investor needs to know about Edison clients Provaris Energy and three more pivotal points about Loop Energy.

SAVING NATURE

As campaigners stepped up efforts to save more than 1,000 hectares of koala habitat threatened by a proposed Queensland coalmine, Australia set its sights on clean energy jobs created by the climate emergency. And for $3,000 a pop, you can save a cow or two with mushroom leather bags favoured by celebrities including Stella McCartney.

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