Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Finance  -  December 19, 2020

Weekend reads: 2020's best climate wins; The racial divide in electric vehicle charging in Chicago

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

The Biggest Climate Wins of 2020 (Gizmodo) Somehow, not everything was bad this year. Don’t get me wrong, 2020 was terrible. Covid-19 caused unprecedented suffering around the world, hitting the environmentally exploited communities the hardest. It also interlocked all kinds of other crises, like poverty and climate disasters. The oil industry went belly up, but even that’s not worth celebrating, because so many workers got laid off in the process while shareholders’ profits were protected. But there were also some glimmers of hope for the future of our planet. The climate movement enjoyed some big victories, and polluters took some major Ls. Here are five of the biggest wins for the planet in 2020.

Study finds viable pathways to "net-zero" U.S. emissions by 2050 (Axios) A major Princeton University-led analysis concludes there's a range of economically beneficial and technologically feasible options for reaching "net-zero" U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — but big investments and supportive policies would need to begin now. The big picture: President-elect Joe Biden has embedded that 2050 target in his plan, and a number of states and major corporations share that goal or similar ones. More broadly, net-zero emissions by midcentury is considered a global goal for avoiding some of the most damaging effects of climate change. Why it matters: Setting top-line targets, which is very popular these days, is very different from actually creating viable ways to meet them.

EU Chiefs Back Tough Emission Goal After Last-Minute Scuffle (Bloomberg) European Union leaders have agreed to more aggressive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, one year after launching a moonshot Green Deal that led the way for other major economies to raise their climate ambitions. The decision to cut pollution by at least 55% by 2030, up from 40% previously, was expected. But it helps keep global momentum on the issue going into 2021, when incoming U.S. President Joe Biden plans to re-join the landmark Paris Agreement and set a 2050 net-zero goal. It also gives European leaders a bold new commitment to tout at a global climate meeting on Saturday.

Electric vehicle charging stations follow racial divide in Chicago (The Hill) There’s a long-standing "chicken and egg" conundrum in public transportation that has kept poor, Black neighborhoods on the sidelines of development in major cities, from bike lanes to electric vehicles. In Chicago, Energy News reported that 70 percent of all public charging stations for electric vehicles were located in just three community areas as of 2018, while 47 of Chicago’s 77 community areas had no public charging stations at all. These areas were largely on the city’s South Side and West Side, according to Jitney EV, which is advocating for more equitable distribution of charging stations.

Why Socially Responsible Investing Is Likely To Gain Momentum Under Biden (Forbes) According to the latest biennial report from the United States Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) total US-domiciled assets under management employing ESG investing strategies increased 42 percent over the past two years, to $17 trillion in 2020 up from $12 trillion at the start of 2018. The figure represents 33% of all US assets under professional management, meaning that one in three investing dollars is invested in this manner. While President-Elect Biden begins to unravel some of the actions of his predecessor, he won’t need to do much to encourage continued growth in ESG investing. Most companies are already enlightened to the fact that being environmentally friendly and socially responsible is good not only for customers and stakeholders, but also for shareholders. As a sector, ESG has generally outperformed and proven it can amass assets despite headwinds.


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