The case for raising up women in climate tech

April 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

The case for raising up women in climate tech Shana Rappaport Thu, 04/15/2021 – 01:30 Four years ago this week, Project Drawdown released groundbreaking research on climate solutions that catalyzed the narrative that reversing global warming is possible. To celebrate that anniversary and underscore what’s needed now, I’m spotlighting 15 women-led ventures at the heart of the climate-tech movement. After all, one of the most surprising conclusions from our work — disclaimer, I served on Project Drawdown’s founding board of directors — is that empowering women and girls represents the most impactful tool for achieving a climate-safe future . Yes, you read that correctly. Among the 80 solutions  evaluated for their potential to reverse global warming, educating girls and ensuring women have access to family planning resources ranked No. 6 and 7, respectively. By empowering women and girls globally, Project Drawdown calculated that we could avoid 120 billion tons of emissions by 2050. That’s equivalent to roughly 10 years’ worth of China’s annual emissions as of 2014 — an amount that far surpasses the 90 billion ton avoidance potential of Drawdown’s top-ranked solution, refrigerant management . The reasons are clear: Educated and empowered women generate a cascade of positive outcomes for society and the planet. They marry later, have fewer and healthier children and, when they start to earn more, tend to reinvest that money into their families and communities — 90 percent of their earnings, as Project Drawdown explains , compared to 30 to 40 percent for men. They also are more equipped with the vital skills to adapt and be resilient to climate change when disaster strikes, and to influence how their communities mitigate against it. From classrooms to boardrooms It got me thinking: Could we boost the carbon drawdown potential of clean technologies even further by supporting more women-led startups in the burgeoning climate-tech ecosystem? After all, addressing the climate crisis is the entrepreneurial opportunity of this generation. Capital is finally starting to flow at a pace commensurate with the urgency and scale of the crisis (emphasis on finally and starting) . VC investment in climate tech is growing five times faster than overall VC, with a $60 billion increase in funding over the last seven years. The Biden-Harris administration has committed $35 billion to fund climate-tech breakthroughs and launched the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate ( ARPA-C ) to accelerate technologies that will get the U.S. economy to net-zero emissions by 2050. It would seem that climate tech’s moment has arrived. Unfortunately, the trend lines for women entrepreneurs aren’t as heartening — at least not yet.  In 2019, just 2.8 percent of VC funding went to women-led ventures — a meager all-time high that fell to 2.3 percent in 2020, according to Crunchbase figures . It makes sense, given that only about 12 percent of decision-makers at VC firms are women, and most still don’t have a single female partner. And yet, as a recent Harvard Business Review article put it, the business case for more women entrepreneurs is clear . Women founders generate more than twice as much per dollar invested than their male counterparts, exit one year earlier, staff up with 2.5 times more women and tend to start companies that focus more on making a positive contribution to society. Spotlighting climate-tech sheroes That’s why this week I’m spotlighting 15 female entrepreneurs who are rocking it in climate tech. The selection features three startups within each clean economy market we focus on at our annual VERGE event — carbon removal, energy, food systems, infrastructure (new this year) and mobility. I selected for a mix of hardware and software solutions; ideas that inspire me personally within each market; and ventures that connect to one or more of Project Drawdown’s most promising climate solutions. Carbon removal Etosha Cave, founder and CSO, Opus 12 ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution Sector — Engineered Sinks Opus 12 is addressing climate change by using carbon emissions to create products traditionally derived from fossil fuels. Under Cave’s fearless leadership, Opus 12 has forged partnerships with companies including NASA, SoCalGas and Shell to deliver products such as carbon negative plastics and jet fuel at scale. Molly Morse, founder and CEO, Mango Materials ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 47 — Bioplastics Mango Materials has developed a technology that transforms methane into biodegradable plastic pellets that can be implemented in any supply chain and eventually decompose on their own. This impressive team of three female founders, with a combination of backgrounds in engineering, science and innovation, is creating the next generation of sustainable materials to ensure a biodegradable future.  Jennifer Wagner, president, CarbonCure ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 36 — Alternative Cement Cement production is responsible for about 8 percent of the world’s carbon footprint, which CarbonCure is working to reduce by injecting recycled carbon dioxide into concrete and making it stronger and more affordable in the process. With about 300 concrete plants so far, it has partnered with well-known companies such as Stripe, Shopify and LinkedIn, and has investors including Amazon and Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures.  Energy Andrea Barber, co-founder and CEO, RatedPower ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 8 — Solar Farms “Engineering in minutes, not weeks” is how Barber describes what they’re working to facilitate at RatedPower. Its software is enabling the design and engineering of large-scale solar plants worldwide through a faster, automated and more accurate engineering process. Ugwem Eneyo, co-founder and CEO, SHYFT Power Solutions ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 77 — Grid Flexibility Growing up in the Niger Delta exposed Eneyo early in life to the realities of both grid failure and the ecological and social devastation caused by the oil and gas industry. Her work at SHYFT Power is leveraging the power of the internet of things (IoT) to connect and intelligently manage clean, distributed energy resources in markets that struggle with grid reliability and resiliency. Congrats are in order for closing a $3.8 million seed round last week. Steph Speirs, co-founder and CEO, Solstice ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 10 — Rooftop Solar Speirs and her team at Solstice are on a mission to bring affordable renewable energy to the 80 percent of Americans who cannot install rooftop solar. Their unique approach to community solar enrolls households and community organizations in shared solar farms through creative financing innovations that expand access to underserved Americans.  Food Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO, Goodr ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 3 —  Reduce Food Waste “Hunger is not an issue of scarcity, it’s a matter of logistics,” says Crowe, as the underlying principle for Goodr’s work to help companies achieve their zero waste goals. By providing a platform that enables the collection of surplus food and donates it to nonprofits, Goodr is helping organizations lower their food waste footprint, track analytics to claim tax benefits and provide nutritious food to local communities in need. Lisa Dyson, founder and CEO, Air Protein ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 4 —  Plant-Rich Diet Dyson’s mission to address global food insecurity and sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050 led her to found Air Protein — which, you guessed it, is the world’s first air-based meat. By combining air, water and mineral nutrients, this revolutionary protein source is pioneering a new approach to feeding our growing population without the strain on natural resources.  Sara Menker, founder and CEO, Gro Intelligence ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution Sectors — Food, Ag and Land use   By harnessing the power of big data and artificial intelligence, Gro Intelligence is taking a different approach to solving climate change and global food insecurity simultaneously. Driven to “illuminate the interrelationships between everything happening on Earth,” Menker and her team are creating a comprehensive, holistic and timely picture of global agricultural trends and markets — enabling insights and predictive modeling at a scale never before possible. Infrastructure While these startups don’t correlate directly with Project Drawdown’s solution set, they do represent cutting-edge technologies enabling community resilience, smart city networks and circular material economies. Jessica Matthews, founder and CEO, Uncharted Power ( LinkedIn ) Recognized in 2016 for what was, at the time, the largest Series A round raised by a black female founder, Matthews’ work with Uncharted Power is fundamentally reshaping the ground beneath our feet — transforming it into an industrial IoT platform that enables the integrated deployment and management of critical infrastructure, from power grids and broadband to sidewalks and water pipes. Erin Rothman, founder and CEO, StormSensor ( LinkedIn ) Rothman is on a mission to mitigate climate risk through intelligent wastewater infrastructure. Working with cities and counties across the country, StormSensor’s technology is mitigating urban flooding, reducing vulnerabilities in coastal, wastewater and stormwater systems, and helping communities adapt to a changing climate — all at the same time. Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao, co-founders, Novoloop ( LinkedIn ) “Giving plastic trash new life” is what Wang and Yao are working to do with Novoloop, which transforms packaging waste into high-performance materials used in shoes, cars, homes and more. Their low-carbon manufacturing and advanced recycling system upgrades the most common plastic waste into performance materials worth up to 50 times more. Mobility Katya Akulinicheva, CFO, ZeroAvia ( Linkedin ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 43 — Aviation ZeroAvia is bringing hydrogen-electric power to aviation to enable zero-emission air travel at scale. After first serving as an adviser, Akulinicheva joined the ZeroAvia team to help take the company to new heights — and, like others on this list, it’s already amassed an impressive roster of investors, including Amazon, Shell, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the Ecosystem Integrity Fund. Tiffany Chu, CEO and co-founder, Remix ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution Sector — Transportation Born at a Code for America hackathon and starting as a grassroots project, Remix has become an essential planning tool for transportation agencies all over the world, serving more than 350 local governments in 22 countries by bringing datasets from disparate sources together into a unified view. Big congrats to Chu for her pioneering vision and leadership, as the transportation platform was recently acquired by Via for $100 million.  Kameale Terry and Evette Ellis, co-founders, ChargerHelp! ( Bios ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 26 — Electric Vehicles Utilities report that 30 percent of their EV charging stations are down at any point in time, and many don’t have a specialized workforce to fix them. Terry and Ellis co-founded ChargerHelp! to address that problem. Evette’s prior experience at the Department of Labor shaped the hiring and workforce development component of ChargerHelp!, through which it pays technicians a minimum of $30 per hour and provide shares in the company to ensure employees can afford an EV and participate in the clean economy it is working to create. At VERGE, we’re leaning in big to nurture and expand the rapidly growing climate-tech ecosystem , including elevating more ventures led by women and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs.  On that note, I’m pleased to announce we recently hired Sherrie Totoki as director of startup programs to develop and lead a whole new era of initiatives at GreenBiz for climate-tech startups (thanks to Sherrie for helping curate this inspiring set of companies). You can expect to hear more from her in the coming months, and to see an increasing number of inspiring women entrepreneurs featured across our events and coverage.   Topics Innovation Social Justice Finance & Investing Climate Tech Women Diversity and Inclusion Featured Column On the VERGE Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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The case for raising up women in climate tech

Extinction The Facts explores the global extinction crisis and its consequences

April 5, 2021 by  
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When Sir David Attenborough talks, we listen. That’s why we just couldn’t miss the March 31 premiere of “Extinction – The Facts” presented by PBS . Lifelong broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough talks viewers through the consequences of the global extinction crisis along with some of the world’s leading scientists and wildlife experts. The report not only reveals how serious the situation has become but also what it means for humans. For a more timely spin, the documentary goes into how global extinction can put us at greater risk for pandemic diseases like COVID-19. Most importantly, the documentary gives solutions as to what we can do to change the current course. Biodiversity loss Biodiversity refers to the variety of life found on Earth, including plants, animals and micro-organisms. Each of these species and organisms form unique communities and habitats, working together in various ecosystems to maintain balance. Related: The connection between coronavirus and wildlife exploitation The United Nations brought 500 international scientists together in 2019 to investigate the current state of our natural world, only to find that the planet was losing biodiversity at a rate never seen before in the history of humanity. The results were unexpected and unprecedented; there were at least 1 million plant, animal and insect species threatened with extinction at a rate 100 times faster than their natural evolutionary rate. The numbers are nearly split, between about 500,000 insects and 500,000 plants and animals, with populations growing smaller by the day. “Extinction is a natural process,” explained professor Kathy Willis, a plant scientist at the University of Oxford. “Things come, they grow, their populations get huge and then they decline. But it’s the rate of extinction; that’s the problem.” When scientists look at previous groups in fossil records, extinction happens over millions of years. Today, we’re looking at tens of years. Since 1970, vertebrate animals — such as birds and reptiles — have declined by a total of 60%, while large animals have disappeared from three-quarters of their historic ranges. Professor Elizabeth Hadly, a biologist at Stanford University, said one of the most concerning aspects of this decline is that it’s happening simultaneously around the world. “In the Amazon, in Africa, in the Arctic ; it’s happening not at one place and not with one group of organisms, but with all biodiversity, everywhere on the planet.” James Mwenda, a conservationist at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, is the caretaker for the world’s last two living northern white rhinos, a species that once numbered in the thousands throughout Central Africa. “Many people think of extinction being this imaginary tale told by conservationists, but I have lived it. I know what it is,” he said in the documentary. As a caretaker, Mwenda watched the northern white rhino population go from seven in 1990 to just two today, a mother and daughter named Najin and Fatu. A subspecies of the white rhinoceros, the northern white rhino was pushed to the critically endangered list due to hunting and habitat loss. “They’re here because we betrayed them,” he said sorrowfully. “And I think they feel it, this threatening tide of extinction that is pushing on them.” Losing entire portions of the planet’s individual species is tragic enough in itself, but the crisis encompasses much more than that. All of biodiversity is interlocked on a global scale, and the planet needs all parts of it to function properly. Humans are not outside of those ecological systems by any means. For example, a loss in insect species can put pollination at risk, which in turn puts food production at risk, affecting both humans and animals alike. Human influence The documentary also examines the ways that humans are driving biodiversity loss. Things like overfishing, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade are the biggest contributors, but there are also less obvious threats like consumer-driven demand for products like clothes, which can cause pollution in their production. The illegal wildlife trade has become a multibillion dollar global industry over the last 20 years. Increased income in certain countries like China and Vietnam, where endangered animal parts may be seen as a status symbol or used for medicinal purposes, is one of the largest drivers. Pangolins, for instance, represent the most trafficked animals in the world, and the demand for their scales is directly responsible for their declining numbers. The scale of global overfishing has dramatically increased as well. In some parts of the world, limits on ocean catch aren’t regulated. Scientists have seen declines in larger predator fish as their food supply dwindles due to overfishing, so the impact on marine ecosystems is widespread. The link to pandemics The connection between the natural world and pandemic diseases is closer than most people might expect. History is full of them, from Ebola to SARS, and, of course, COVID-19 . Even worse, if biodiversity continues on its current path, we will see more (and possibly worse) epidemics in the future. After every pandemic, scientists look back to try and figure out where it came from and what could have caused it. According to Dr. Peter Daszak of Ecohealth Alliance, they’ve found that humans are directly or indirectly behind every one of them. In a press release for the special, Attenborough said that while hope is not lost, the time to act is now. When he visited the mountain gorillas of Rwanda 40 years ago, they were on the brink of extinction with just 250 individuals left. Thanks to decades worth of conservation from the local government and communities, however, there are now more than 1,000. “Over the course of my life, I’ve encountered some of the world’s most remarkable species of animals,” he said. “Only now do I realize just how lucky I’ve been. Many of these wonders seem set to disappear from our planet forever. We are facing a crisis and one that has consequences for us all, but it’s not too late. I truly believe that together we can create a better future, if we make the right decisions at this critical moment.” + PBS Images via PBS

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Extinction The Facts explores the global extinction crisis and its consequences

Despite net-zero pledges, banks used $750 billion to finance fossil fuels in 2020

March 26, 2021 by  
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Despite net-zero pledges, banks used $750 billion to finance fossil fuels in 2020 Cecilia Keating Fri, 03/26/2021 – 00:05 Net-zero commitments may have ricocheted across banking sector over the last 18 months, but big banks’ attestations of climate concern did not stop many from expanding financing for the world’s top fossil fuel firms during the pandemic year. That is according to the latest edition of the Rainforest Action Network’s annual fossil fuel financing tracker, which reveals that while fossil fuel financing dropped by a record 9 percent during the pandemic-induced economic recession of 2020, the world’s top banks ramped up financing for the 100 largest fossil fuel expansion firms by 10 percent. The green groups behind the report have warned of an “alarming disconnect” between the global scientific consensus on climate change and the ongoing practices of the world’s leading banks. The analysis, ” Banking on Climate Chaos 2021 ,” underscores that while overall fossil fuel financing did tumble significantly in 2020, the total amount of financing provided to fossil fuel firms in 2020 was still more than $40 billion higher in 2020 than in 2016, at $750 billion. “Despite this significant drop from 2019 to 2020, the overall trend of the last five years is one heading definitively in the wrong direction,” the report states. Overall, the world’s leading banks have channelled $3.8 trillion to coal, oil and gas companies in the five years since the Paris Agreement was signed, it calculates. Lower levels of lending and debt underwriting to fossil fuel firms in 2020 were largely due to COVID-19 economic recession and not because banks are proactively distancing themselves from fossil fuels, according to the report. A separate score card ranking the banking sector’s climate policy commitments concludes that across the board, climate policies are “grossly insufficient” and out of alignment with global climate goals, with not a single bank surveyed racking up more than 94 points out of a total of 200. The overwhelming majority of fossil fuel financing goes unchecked by banks’ policies, it warns, given that climate pledges unveiled to date tend to focus on project-specific finance, which represents a mere 5 percent of all fossil fuel financing handed out by banks. Furthermore, the report underscores that more fossil fuel financing took place January through June than any six-month period since 2016, as large corporations around the world capitalized on low interest rates and central bank bond-buying programs to load up on cheap debt. This binge then was offset by record low financing in the second half of the year, it notes, leading to an overall fall of financing of 9 percent. Ginger Cassady, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, one of the groups behind the analysis, said the banking sector faced a “stark choice” as it plotted its strategy for steering a global recovery from the coronavirus crisis. “The unprecedented COVID-19 dip in global financing for fossil fuels offers the world’s largest banks a stark choice point going forward,” she said. “They can decide to lock in the downward trajectory of support for the primary industry driving the climate crisis or they can recklessly snap back to business as usual as the economy recovers.” The report reveals that U.S. banks continue to be the largest drivers of global emissions, with JP Morgan Chase retaining its position as the world’s largest fossil fuel funder. U.K. bank Barclays is singled out as being the most prolific fossil fuel funder in Europe over the five-year period surveyed, with the analysis highlighting it increased fracking financing by 24 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, BNP Paribas shot up the scoreboard after increasing its financing to fossil fuel companies by 41 percent in 2020 to $41 billion, making it the fourth worst financer of fossil fuels in 2020. The analysis is the latest in a long line of reports led by the Rainforest Action Network which hammer home the banking sector’s deep ties with the fossil fuel industries fueling the climate emergency, but this year’s edition is somewhat more poignant. The past 12 months have been a calamitous period for the fossil fuel industry amid shrinking demand for oil and gas and depressed prices during the pandemic, and it is against this backdrop the banking sector finally has acknowledged the critical role it must play in ensuring that global temperature increases are capped at safe levels by ending its support of environmentally destructive sectors. “Net-zero financed emissions” pledges have swept the banking sector since January 2020, with the U.K.’s largest fossil fuel financiers —  Barclays and HSBC — and many of the largest U.S. investment banks — Goldman Sachs , Citi Group , Wells Fargo , Bank of America and Morgan Stanley — all vowing to align their lending and debt with global climate goals over the coming 30 years. And yet, even as these pledges were made, investment in fossil fuel infrastructure has continue to flow largely unimpeded. Beyond a welcome tightening of lending policies to coal and tar sand firms, many of the world’s largest financiers have failed to translate their net-zero pledges into a meaningful shift in their investment activities. Banks can decide to lock in the downward trajectory of support for the primary industry driving the climate crisis or they can recklessly snap back to business as usual as the economy recovers. As such, the green organizations behind the report have touted the latest findings as evidence of the “hollowness” of the wave of net-zero targets unveiled by the banking sector and have urged companies to match their 2050 goals with short term pledges to rapidly phase out financing for all fossil fuel infrastructure, including oil and gas projects. Policies are required to “lock in” the fossil fuel declines of 2020 and thus steer a managed decline of fossil fuel production over the coming decade, they warn. “Many of the world’s largest banks, including all six major U.S. banks, have made splashy commitments in recent months to zero-out the climate impact of their financing over the next 30 years,” said Ben Cushing, financial advocacy campaign manager at the Sierra Club. “But what matters most is what they are doing now, and the numbers don’t lie. This report separates words from actions, and the picture it paints is alarming: Major banks around the world, led by U.S. banks in particular, are fueling climate chaos by dumping trillions of dollars into the fossil fuels that are causing the crisis.” Lucie Pinson, founder and executive director of Reclaim Finance, said the numbers exposed “the hollowness of banks’ ever-multiplying commitments” to be net-zero or align with global climate targets. “BNP Paribas merits singling out as the world’s fourth-largest fossil financier in 2020, having funneled multi-billion-dollar loans to oil giants like BP and Total,” she said. “Nonetheless, it’s clear that all banks need to replace empty promises with meaningful policies enacting zero tolerance for fossil fuel developers.” The banking sector maintains that serious change is afoot, pointing to much more stringent lending policies for coal firms and the on-going development of new guidelines and policies that it is hoped will decarbonize their portfolios over the next three decades. They insist it will take time to shift investment practices in a way that delivers a managed transition for businesses and investors alike. Approached to comment on the report, spokespeople from Barclays and HSBC pointed to their respective 2050 net-zero commitments, despite the two banks being ranked the seventh and 13th largest most prolific fossil fuel lenders globally since 2016 by today’s report, having funneled $145 billion and $111 billion into coal, oil and gas, respectively. The banking sector maintains that serious change is afoot. “HSBC has announced it will propose a special resolution on climate change at its AGM in May which will set out the next phase of HSBC’s strategy to support its customers on the transition to net-zero carbon emissions,” the HSBC spokesperson said. “This includes to publish and implement a policy to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2030 in markets in the European Union and OECD, and by 2040 in other markets.” “We have made a commitment to align our entire financing portfolio to the goals of the Paris Agreement, with specific targets and transparent reporting, on the way to achieving our ambition to be a net-zero bank by 2050,” the Barclays spokesperson said. “We believe that Barclays can make a real contribution to tackling climate change and help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.” JP Morgan Chase declined to comment on the findings, and BNP Paribas and CitiGroup did not respond for a request for comment at the time of going to press. While it is clear the banking sector has reached a turning point on sustainability over the last 12 to 18 months, today’s report provides compelling evidence that net-zero pledges need to be swiftly backed up by credible strategies that will quickly wind down bank’s exposure to fossil fuel assets and ramp up their support for clean infrastructure. Promises to establish climate-responsible investment portfolio in 30 years’ time are clearly meaningless if banks continue to channel hundreds of billions of dollars into the industries that are locking in several more decades of carbon intensive infrastructure. And yet, today’s report comes within hours of the U.K. government demonstrating how ministers are wrestling with precisely the same tensions , as they both talked up plans to slash emissions form the oil and gas industry and left the door open for new exploration in the North Sea. As the global economy rebounds from the pandemic, all eyes will be on whether major banks and governments finally can match their rhetoric on climate action with a managed decline of fossil fuel financing. Pull Quote Banks can decide to lock in the downward trajectory of support for the primary industry driving the climate crisis or they can recklessly snap back to business as usual as the economy recovers. The banking sector maintains that serious change is afoot. Topics Finance & Investing GreenFin Coal Decarbonization Business Green Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Tar sands in Alberta, Canada. Flickr Dru Oja Jay, Dominio Close Authorship

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Despite net-zero pledges, banks used $750 billion to finance fossil fuels in 2020

COVID-19: A 20/20-vision crystal ball into our climate future

March 15, 2021 by  
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COVID-19: A 20/20-vision crystal ball into our climate future Esteban Guerrero Mon, 03/15/2021 – 12:00 When the coronavirus pandemic can be claimed to be under control, it is likely to have made some economies retreat a decade and left millions of families in pain for the loss of loved ones, with many more millions enduring health and other consequences for some time to come. But all this self-inflicted pain is nothing compared to all the damage climate change can cause. So, perhaps the single silver lining of the pandemic might be that it can be used as the crystal ball that lends its 20/20 vision for us to see how we can avoid the worst of climate change. Using this crystal ball, we shall: take a look at why the failures that led to the pandemic are the same as the failures leading to a climate catastrophe understand the root causes of these kinds of dynamics envision what some of the solutions might be The failures Unlike with COVID, no vaccine can kill climate change. Once triggered — and many believe we already live in the realm of climate changed — there is no way back. Unlike with COVID, no vaccine can kill climate change. So far, we are failing miserably as a species because we have been forewarned, yet we are not acting timely and swiftly. In looking at these failures, we can see history about to repeat itself: Government action has been soft and late at best; many governments feel they face a terrible choice: save lives or save the economy. Millions have failed to understand the dynamics of the crisis, how it is likely to unfold and the role we all play; this implies that education is terrible everywhere for the most part and even government officials are not immune to the long tentacles of ignorance. But even experts have failed to be more effective at educating people at all levels, because they have failed to be creative enough to depict and convey data in a way that could effectively wake up and activate more people at all levels; or fully explore and publicly display scenarios that likely will materialize if their warnings are not heeded. In other words, simply conveying that average temperatures will go up and sea level will rise is not enough to open people’s eyes to what can come. And going back to the economy and “our way of life,” if we fail to act in time, once a major climate crisis hits and no amount of money can fix it, we will have shown once more that our system easily breaks down and is ill-equipped to deliver higher levels of prosperity on the dimensions that truly count. The root causes Interestingly, the causes underlying the above failures are the same: Humans do not easily grasp complexity. Humans cannot easily evaluate — let alone creatively communicate — risks and opportunities associated with future events that are not yet apparent. Our ability to effectively build a global, collective response requires effective coordination, which in turn requires skilled, informed, critically thinking individuals at all levels of society. The good news is that, if we overcome No. 1, we can then overcome No. 2, which in turn puts us in a good position to begin to tackle No. 3. A lesson in exponential complexity Missile Command is a 1980 video game that shows why a chain-reactive situation, like climate change, needs to be nipped in the bud — swiftly, without hesitation, because it is exponential in nature: If you fail to destroy the missiles dropping from the top of your screen right away, in a few seconds they will start splitting into multiple, independently targeted projectiles; soon, you will be overpowered, ammunition will run out and the cities below will be destroyed. Game over. Sound familiar? If you liken the number of falling projectiles to the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, you can see that by not addressing their increasing concentration in time, trying to stop GHG’s from reacting with the atmosphere, the ocean and other earth systems and eventually, indirectly, our lives and our livelihoods gets exponentially harder every few periods. These third-, fourth- and higher-order consequences are not just “possibilities”; they are as real as the fact that, for instance, large-company bankruptcies were up 244 percent in July and August year over year due to the pandemic lockdown, according to investment bank Jefferies. And if this dynamic (bankruptcies overshoot above drastic unemployment increases) is highly probable, then every time a new climate crisis takes place we should expect to see many more over the next several years: Therefore, the solution to the first root cause is to paint a broad picture of all relevant risks to help everyone “see” complexity. In other words, being able to depict and evaluate potential future climate scenarios is the best thing we can do to keep any potential catastrophic situation from becoming real in the first place. Evaluating future scenarios Even though we have been slow to initially take firm steps towards avoiding an involuntary calamity, we still have the opportunity to make better decisions today than we can tomorrow. That is, the worst-case scenario if we were to start today is better than the worst-case scenario if we were to start tomorrow: That is the value of having options: Paying the cost today so that we can have better alternatives tomorrow is worth it. Delaying that cost one more day reduces our alternatives to get the future we would want — and potentially gives away any control left we might have had in the outcome. What about enabling global, collective action? As to our ability to effectively harness a global, coordinated, collective response, putting together a thorough analysis is beyond the scope of these words. But beginning to paint a tangible picture to wake up citizens and government officials will help; for instance: Can the world take 20 more years like 2020? The year 2020 has been marred with remarkable climate events: record heat; over 16 meteorological disasters in the United States, with $1 billion-plus losses each; the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record; California fires consuming over 4 million acres, double the 2018 record. It could take at least 20 years to bring emissions down by 20 percent, which means that these types of events can only get worse. Can the world take 20 more years like 2020? So, why don’t we use the repulsion this thought makes us feel and put it into action to start pushing our representatives and each other to start defeating climate change now? Potential solutions Any tiptoeing around aggressively mitigating climate risks, any lack of a clear political signal that there will be a well-defined plan will only compound the problems for a far longer time horizon than most people can envision. The good news: We can all help chip away at the root causes by doing the following: Paint clear pictures of all likely risks within the context of a few key scenarios, exploring as far as all plausible third-, fourth- and fifth-order consequences. At least qualitatively, begin to assess the cost and probability of each extreme risk (the cost of inaction) for every scenario. Identify the critical path to avoid a catastrophe in each scenario and calculate the cost of action today. Start publishing and tracking these costs to constantly show that action today is cheaper than action tomorrow. Finally, let’s all start educating people in our spheres of influence, especially if we hold a public- or private-sector leadership position. This last point is particularly important: given how poorly people in key positions have been handling the pandemic, and how slow they have been at committing to climate change measures, it seems that we ought to start demanding high-level decision-makers successfully complete specialized training before they can be trusted with running large organizations or jurisdictions whose decisions literally can make the difference between life and death. So, the rest of us, regular citizens, also have a role to play. The deaths and other consequences likely to be caused by future climate disasters are still preventable, so we owe it to everyone likely to be affected to see to it that a climate crisis many times worse than what we have experienced this past year does not occur. Pull Quote Unlike with COVID, no vaccine can kill climate change. Can the world take 20 more years like 2020? Topics COVID-19 Climate Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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COVID-19: A 20/20-vision crystal ball into our climate future

A Circular Economy for Plastics: How Companies are Moving from Strategy to Action

March 15, 2021 by  
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A Circular Economy for Plastics: How Companies are Moving from Strategy to Action Date/Time: April 1, 2021 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) As plastic waste continues to threaten the globe, companies are making ambitious commitments and joining with partners to do their part. This new class of plastics goals include designing for recyclability, investing in recycling infrastructure and exploring material innovations, charting and reporting progress and helping to bring more partners in to drive collection action. But what happens behind the scenes once these commitments are announced? And what will it take for companies to achieve these ambitious targets one they’ve been set?  This hour-long webinar will explore opportunities to move from aspirations and  commitments to practical action. Attendees will learn: How large companies are partnering with NGOs and others to take collective action on ambitious goals. How companies like Coca Cola are approaching strategic action including setting realistic and ambitious goals, engaging partners and rallying teams behind a common cause. How the process of implementing meaningful change varies across industries and geographies. Common challenges companies face in combating plastic waste, and how to overcome them. Moderator: Lauren Phipps, Director & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy, GreenBiz Speakers: Alpa Sutaria, VP & General Manager, Sustainability, North America Operating Unit, The Coca-Cola Company  Erin Simon, Head, Plastic Waste and Business, WWF If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Mon, 03/15/2021 – 10:48 Lauren Phipps Director & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy GreenBiz Group @laurenfphipps Alpa Sutaria VP & General Manager, Sustainability, North America Operating Unit The Coca-Cola Company Erin Simon Head, Plastic Waste and Business World Wildlife Fund @WWF gbz_webcast_date Thu, 04/01/2021 – 10:00 – Thu, 04/01/2021 – 11:00

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A Circular Economy for Plastics: How Companies are Moving from Strategy to Action

The (not so) green recovery: New report warns world is failing to ‘build back better’

March 12, 2021 by  
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The (not so) green recovery: New report warns world is failing to ‘build back better’ Cecilia Keating Fri, 03/12/2021 – 01:30 The fiscal spending plans of major economies in the wake of the coronavirus crisis have fallen far short of ensuring the recovery from the crisis does not exacerbate ongoing climate and nature crises, with just one in every $40 committed by governments in the wake of the pandemic set to deliver a positive impact for the planet. That is the bleak headline from a major report published this week by the United Nations Environment Program and Oxford’s Economic Recovery Project, which warns policymakers are missing out on the “greatest chance we have had so far” to redirect the upward trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions and put the world on track for meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The analysis, which looked at more than 3,500 fiscal policies across the world’s 50 largest economies, finds that just 2.5 percent of all COVID-induced spending to date had “positive green characteristics.” A huge chunk of COVID-related government spending has necessarily focused on welfare payments and the health response, but the report concludes that even when the focus is narrowed to look only at measures designed to deliver a longer-term economic recovery, only 18 percent of spending has “positive green characteristics.” As such, the report concludes that the world is “not yet building back better,” despite repeated promises from governments to engineer a green recovery and the introduction of some promising green stimulus spending programs from a handful of predominantly wealthy countries such as Finland, Denmark, France, Germany and Norway. Humanity is facing a pandemic, an economic crisis and an ecological breakdown — we cannot afford to lose on any front. “Despite positive steps towards a sustainable COVID-19 recovery from a few leading nations, the world has so far fallen short of matching aspirations to build back better,” said Brian O’Callahan, lead researcher at the Oxford University Economic Recovery project. “But opportunities to spend wisely on recovery are not yet over. Governments can use this moment to secure long-term economic, social and environmental prosperity.” For the vast majority of countries, recovery spending has been relatively low and not particularly green, according to the report, with any benefits from the greener elements contained in stimulus packages often undermined by concurrent fossil fuel and consumer-focused spending program. For instance, roughly 16 percent of recovery spending could bring positive air pollution impacts, but 16.4 percent is likely to increase net air pollution. The United Kingdom is among a raft of countries that is “missing opportunities” to deliver a green recovery, given that only a small percentage of its post-COVID spending program has been explicitly green. As such, the report urges policymakers to think long-term when crafting spending programs in the fallout from the pandemic, warning that a “one-dimensional focus on short-term economic recovery” risks stoking inequality and the climate emergency. Of the $14.6 trillion invested by these 50 countries to date, only $1.9 trillion has been invested in long-term recovery measures intended to spur economic activity, it notes. UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson urged policymakers to carefully consider the Global Recovery Observatory report, which collates examples of green recovery spending from around the world and underlines the social benefits that can be unlocked by carefully designed green policies, such as improved health outcomes, energy cost reductions and enhanced food security. “Humanity is facing a pandemic, an economic crisis and an ecological breakdown — we cannot afford to lose on any front,” she said. “Governments have a unique chance to put their countries on sustainable trajectories that prioritize economic opportunity, poverty reduction and planetary health at once — the Observatory gives them the tools to navigate to more sustainable and inclusive recoveries.” The paper identifies five core green policy areas that policymakers should focus on — green energy, low-carbon transport, natural capital, green building upgrades and green research and development (R&D) — and highlights successful green spending programs to date. Some $66.1 billion has been spent on green energy so far, it notes, of which $25.3 billion focused on renewables and $18.5 billion on hydrogen, the latter boosted substantially by major investment programs by France and Germany. Meanwhile, $86.1 billion has been spent on low-carbon transport, $28.9 billion on green research and development and $35.2 billion on green building upgrades, although it is unclear whether this calculation factors in the recent spending cut to the U.K.’s flagship green housing stimulus program, the Green Homes Grant, which saw ministers initially assign $2.1 billion to the scheme before moving to introduce a new budget for 2021/22 of just $448 million. Meanwhile, the report reveals that $56.3 billion has been announced for natural capital or nature-based solutions, highlighting how just 3 percent of all spending is deemed by the report to have “significantly positive characteristics” for nature protection, with 17 percent likely to have a significant negative impact on natural capital. The report also notes how where green spending programs have been announced, they have been disproportionately focused on industrialized nations. It therefore argues that it is critical for advanced economies and multilateral agencies to “generously” support emerging markets and developing economies to meet their green recovery aspirations. Less-developed economies are hamstrung by higher borrowing costs and weaker fiscal positions than their richer counterparts, the report notes, leading to a scenario where on a per capita basis the total spending in advanced economies was 17 times greater than emerging and developing markets. The conclusions reached by UNEP and the University of Oxford match those of an ongoing series of economic reports by Vivid Economics and Finance for Biodiversity, which has been tracking the “greenness” of different countries’ recovery packages since the outbreak of the pandemic. The latest edition, published last month , concluded that governments of the 30 countries surveyed had “largely failed” to harness the opportunity to combine economic recovery with sustainable growth, calculating that just $1.8 trillion of the $4.6 trillion of stimulus spent to date in “environmentally impactful” sectors, such as agriculture, industry, waste, energy and transport, could be deemed “green.” As Europe approaches the one-year anniversary of the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns, it is clear that policymakers must step up their game and match their much-repeated rhetoric about delivering a green recovery with concrete spending packages that have a net positive impact on nature and climate. They should also look holistically at the program of stimulus packages being unveiled by different branches of government in order to prevent the environmental gains produced by one spending program from being neutralized by the carbon-intensive impacts of another. This holds particularly true in the U.K., as the government faces growing criticism for a lack of joined-up thinking with its climate policies that has allowed for climate and environmental considerations to be sidelined as ministers have rushed to bolster economic activity. You can boost jobs and GDP through new coal mines and domestic flights, but it makes it a lot harder to credibly claim that you are building back better. Pull Quote Humanity is facing a pandemic, an economic crisis and an ecological breakdown — we cannot afford to lose on any front. Topics Climate Change COVID-19 Green New Deal BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Some $66.1 billion of COVID recovery funds have been spent on green energy as of early 2021, of which $25.3 billion focused on renewables and $18.5 billion on hydrogen.

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The (not so) green recovery: New report warns world is failing to ‘build back better’

Climate change is leading to increased winter drownings

November 24, 2020 by  
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A new study, published in the journal PLoS One , has revealed that there is a significant relationship between increased drownings in the winter and climate change. According to the study, regions that have experienced a sharp increase in average winter temperatures are also experiencing more drownings. The study, which was published last Wednesday, analyzed data collected in 10 countries in the Northern Hemisphere: U.S., Canada, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Italy, Russia, Finland, Latvia and Estonia. Many of the drownings that were studied happened when temperatures were just below freezing point. It was also observed that many increases in drownings occurred in Indigenous communities, where the people depend on the ice for their customs as well as for survival. Related: Danger looms as world’s largest iceberg heads toward a critical wildlife habitat The research showed that those affected by the drownings varied demographically. For instance, the most affected were children under 9 years old followed by teenagers and adults from ages 15 to 39. People who are accustomed to walking on icy landscapes may assume that the ice is stable enough without thinking about recent temperature fluctuations. One of the lead authors of the study, Sapna Sharma, explained that people may not think about how climate change is already impacting their everyday lives. Sharma, who is also an associate professor of biology at York University, said that we no longer have to just think about polar bears when we talk about climate change. The drownings are evidence enough that this crisis can affect anyone in any part of the world. “I think there’s a disconnect between climate change and the local, everyday impacts,” Sharma said. “If you think about climate change in winter, you’re thinking about polar bears and ice sheets, but not about these activities that are just ingrained in our culture.” According to Sharma, colder temperatures can be deceiving, especially at a time when the temperatures keep fluctuating. “It might be minus 20 Celsius today and tomorrow and the weekend, but last week it was 15 Celsius,” Sharma said. “Well, we might have forgotten as individuals that it was warm and sunny last week on a Tuesday, but the ice didn’t forget.” If the temperatures are milder than usual, the ice will not be as thick as one might expect. Robert McLeman, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier, explained, “Milder temperatures mean that the ice is not as thick, or not as solid as it would otherwise be. And so people are going out onto it and not realizing that the ice is rotten.” + PLoS One Via The New York Times Image via Pixabay

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Climate change is leading to increased winter drownings

1% of global population causes 50% of all carbon pollution emitted by the aviation industry

November 20, 2020 by  
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Recent research published in  Global Environmental Change  has revealed that only 1% of people cause half of all aviation pollution globally. According to the study, regular “super emitters” are polluting the environment at the expense of millions of people who do not fly.  The study, conducted through analysis of aviation data, revealed that large populations across all countries did not fly at all in the years observed. For instance, about 53% of Americans did not fly in 2018, yet the U.S. ranked as the leading aviation emission contributor globally. In Germany, 65% of people did not fly, in Taiwan 66%, and in the U.K. about 48% of the population did not fly abroad in the same period.  These findings suggest that the bulk of pollution caused by the aviation industry comes from the actions of very few people. Further supporting this point, the study revealed that only 11% of the global population flew in 2018, while only 4% flew abroad. Comparing these numbers to the level of emission aviation causes indicates that the rich few in society fuel this pollution the most. Meanwhile, marginalized communities will likely face the harshest consequences of this pollution . In 2018, airlines produced a billion tons of CO2. Even worse, the same airlines benefited from a $100 billion subsidy by not paying for the climate change caused. The U.S. tops the list of leading aviation emitter countries, contributing more CO2 to the environment than the next 10 countries on the list. This means that the U.S. alone contributes more aviation-based CO2 than the U.K., Germany, Japan and Australia combined.  Research also indicates that global aviation’s contribution to the climate crisis continues to increase. Before the coronavirus pandemic, emissions caused by flights had grown by 32% between 2013 and 2018. If there are no measures put in place to curb the pollution, these rates will likely continue skyrocketing post-pandemic.  Stefan Gössling of Linnaeus University in Sweden, the study’s lead author, says that the only way of dealing with the issue is by redesigning the aviation industry. “If you want to resolve climate change and we need to redesign [aviation], then we should start at the top, where a few ‘super emitters’ contribute massively to global warming ,” said Gössling. “The rich have had far too much freedom to design the planet according to their wishes. We should see the crisis as an opportunity to slim the air transport system.” + The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Renowned landscape architects unveil designs to save the Tidal Basin

November 20, 2020 by  
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The National Mall Tidal Basin — also known as “America’s front yard” — is home to some of the nation’s most iconic landmarks such as the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. But the beloved Washington, D.C. public space is under threat from daily flooding and is in urgent need of critical repairs and improvements. In a bid to save the celebrated landscape, five prestigious landscape architecture firms — DLANDstudio, GGN, Hood Design Studio, James Corner Field Operations and Reed Hilderbrand — have been tapped to reimagine the future of the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Keep reading for a preview of all the designs. In 2019, the National Trust for Historic Preservation banded together with the Trust for the National Mall, the National Parks Service, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) and American Express to launch the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab , an initiative seeking proposals to save the 107-acre Tidal Basin site in Washington, D.C. After months of preparation, the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab recently unveiled visionary proposals from five award-winning landscape architecture firms including New York City-based DLANDstudio, Seattle-based GGN, Oakland-based Hood Design Studio, New York City-based James Corner Field Operations and Cambridge-based Reed Hilderbrand. Each proposal not only responds to the pressing issues plaguing the area’s infrastructure but also examines ways to heighten the visitor experience through improved environmental and cultural considerations. Due to the pandemic, the proposals are presented in an online-only, museum-quality exhibition co-curated by New York City curator of design Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins, an architectural historian and independent curator. The public is invited to learn about the Tidal Basin’s history, which was completed in 1887 as a major hydrological feat as well as the ongoing challenges and comprehensive proposals. The public will also be able to give feedback and offer ideas on saving the Tidal Basin. “As part of ‘America’s front yard’, the Tidal Basin is home to some of the most iconic landmarks and traditions in the nation’s capital,” said Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Yet current conditions do not do justice to a landscape of such significance. With this new digital exhibition, we are excited to share and engage the public with creative thinking from five of the best landscape architecture firms in the world. These ideas explore ways to sustain this cultural landscape and its richly layered meanings for generations to come. This isn’t preservation as usual: this is preservation as innovation.” Related: BIG unveils sweeping overhaul to Smithsonian Campus Master Plan True to its name, the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab will be focused on cultivating bold ideas and promoting dialogue between designers, stakeholders and the public rather than choosing a single winner as is typical in design competitions. The exhibition will supplement the National Park Service’s mandated environmental review of the Tidal Basin as well as master planning and detailed design, which have not yet been completed but are integral to securing funding for construction and implementation. All five creative concepts, revealed late last month, celebrate and raise awareness of the Tidal Basin’s long history and have reimagined the cultural landscape to better meet modern safety and accessibility needs while addressing critical infrastructure repairs and improvements. DLANDstudio’s proposal makes bold steps of introducing extensions to the landscape in both the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River to reorient circulation. A long land bridge would connect the Jefferson Memorial and the White House, while a new jetty to the west would branch off of the Lincoln Memorial to house the relocated memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. Flooding would be mitigated with sponge park wetlands , a reflective weir and a green security wall. GGN’s vision is an adaptive plan phased across three stages to conclude in 2090. The design uses ecological solutions to protect the landscape from forecasted sea level changes and also the potential adaptation and relocation of existing monuments. James Corner Field Operations has proposed three ideas for combating rising sea levels : Protect & Preserve, a scheme to keep the existing landscape intact with improved maintenance and engineering; Island Archipelago, in which flooding would be accepted as an inevitable reality and monuments would be elevated and treated as islands within the Tidal Basin; and Curate Entropy, another design where the site is allowed to flood and a careful balance is maintained between the Tidal Basin’s existing layout and the new landscape. Hood Design Studio focuses on reshaping the Tidal Basin with underrepresented narratives, from the stories of how wetlands were valued by Indigenous and enslaved peoples to promoting dialogue on rebuilding urban ecologies. Reed Hilderbrand’s design draws on the 1902 McMillan Plan, a comprehensive planning document that strongly influenced the urban planning and design of Washington, D.C., particularly with its proposal for a “Washington Commons,” a diverse and connected regional park system. The plan also encourages new interactions with the landscape with an uplands Cherry Walk, a Memorial Walk, a Marsh Walk and a new landform called Independence Rise that would accommodate rising water levels and connect back to the city with a pedestrian bridge. + Tidal Basin Ideas Lab Images via Tidal Basin Ideas Lab

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Renowned landscape architects unveil designs to save the Tidal Basin

Are lawyers and accountants doing enough on climate change?

October 13, 2020 by  
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Are lawyers and accountants doing enough on climate change? Joel Makower Tue, 10/13/2020 – 01:40 When it comes to the climate crisis, it’s not just what you make and sell, it’s what you do, and for whom you do it. That’s the message from several recent reports focusing on the role of service-sector companies in addressing — positively or negatively — climate change. The mere existence of these documents, and the campaigns behind some of them, represent another broadening of the conversation, a clarion call for nontraditional business players to lead, or at least not hinder, efforts to address the climate crisis. But, hopefully, lead. Exhibit A: law firms. According to a new report from Law Students for Climate Accountability, most of the top 100 law firms in the United States “provide far more support to clients driving the climate crisis than clients addressing it.” Its research focuses on the work of Vault Law 100 firms, “the most prestigious law firms based on the assessments of lawyers at peer firms.” According to the group’s scorecard , Vault 100 firms: litigated 286 cases exacerbating climate change (versus three cases mitigating it) supported $1.316 trillion in transactions for the fossil fuel industry received $37 million in compensation for fossil fuel industry lobbying The study analyzed litigation, transactional and lobbying work conducted from 2015 to 2019. Each firm received an overall letter grade reflecting its contribution to the climate problem based on the data in these three categories. Four firms receive an A while 26 received an F. Even among those in the middle, the group found that “some firms contribute far more to the climate crisis than others.” The report is intended to provide law students and young lawyers “with a resource when deciding on their current and future employment,” it said, adding: We cannot ignore the role of law firms in exacerbating the climate crisis, and this report is another step in raising consciousness of how our employment choices shape the world. We, the next generation of lawyers, can choose what firms to work for and where to spend our careers. We can ask law firms how they plan to address their role in the crisis and hold them accountable to do so. Of course, for the firms themselves, it’s mostly about following the money. After all, the $41 million ExxonMobil spent on climate lobbying in 2019 ( according to InfluenceMap ) exceeds the entire $37 million annual operating budget ( 2019 ) of Greenpeace USA. “Climate lobbying” in the report is defined as efforts “to delay, control or block policies to tackle climate change.” Still, as the group notes, “These firms could use their extraordinary skills to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future, but too many are instead lending their services to the companies driving the climate crisis. Law firms cannot maintain reputations as socially responsible actors if they continue to support the destructive fossil-fuel industry.” It will be interesting to see whether shining a bright light on the nation’s top firms — which generally avoid scrutiny, let alone comparisons with one another — will encourage them to forgo revenue in favor of the greater good. Will job-seeking law students truly shun firms seen as bad actors? And if firms dropped oil, coal and gas companies as clients, would it move the fossil fuel industry even one iota? Suffice to say, the jury is out. Lawyers aren’t the only service-sector firms targeted for their climate ties. A report coming out later this week from the Australia-based Sunrise Project “will reveal that the top 10 U.S. health insurers are all invested in the fossil fuel industry” and will call on insurers to divest from these companies, calling them “the greatest threat to human health.” On a more proactive note , the CFA Institute, a trade group that measures and certifies financial analysts, recently released ” Climate Change Analysis in the Investment Process ,” a report that aims to improve the industry’s understanding on how climate risk can be applied to financial analysis. The report, written by Matt Orsagh, director of capital markets policy at the institute, explains the economic implications of climate change and covers such topics as a price on carbon and the growing carbon markets, increased transparency and disclosure of climate metrics, and how analysts should engage with companies on the physical and transition risks of climate change. And then there are banks and other financial institutions , which have long been the focus of climate activists. That, too, is ramping up. Earlier this month, the Science Based Targets initiative released a framework and validation service for financial institutions “against the backdrop of growing awareness of the material risks posed by climate change.” Fifty-five financial institutions including Bank Sarasin, Amalgamated Bank and Standard Chartered are backing the new certification and already have committed to setting science-based targets. For the first time, those organizations have the opportunity to verify their emissions reduction plans against the goals of the Paris Agreement. I’m fairly certain that campaigns are already ramping up to get the world’s largest financial institutions on board. Follow the money, indeed. Topics Corporate Strategy Policy & Politics Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage

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