The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) will look beyond the figures that underlie net income when determining whether a company is in compliance with the agency’s proposed climate risk disclosure rule, an SEC enforcement official said Tuesday.
“If the company has really put a lot of emphasis in its marketing around, for example, what it’s doing in the climate space, those are ways that I think it can become material even if you don’t necessarily see that translate to the bottom line,” according to Carolyn Welshhans, associate director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.
“Something can be material to a company — for example specific to that company’s business or its operations — not just as financial statements,” Welshhans said at Securities Enforcement Forum 2022 after noting that her comments did not necessarily reflect the view of the agency. “It’s not just quantitative — it’s not just ‘does something impact the bottom line.’”
But will the war and the economic turmoil prevent the world from meeting the Paris climate agreement’s long-term goals?
There are reasons to believe that this may not be the case.
The answer depends in part on how wealthy countries respond to a focus of this year’s climate conference: fulfilling their pledges in the Paris Agreement to provide support for low- and middle-income countries to build clean energy systems.
Europe speeds up clean energy plans
A key lesson many countries are taking away from the ongoing energy crisis is that, if anything, the transition to renewable energy must be pushed forward faster.
About 80% of the world’s energy is still from fossil sources. Global trade in coal, oil and natural gas has meant that even countries with their own energy supplies have felt some of the pain of exorbitant prices. In the U.S., for example, natural gas and electricity prices are higher than normal because they are increasingly tied to international markets, and the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.
If Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a wake-up call to accelerate the clean energy transition in wealthier countries, the situation is much more complex in developing countries.
Low-income countries are being hit hard by the impact of Russia’s war, not only by high energy costs, but also by decreases in grain and cooking oil exports. The more these countries are dependent on foreign oil and gas imports for their energy supply, the more they will be exposed to global market gyrations.
Renewable energy can reduce some of that exposure.
A number of developing countries have their own fossil fuel resources, and some in Africa have been calling for increasing production, although not without pushback.
Without a strong alternative within local contexts for sustainable energy resources, and with wealthy countries scrambling for fossil fuels, developing countries will exploit fossil resources – just as the wealthiest countries have done for over a century. For example, Tanzania’s energy minister, January Makamba, told Bloomberg during the U.N. climate conference that his country expects to sign agreements with Shell and other oil majors for a $40 billion liquefied natural gas export project.
Encouraging developing countries to take on debt risk to invest in fossil fuel extraction for which the world will have no use would potentially do these countries a great disservice, taking advantage of them for short-term gain.
The world has made progress on emissions in recent years, and the worst warming projections from a decade ago seem to be highly unlikely now. But every tenth of a degree has an impact, and the current “business-as-usual” path still leads the planet toward warming levels with climate change costs that are hard to contemplate, especially for the most vulnerable countries. The outcomes from the climate conference and G-20 summit will give an indication of whether the global community is willing to accelerate the transition.
This article was updated Nov. 14, 2022, with the G-20 summit start.
Food waste is a year-round concern. Still, the large Thanksgiving meal presents a particular challenge when it comes to preventing it. You’re buying many more ingredients. You’re making large-scale recipes, with lots of potential leftovers. You may just be even more preoccupied with everything else going on around you.
But there are ways to reduce food waste and therefore your environmental impact, even around the holidays. Here are a few tips geared toward Thanksgiving dinner.
The 2023 Indiana Sustainability and Resilience Conference is set for Friday, February 17 at the IUPUI Campus Center. Organized by the IU Environmental Resilience Institute and IUPUI Sustainability, the conference will feature speakers, panels, exhibits, trainings, and networking opportunities for climate and resilience advocates from across the state. The Indianapolis Airport Authority is the presenting supporter of ISRC 2023.
At the conference, attendees can expect to:
• Learn about cross-sector collaboration to address climate change • Identify potential funding sources for climate and resilience work • Explore how to integrate climate research and practice • Develop new skills through interactive trainings • Network with other Indiana climate leaders
A given household may save an average 16,200 gallons of water per year by installing rooftop solar, they found. In some states, like California, this saving can increase to 53,000 gallons, which is equivalent to 60 percent of the average household water use in the U.S.
You won’t see the savings on your home water bill, but they’re still important.
Carlsberg recently won a Global Water Award for the world’s best water project in the industry category. The award is one of the highest recognitions that you can receive in the global water sector, and it was given for a new water-efficient brewery in Fredericia.
Here, Carlsberg has found an innovative way to recycle 90% of the production process water. This means that the brewery reduces its water consumption for beers and soft drinks from 2.7 to 1.4 liters per liter produced. In addition, the recycling plant reduces the brewery’s energy consumption by 10% through own biogas production and recirculation of hot water. The treated water is used to clean process equipment, pipes, and packaging at the brewery and is not included in the production of beers and soft drinks.
As Earth warms due to climate change, people living near the coasts not only face a higher risk of major hurricanes, but are also more likely to experience a subsequent heat wave while grappling with widespread power outages.
Princeton researchers investigated the risk of this compound hazard occurring in the future under a “business-as-usual” climate scenario, using Harris County, Texas, as an example. They estimated that the risk of undergoing at least one hurricane-blackout-heat wave lasting more than five days in a 20-year span would increase 23 times by the end of the century. But there is some good news: Strategically burying just 5% of power lines — specifically those near main distribution points — would almost halve the number of affected residents.
Hawaiʻi Island farmers will be able to find critical data at their fingertips to help them manage their crops and improve yield because of a project involving the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation and East-West Center.
A new climate dashboard will display weather, climate predictions and environmental conditions relevant to Hawaiʻi Island farmers. The pilot project will co-produce a poly-forestry climate dashboard in partnership with the Keaukaha Panaʻewa Farmers Association on Hawaiʻi Island.
Poly-forestry (“poly” to mean both “many” as well as “Polynesian”) is a traditional Pacific Island system for managing land use that aims to increase the overall yield of the land by combining the productions of crops (including tree crops) and forest plants and/or animals on a given unit of land. The pilot will apply management practices that are culturally compatible with the local population.
California wildfires that closed down portions of the Union Pacific and BNSF train networks for days. Severe flooding in the Midwest that damaged tracks. The extreme cold temperatures of Texas in February 2021 that caused considerable service disruptions on the freight rail system.
While the rail industry is accustomed to seasonal disruptions such as winter blizzards, the possibility of even more extreme weather events as a result of climate change takes disruption threats to a new level. Furthermore, these extreme weather interruptions come at a time when the height of the COVID-19 pandemic showed how vulnerable the supply chain can be.
“Extreme weather and heat and their aftereffects can have catastrophic impacts,” Karen Philbrick, executive director of San Jose State University’s Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), told FreightWaves. “It threatens lives, destroys equipment, disrupts service and literally costs billions of dollars for response and recovery to the transport sector in the communities served. And so when I think about freight, for example, we’re already in such a crisis when it comes to the supply chain. If that were to further be disrupted because of different climate-related events then that just exasperates the problem further.”
With this in mind, Philbrick’s organization is seeking to address how the U.S. passenger and freight rail network can become climate resilient.