Environment

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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 […]

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    The EU talks big on protecting the Arctic under the guise of ‘sustainable development’

The EU talks big on protecting the Arctic under the guise of ‘sustainable development’

Half a millennium ago, the myth of a lost city of gold drove scores of Europeans to the Americas in search of wealth. Today, images of a new ‘El Dorado’ with fathomless (energy) resources are attracting players from all over the world to a very different place: the Arctic. Driven by the prospect of economic, primarily energy-related opportunities, a […]

November 24th, 2018|Environment|1 Comment|
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    As ‘techno-politics’ holds sway, is a water commons possible in China?

As ‘techno-politics’ holds sway, is a water commons possible in China?

So far the debate about China’s current environmental issues has given little consideration to already existing popular alternatives to the top-down, growth-compatible governance of the country’s endangered natural resources. Forty years of Party-sanctified insistence on pursuing relentless economic development has seemingly muffled the few dissenting voices and suppressed alternative discourses in natural resource management — such as those concerned with stewardship, care, maintenance, […]

Encouraging customers to go paperless

The rapid rise of digital communications ushers new opportunities for corporate environmental responsibility. For instance, online conferencing provides alternatives to air travel for meetings of international colleagues, and online form submission and bill payment schemes reduce requisite paper communications between companies and their patrons. Yet mandating that employees or customers use these options can cause resentment by appearing as […]

Synthetic knowledge and the internet of things

In principle, there is broad consensus that knowledge should be the basis of environmental sustainability policies. Knowledge about the environment is often generated by corporations, in addition to governments, as part of their industrial activities (Mukerji 1989).

The Arctic is an important crossroads of industrial development and environmental preservation (Figure 1), as calculations suggest that it contains one-fourth of the […]

What are green jobs and where are they?

Addressing grand environmental challenges (e.g. climate change) entails adapting the skill base and, thus, the composition of the workforce. Recent interventions both in the form of environmental regulation or of subsidies – i.e. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and its green component, which accounts approximately for 15 per cent of the overall fiscal stimulus – […]

October 17th, 2018|Economics, Environment|0 Comments|
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    Fracking in the UK: how could a technologically advanced society choose to destroy itself?

Fracking in the UK: how could a technologically advanced society choose to destroy itself?

Prime Minister Theresa May recently doubled down on the Conservative Party’s commitment to the development of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas (‘fracking’) in the UK. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister proposed £1 billion of additional resources be directed to local communities and councils to support their acceptance of this new source of fossil fuel extraction. Fracking, […]

October 16th, 2018|Environment|1 Comment|
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    China is investing in developing countries – what is it really up to?

China is investing in developing countries – what is it really up to?

What types of energy does China finance with its development aid?

China has been steadily intensifying its economic and strategic relations with developing countries in recent years. Through deepening trade ties, large-scale infrastructure financing and its ambitious vision to create ‘seamless connectivity’ through three main infrastructure sectors (energy, transport and information and communications technology) across continents through its Belt and […]