Life is full of clichés and business is no exception. "What gets measured gets done" is a favourite. Another favourite is "money talks". Both are basically saying when there's a result or money on the line, things will happen. This week, money continued to talk when it came to climate change. The talk came from some big players in the world's financial system.
The website, Blue and Green Tomorrow reported that the Bank of England is taking a heightened interest in climate change, saying it could have an impact on the financial markets. A paper from the bank notes, as many others have, that the move to a low-carbon economy could leave fossil fuel assets ‘stranded’. In an ominous warning to policy makers and markets, the report states “Fundamental changes in the environment could affect economic and financial stability and the safety and soundness of financial firms, with clear potential implications for central banks.” It is reports from the likes of central banks, defense departments (as has been seen in the United States) that will demand action from politicians on climate change.
Still in Europe, Renew Economy reports Deutsche Bank saying the solar market is massive and will generate $5 trillion in revenue by 2030. "Deutsche Bank has produced another major report that suggests solar will become the dominant electricity source around the world as it beats conventional fuels, generates $5 trillion in revenue over the next 15 years, and displaces large amounts of fossil fuels," reports Renew Economy
The preparations in Europe are in full swing for the all-important climate meeting in Paris at the end of the year. In the last week, the European Commission outlined its vision for how Europe and the rest of the world should work together under a new United Nations pact to spare the planet the worst effects of climate change. Scientific American reports European Union’s executive body sent a memo to EU lawmakers and heads of state, outlining a “blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020.” The memo states that the “Paris Protocol must” secure commitments from world governments to “ambitious reductions” of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent below 2010 levels in 2050, by “setting out clear, specific, ambitious and fair legally binding mitigation commitments” that ensure global warming is kept to less than 2°C (3.6°F).
Back home, Renew Economy reports that two of the nation’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters are increasing their focus on solar. The story looks at Origin Energy and AGL Energy, the largest electricity utilities in Australia, and their plans for distributed energy. "AGL Energy this week became the first of the big energy retailers in Australia to publicly launch its new zero-down rooftop solar product, a power purchase agreement that will see AGL own the panels, and customers pay for the output. Origin has been trialling a similar product with family and friends, and last week quietly opened it up to the public. Both utilities remain cautious in their approach, with AGL saying its Solar Smart Plan of will be “limited volume” in NSW and South Australia. Renew Economy reports the reason being that "distributed energy works against the very model that has dominated their industry for a century. Getting the balance right will be critical for the future of both companies, and many others."
Returning to clichés, this week Australia's "dirty dozen" top greenhouse gas emitters list was published in Renew Economy. The website reports on new data indicating "fossil-fueled electricity generation remains Australia’s largest industrial and corporate source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for more than half of the carbon pollution emitted nationally last year. According to the 2013-14 National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) data, published by the federal government’s Clean Energy Regulator late last week, Australia’s power generation companies are still the country’s biggest producers of scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions, with the big three 'gentailers' – EnergyAustralia, AGL Energy and Origin Energy – coming in at numbers 1, 3 and 6 respectively in the rankings for Australia’s most polluting companies."
Finally, many of those concerned about El Nino can breathe a mild sigh of relief. After a nervous few months, it has finally been declared, but predicted to be weak. Coupled with a warming climate, one can't help thinking we were let off the hook, this time.
This Week in Climate Change (formally The Week That Was), a weekly review of climate change politics, policy, innovation and science from Climate Reality Leader Andrew Woodward. @climatecomm