NYC Comptroller Lander and Trustees Announce $7 Billion Milestone in Climate Solutions Investment

Link: https://comptroller.nyc.gov/newsroom/nyc-comptroller-lander-and-trustees-announce-7-billion-milestone-in-climate-solutions-investment/

Excerpt:

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and trustees of the New York City Retirement Systems announced that investments in climate solutions have now reached more than $7 billion across all systems and asset classes as of the end of 2021, well exceeding the $4 billion goal set by three of the funds in 2018. These investments in companies that are helping to facilitate a just transition to a low carbon economy build on the $4 billion divestment by three of the five funds from companies that own fossil fuel reserves, which is expected to be completed later this year.

This milestone surpasses the goals set by the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), and Board of Education Retirement System (BERS), in 2018 to double their investments in climate solutions from $2 billion to $4 billion by 2022. In October 2021, the three Systems adopted a goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. As part of this commitment, the three Systems set a goal to reach a total of $37 billion in climate solutions investments by 2035, in line with a total of $50 billion across all five Systems by 2035.

The climate solutions in the New York City Retirement Systems’ portfolio includes investments in companies that derive a majority of their revenue from climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience activities, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and low-carbon buildings. Climate solutions investments in the Systems’ portfolios have grown consistently and greatly in the last several years, more than doubling in value since 2018.

Author: Brad Lander

Publication Date: 5 April 2022

Publication Site: NYC Comptroller’s Office

Deutsche Bank raided by authorities over ESG ‘greenwashing’ claims: ‘We’ve found evidence that that could support allegations of prospectus fraud’

Link: https://fortune.com/2022/05/31/deutsche-bank-dws-esg-greenwashing-raid-evidence-seized-whistleblower-fixler/

Excerpt:

German law enforcement officials raided the offices of Deutsche Bank on suspicion of the fraudulent advertising of sustainable investment funds at its DWS unit, dealing yet another setback to CEO Christian Sewing’s attempts to move on from years of corruption scandals.

The investigation revolves around allegations—leveled by a former DWS manager—that the retail money management business engaged in “greenwashing,” in which environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments are sold under false claims.

Roughly 50 officials from the Frankfurt public prosecutor, German securities regulator BaFin, and the federal criminal police office BKA were deployed to the headquarters of the two financial institutions to seize evidence on Tuesday.

“The allegations are that DWS has been advertising so-called ESG financial products for sale as being particularly green and sustainable when they actually weren’t,” a spokesman for the public prosecutor told Fortune, which has been looking into the claims since January. “In the course of our investigations we’ve found evidence that could support allegations of prospectus fraud.”

Author(s): CHRISTIAAN HETZNER

Publication Date: 31 May 2022

Publication Site: Fortune

Pensions watchdog warns about climate risk in rebuke of HSBC banker who downplayed danger

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-pensions-regulator-says-pension-schemes-should-not-ignore-climate-change-2022-05-23/

Excerpt:

UK pension schemes should not ignore climate change, a senior executive at The Pensions Regulator said on Monday, the first watchdog to weigh in after a top HSBC banker was suspended after playing down the financial risks of climate change.

Regulators across the world have been putting pressure on the financial services industry to take climate change into account when calculating risks to their business models.

Stuart Kirk, a senior HSBC banker in charge of sustainable investments, had said at an industry event last week that central bank policymakers and other global authorities were exaggerating the financial risks of climate change. read more

The bank has since suspended him pending an internal investigation, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Publication Date: 23 May 2022

Publication Site: Reuters

A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011

Link: https://static.berkeleyearth.org/papers/Results-Paper-Berkeley-Earth.pdf

Graphic:

Abstract:

We report an estimate of the Earth’s average land surface temperature for the period 1753 to 2011. To address issues of potential station selection bias, we used a larger sampling of stations than had prior studies. For the period post 1880, our estimate is similar to those previously reported by other groups,
although we report smaller uncertainties. The land temperature rise from the 1950s decade to the 2000s decade is 0.90 ± 0.05°C (95% confidence). Both maximum and minimum temperatures have increased during the last century. Diurnal variations decreased from 1900 to 1987 and then increased; this increase is significant but not understood. The period of 1753 to 1850 is marked by sudden drops in land surface temperature that are coincident with known volcanism; the response function is approximately
1.5 ± 0.5°C per 100 Tg of atmospheric sulfate. This volcanism, combined with a simple proxy for anthropogenic effects (logarithm of the CO2 addition of a solar forcing term. Thus, for this very simple model, solar forcing does not appear to contribute to the observed global warming of the past 250 years; the entire change can be modeled by a sum of volcanism and a single anthropogenic proxy. The residual variations include interannual and multi-decadal variability very similar to that of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).


Keywords: Global warming; Kriging; Atlantic multidecadal oscillation;
Amo; Volcanism; Climate change; Earth surface temperature; Diurnal
variability

Author(s):

Robert Rohde1
, Richard A. Muller1,2,3
*, Robert Jacobsen2,3
,
Elizabeth Muller1
, Saul Perlmutter2,3
, Arthur Rosenfeld2,3
,
Jonathan Wurtele2,3
, Donald Groom3
and Charlotte Wickham4

Citation:

Rohde et al., Geoinfor Geostat: An Overview 2013, 1:1
http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2327-4581.1000101

Publication Date: 2013

Publication Site: Geoinformatics & Geostatistics: An Overview

The Berkeley Earth Land/Ocean Temperature Record

Link: https://essd.copernicus.org/articles/12/3469/2020/essd-12-3469-2020.html

Graphic:

Abstract:

A global land–ocean temperature record has been created by combining the Berkeley Earth monthly land temperature field with spatially kriged version of the HadSST3 dataset. This combined product spans the period from 1850 to present and covers the majority of the Earth’s surface: approximately 57 % in 1850, 75 % in 1880, 95 % in 1960, and 99.9 % by 2015. It includes average temperatures in 1∘×1∘ lat–long grid cells for each month when available. It provides a global mean temperature record quite similar to records from Hadley’s HadCRUT4, NASA’s GISTEMP, NOAA’s GlobalTemp, and Cowtan and Way and provides a spatially complete and homogeneous temperature field. Two versions of the record are provided, treating areas with sea ice cover as either air temperature over sea ice or sea surface temperature under sea ice, the former being preferred for most applications. The choice of how to assess the temperature of areas with sea ice coverage has a notable impact on global anomalies over past decades due to rapid warming of air temperatures in the Arctic. Accounting for rapid warming of Arctic air suggests ∼ 0.1 C additional global-average temperature rise since the 19th century than temperature series that do not capture the changes in the Arctic. Updated versions of this dataset will be presented each month at the Berkeley Earth website (http://berkeleyearth.org/data/, last access: November 2020), and a convenience copy of the version discussed in this paper has been archived and is freely available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3634713 (Rohde and Hausfather, 2020).

Author(s): Robert A. Rohde1 and Zeke Hausfather1,2

Citation:
Rohde, R. A. and Hausfather, Z.: The Berkeley Earth Land/Ocean Temperature Record, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 3469–3479, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-12-3469-2020, 2020.

Publication Date: 17 Dec 2020

Publication Site: Earth System Science Data

Recent Trends in Heat-Related Mortality in the United States: An Update through 2018

Link: https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/wcas/13/1/wcas-d-20-0083.1.xml

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-20-0083.1

Graphic:

Abstract:

Much research has shown a general decrease in the negative health response to extreme heat events in recent decades. With a society that is growing older, and a climate that is warming, whether this trend can continue is an open question. Using eight additional years of mortality data, we extend our previous research to explore trends in heat-related mortality across the United States. For the period 1975–2018, we examined the mortality associated with extreme-heat-event days across the 107 largest metropolitan areas. Mortality response was assessed over a cumulative 10-day lag period following events that were defined using thresholds of the excess heat factor, using a distributed-lag nonlinear model. We analyzed total mortality and subsets of age and sex. Our results show that in the past decade there is heterogeneity in the trends of heat-related human mortality. The decrease in heat vulnerability continues among those 65 and older across most of the country, which may be associated with improved messaging and increased awareness. These decreases are offset in many locations by an increase in mortality among men 45–64 (+1.3 deaths per year), particularly across parts of the southern and southwestern United States. As heat-warning messaging broadly identifies the elderly as the most vulnerable group, the results here suggest that differences in risk perception may play a role. Further, an increase in the number of heat events over the past decade across the United States may have contributed to the end of a decades-long downward trend in the estimated number of heat-related fatalities.

Author(s): Scott C. Sheridan1, P. Grady Dixon2, Adam J. Kalkstein3, and Michael J. Allen4

Publication Date: Published-online: 14 Dec 2020

Print Publication: 01 Jan 2021

Publication Site: Weather, Climate, and Society

R Street Institute Testifies Before Senate Banking Committee on National Flood Insurance Program

Link: https://www.rstreet.org/2022/06/16/r-street-institute-testifies-before-senate-banking-committee-on-national-flood-insurance-program/

Video:

Additional link: https://www.rstreet.org/2022/06/16/five-solutions-to-help-fix-the-national-flood-insurance-program-from-r-street-testimony-to-the-u-s-senate-banking-housing-and-urban-affairs-committee/

Excerpt:

Regarding the second objective, there is no equitable sharing of costs between the public and private sectors. The private sector is only peripherally involved in bearing flood risk. The involvement of the private insurance sector is restricted to administration of the program, for which insurers are remunerated by the NFIP. The participation of private insurers in flood insurance as a risk-bearer is de minimis, writing less than a tenth the premium collected by the NFIP.

Instead of attaining the overarching goal of reducing economic losses caused by flooding, flood-
related economic losses have increased. In the past decade, U.S. economic losses caused by flooding were $943 billion, close to five times more than the $211 billion cumulative flood-related losses in the prior decade. In this testimony, we highlight five issues standing in the way of the NFIP falling short of achieving its mission, and propose solutions to remedy those problem areas.

Author(s): Jerry Theodorou

Publication Date: 16 June 2022

Publication Site: R Street Institute

I Finance The Current Thing

Link: https://allenfarrington.medium.com/i-finance-the-current-thing-7ea204230315

Excerpt:

Passive investing is most often celebrated as a marvel of risk/reward packaging for the retail investor, who surely doesn’t have the time or energy to do the job of a professional capital allocator. It’s a fair assumption that they have their own job doing something productive in the real economy. Is this arrangement worth sacrificing? Would sacrificing it be ESG-friendly? Yes, absolutely it would, but we will return to this further down.

Passive investing relies on the notion of an index, or, a numerical weighting of every publicly listed company in a given geography, above a certain size, etc. which is determined by relative size and expressed as a percentage of the whole. If the value of all shares outstanding multiplied by their current market price (or, “market capitalization”) of Company A is 1% of the total of all the companies in an index, then it makes up 1% of that index, and its shares are 1% of those held by a passive investment instrument.

The existence of indices is the bane of the lived experience of investment professionals who take Schumpeter a little more seriously and do not allocate by algorithm but by analysis of business fundamentals. “Performance” is measured relative to an index, on the understandable but perverse realization that index investing, which relies only on an algorithm, is much cheaper for the client. If your non-passive (or “active”) manager returned you 50%, you might think that is fantastic, but if the index went up 60% then you paid for nothing. In fact, technically they underperformed by 10%. No performance fees — even on 50%! — and probably also fired.

….

When SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce voiced the lone dissent against the inclusion of “climate risks” in company prospectuses recently, her argument was basically my own above: these are risks. Although the concept is incredibly technically involved, real investors know how to deal with risks and do not need to be condescended to about which deserve their attention more than others. “We are not the securities and environment commission,” Peirce warned, adding, “at least not yet.” Quite right. I would hope not ever if the rule of law is to be taken seriously, and exactly this kind of regulatory capture via backdoor-compliance enforcement of virtue signaling is to stop.

But could we probe deeper still? ESG is an attack vector, but what is the attack surface? Without intending to be flippant, I think it is centralization. Capital markets are centralized institutions and they are being attacked. So far, so bleak. Can we do anything about it? And what was that Thiel talk actually about, again?

Author(s): Allen Farrington

Publication Date: 21 April 2022

Publication Site: Medium

To Ease Pain at the Pump, Help People Avoid the Pump

Link: https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/ease-pain-pump-help-people-avoid-pump

Graphic:

Excerpt:

I scanned and inventoried the policies proposed or implemented at the state level according to publicly available information in media outlets and found that bills to suspend gas taxes have been introduced in at least 20 states and bills to provide residents with tax rebates, credits, or stimulus payments have been introduced in at least 16 states. At least three states—California, Connecticut, and Hawaii—are considering policy solutions that offer alternatives to driving.

California’s governor is proposing, among other things, to make public transit free for three months and to make additional investments in pedestrian and biking infrastructure. Connecticut passed a bill that suspends public bus fares for as long as their excise tax on gas is suspended. And Hawaii’s legislators are proposing subsidizing nonmotorized vehicles.

Connecticut (part of the same bill that suspended bus fares), Georgia Florida and Maryland have already approved gas tax suspension policies, and Delaware Idaho Illinois , and New Mexico have approved policies that provide tax rebates or credits.

Author(s): Jorge González-Hermoso

Publication Date: 18 April 2022

Publication Site: Urban Institute

Here’s Why Cutting Gas Taxes Doesn’t Work When Prices Soar

Link: https://www.governing.com/now/heres-why-cutting-gas-taxes-doesnt-work-when-prices-soar

Graphic:

Excerpt:

A new report from the Urban Institute catalogs state-level responses and finds that 20 different states have introduced legislation to suspend gas taxes, which are often used to fund infrastructure projects. (Florida, Georgia, and Maryland have already passed gas tax holidays.) There are 16 states considering legislation to provide payments to residents — in the form of tax rebates, credits or stimulus checks — to counteract pain at the pump. Only three are considering changes to help people avoid driving: California, Connecticut, and Hawaii.

“Of the three main categories of policy solutions we could be considering, cutting gas taxes is the worst,” says Jorge González-Hermoso, research associate with the Urban Institute. “It’s very popular, it will get you headlines, but it only creates a simulation that the government is providing a solution.”

González-Hermoso says the problems with gas tax holidays start with the premise that they help consumers. The average gas tax across all states, he reports, is 31 cents a gallon or 7.75 percent of the average price. By one estimate, a driver would have to use 20 gallons of gas a week to save just $30 over the course of Maryland’s one-month holiday. There is no guarantee that station owners wouldn’t pocket the difference, and keep prices roughly the same.

In addition to being ineffective, this policy imperils future infrastructure projects. State and local gas taxes comprise 26 percent of highway spending and often contribute to mass transit as well. They also have the disadvantage of incentivizing driving, as residents in nearby jurisdictions try to take advantage and local consumers know relief is contingent upon buying gas.

Author(s): Jake Blumgart

Publication Date: 26 Apr 2022

Publication Site: Governing

5 Commodities That Could Explode As The Ukraine Crisis Escalates

Link: https://oilprice.com/Metals/Commodities/5-Commodities-That-Could-Explode-As-The-Ukraine-Crisis-Escalates.html

Graphic:

Excerpt:

#4. Copper USGS data shows that Russia produced 920,000 tonnes of refined copper in 2021, about 3.5% of the world total, out of which Nornickel produced 406,841 tonnes.

UMMC and Russian Copper Company are the other two major producers, with Asia and Europe being Russia’s key export markets.

Prices of green metals, including copper, are projected to reach historical peaks for an unprecedented, sustained period in a net-zero emissions scenario. Copper prices are sitting at all-time highs thanks to surging demand, especially in developed countries, with increasing usage in electric vehicles and wind farms, solar panels and the power grid, combined with tight supply. 

Benchmark copper prices on the London Metal Exchange are currently sitting at $10,100 per ton, not far removed from its May 2021 all-time high of 10,724.50 per ton. 

Copper is being billed as the new oil, with the ‘green’ shift in the post-COVID economy supporting higher demand for copper and other base metals since EVs use about 4x more copper than gasoline-powered vehicles. The International Copper Association estimates that the rapid rise of EVs will raise copper demand in EVs from 185,000 tonnes in 2017 to 1.74 million tonnes by 2027.

Author(s): Alex Kimani

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2022

Publication Site: OilPrice.com

Influential fund manager Green Century tells insurers to drop Big Oil

Link: https://www.marketwatch.com/amp/story/influential-fund-manager-green-century-tells-big-insurers-to-drop-big-oil-11645049047?twclid=11498308136175906819

Excerpt:

Green Century Capital Management tried to use shareholder muscle to persuade at least a trio of insurance companies to drop fossil-fuel clients.

So far, the insurance firms aren’t biting; all three have filed no-action requests with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The resolutions, in advance of proxy season this spring, call on Chubb CB Travelers TRV and The Hartford HIG to take this bold step as private-sector efforts to curb global warming from the burning of coal, oil CL00 and gas NG00 pick up, alongside global government action.

The insurance resolutions represent the first time that shareholders have laid down this sizable challenge to this industry for what the activists say are its contributions to the climate crisis

Author(s): Rachel Koning Beals

Publication Date: 17 Feb 2022

Publication Site: MarketWatch