Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

October 2, 2021

Weekend Reads: How National Stimulus Could Spur a City-led Green Recovery; The Growth of the ESG Career Field

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

City-led Green Recovery Boosted by $267BN G7 Stimulus Funds, But More Needed (BloombergNEF) The world’s cities are poised to lead a clean and just economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, but only if national governments spend stimulus funds wisely. That is the key finding of Building on Cities to Deliver a Green and Just Recovery, a joint report out today from BloombergNEF (BNEF) and C40 Cities, which highlights city-level achievements in cutting emissions that are ready to be copy and pasted into hundreds of other jurisdictions globally with proper support. Among G7 countries alone, the report identifies $267 billion in stimulus funds that could immediately be used to drive a green recovery, with the EU setting the gold standard at $145 billion.

How can we get hydrocarbon-rich nations to board the EV wagon? (World Economic Forum) Hydrocarbon fuels account for more than 80% of commercially traded energy consumption. The abundance, convenience and affordability of fossil fuels have generated economic growth and made life better for billions of people. But the emissions and climate challenges associated with combustion are significant, and policy-makers around the world must limit the rise in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Global transport is the fourth largest source of GHGs, producing about 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. About 73% of transport emissions come from road vehicles including cars and trucks, 22% from planes and ships, and 1% from trains. GHG emissions reduction in transport is expected to significantly contribute to meeting the Paris Agreement goals.

Washington can look to states for proof that investing in clean energy works (The Hill) The pandemic, and its cascading negative effects on our economy, and our people, have presented a novel opportunity to build new and better infrastructure, foster innovation and bring good jobs to Americans everywhere. That is the promise at the heart of the President Biden’s Build Back Better budget being considered by Congress — a historic opportunity to put our economy on a path to greater prosperity for everyone while also supporting and accelerating the transition to 100 percent clean energy. Already, states like Georgia, Minnesota and Virginia are showing what is possible. These states are using energy efficiency and clean energy to cut greenhouse gas pollution, create family-sustaining careers for their workers and save consumers money. The Build Back Better agenda will turbocharge successes like these and bring new opportunities to Americans everywhere.

An “attack on American cities” is freezing climate action in its tracks (Vox) When Regina Romero took office as the Democratic mayor of Tucson, Arizona, in 2019, she wanted her city to take action on climate change. Local building codes might have been a logical place to start: In the US, some 70 million buildings rely on fossil fuels that warm the planet, such as oil and gas, for heating and cooking. They generate a hefty 13 percent of national greenhouse gas emissions. While many answers to climate change require national and even international action, cities often have the unilateral power to craft local rules like building codes. But before the city of Tucson could even look at possible building reforms, the Republican-led state legislature took away its power to do so — by passing a state law that natural gas utilities are “not subject to further regulation by a municipality.”

CSR careers finally come of age — and are breaking sector boundaries (Financial Times) Santiago Gowland has never placed too much stock on job descriptions: his instinct is to “change and fix”, not toe the line. Luckily, he has spent much of his career working in corporate sustainability, a dynamic field in which words such as “transformation” and “disruption” are commonplace. Gowland, who was born in Argentina, is part of an emerging cadre of sustainability professionals who are pushing the boundaries of traditional roles and collaborating across sectors to bring about change. As the work of corporate sustainability grows in scope, so too does the profile of its practitioners. While core functions such as finance and marketing remain, soft skills such as collaboration and resilience are becoming equally important.

Keywords: Weekend reads

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