Environment

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    War rhetoric is rarely the best way to communicate about climate change

War rhetoric is rarely the best way to communicate about climate change

Wartime rhetoric, especially harking back to World War II, pervades public discourse in many fields. In the UK, this is currently a device associated particularly with the Brexit ‘debate’. But here and around the world such emotive framing now extends to the climate emergency. Esteemed economist Joseph Stiglitz has referred to the climate crisis as humanity’s Third World War, […]

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    How do you clean up Brazil’s worst environmental disaster?

How do you clean up Brazil’s worst environmental disaster?

Brazil suffered its worst environmental disaster in November 2015. A dam containing waste from an iron ore mine collapsed, killing 19 people and distributing an estimated 39.2 million cubic metres of brown, toxic mud along the Doce river in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The village of Bento Rodrigues was completely destroyed. The polluted material travelled through to […]

July 22nd, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|

There’s real momentum for renewable energy in Europe

Green parties were among the main winners in May’s European elections. Indeed, they have become a political force in the new European Parliament, and their success should add significant momentum to the push toward renewable energy transition in an otherwise unsympathetic environment. Yet for this to lead to a real tipping point for renewable energy in the EU, the […]

July 20th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|
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    Carbon pricing is finally enjoying some momentum, despite setbacks

Carbon pricing is finally enjoying some momentum, despite setbacks

Carbon pricing has been implemented by more than 50 jurisdictions worldwide, and currently covers more than 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions according to the most recent World Bank report on the subject. The jurisdictions pricing carbon include both developed and developing countries. South Africa approved a carbon tax earlier this year. The most recent addition to […]

July 12th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|
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    Circular economy: reducing symptoms or fostering radical change?

Circular economy: reducing symptoms or fostering radical change?

Our civilisation is experiencing significant challenges on many fronts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that we have a little over a decade to turn around our economic system to avoid catastrophic changes to the global climate system (IPCC 2018). The Stockholm Resilience Center published a report stating that we have exceeded the ‘safe operating space’ in three […]

July 4th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|
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    How development banks can adapt to climate risk: the case of Mexico’s NAFIN

How development banks can adapt to climate risk: the case of Mexico’s NAFIN

Policymakers the world over are exploring a range of strategies to mitigate and adapt to greenhouse-gas emissions and manage the unavoidable effects of climate change.

At the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), representatives agreed to keep any increase in global average temperature within 2°C of pre-industrial levels and also […]

‘Climate Spring’ reaches the financial sector

Spring is traditionally the season of regrowth and new hope. And this is certainly the case with the resurgence in efforts this year in Europe to confront the climate crisis. Over a few short weeks in April and May – what I like to call the ‘Climate Spring’ of 2019 – an extraordinary pattern of events converged to swing […]

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    UK business plays a crucial role in meeting the 2050 net-zero target

UK business plays a crucial role in meeting the 2050 net-zero target

The UK set its first climate change target back in 1997 under the Kyoto Protocol. With a commitment to reduce emissions by 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, the target allowed for incremental decarbonisation efforts as opposed to an economy-wide transition. Nonetheless, the UK managed to reduce its carbon intensity (tonnes of carbon emitted per […]

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    Market incentives are stacked against companies that try to care about climate change

Market incentives are stacked against companies that try to care about climate change

When the conservative government insists that traded corporations and investment funds should be left to self-regulate around the climate emergency they should recognise that the only arguments supporting them are the theories that gave us the global financial crisis. But if the crisis taught us anything it was that unregulated financial markets are not, in fact, rational in the […]

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    A global research network to help green the financial system

A global research network to help green the financial system

Back in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed, just a handful of regulators were engaged with climate change risk, notably the Bank of England and the People’s Bank of China.

But now momentum is growing. March 2019 alone saw three important steps forward. First, the Bank of England’s Mark Carney, one of the first central bankers to take action […]

UK wine: the risks and opportunities of a changing climate

Frequently described as the ‘the canary in the coalmine’ of global agriculture, wine grapes are exceptionally climatically sensitive and grow at their best only within narrow climatic bands – typically between 13 and 21°C. Warmer climates have brought a larger area of the UK within the ideal climatic range for a number of commercially popular wine grape varieties, including […]

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    Solar geoengineering: what if countries could move the earth’s thermostat?

Solar geoengineering: what if countries could move the earth’s thermostat?

Solar geoengineering (also known as solar radiation management) is a technology in its infancy – and it is controversial. It has the potential to reverse or mitigate some of the global warming caused by greenhouse gases by either releasing cooling particles (for instance sulphur) into the stratosphere, or by modifying clouds over the oceans so that they reflect more […]

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    US factories are polluting less, but regulation rollbacks threaten air quality

US factories are polluting less, but regulation rollbacks threaten air quality

In the 1960s, there were worries that U.S. economic growth would lead to increasingly dangerous levels of pollution, and that by the year 2000, air pollution would make cities like Los Angeles and New York uninhabitable. Instead, U.S. air quality has improved dramatically since then. Between 1990 and 2008, emissions of the most common air pollutants from U.S. manufacturing […]

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    Sustainable finance in troubling times: five actions to prevent a crisis

Sustainable finance in troubling times: five actions to prevent a crisis

Sustainable finance ended 2018 on a high. Never before has so much capital been committed to integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. But financial markets also entered an unnerving cycle. If we are not careful, growing financial turbulence could divert attention away from the urgent need to scale up investment in climate action and sustainable development. Instead of […]

Choosing policies for higher fuel efficiency

Throughout the world there have been efforts to reduce gasoline consumption and carbon emissions by changing the cost per mile traveled. One of the reasons to justify such efforts is the concern that emissions from conventional vehicles, which is the second source of carbon emissions after the electricity sector in the U.S., may have serious consequences for the environment.

There […]

January 17th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|

Can we afford our consumer society?

Economic growth has helped millions out of poverty. The jobs it creates mean rising incomes and consumers who buy more. This drives further growth and higher living standards, including better health and education. Yet WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, has recently warned that exploding human consumption is the driving force behind unprecedented planetary change, through increased demand for energy, […]

January 15th, 2019|Environment|2 Comments|
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    Transitioning to a zero-carbon economy: the next frontier in responsible investing

Transitioning to a zero-carbon economy: the next frontier in responsible investing

At first sight, the worlds of investment and of work can appear to be very distant from one another. Financial markets remain driven by short-term factors, where workers are often regarded simply as a cost of production to be minimised.

A growing number of institutional investors, however, see this as a parody of what is needed to successfully deliver long-term […]

January 2nd, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|
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    As Southern Africa faces new urban drought challenges, who is heeding the wake-up call?

As Southern Africa faces new urban drought challenges, who is heeding the wake-up call?

The climatic events in southern Africa that followed the El Niño of 2015/16 – one of the strongest El Niño events in the past 50 years – manifested as below-normal precipitation during key parts of the rainy seasons in both years, and heat waves. Reduced rainfall in southern Africa is typical of El Niño years and when the event […]

December 20th, 2018|Environment|0 Comments|
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    The tensions underlying how China deals with environmental complaints

The tensions underlying how China deals with environmental complaints

In recent years, environmental activism has been increasingly vibrant in many emerging economies. As the economy becomes more developed, the public’s awareness of environmental sustainability has been rising. One notable example is China as Chinese citizens have begun expressing their concern for the natural environment via both online channels and through public protests. Yet China is an authoritarian country […]

December 7th, 2018|Environment|1 Comment|
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    Capitalising on technological change and the low-carbon transition in the UK

Capitalising on technological change and the low-carbon transition in the UK

An overarching strategy for sustainable growth is required to address the dual challenges of restoring productivity growth and managing a transition to a low-carbon economy – priorities in both the UK and other G20 countries. Against the backdrop of an uncertain economic climate as the UK recasts its relationship with Europe and the rest of the world, and as […]