Corporate clean energy buying leapt 44% in 2019, sets new record

by BloombergNEF


Corporations bought a record amount of clean energy through power purchase agreements, or PPAs, in 2019, up more than 40% from the previous year’s record. The majority of this purchasing occurred in the United States.

  • BloombergNEF’s 2020 Corporate Energy Market Outlook found that approximately 19.5GW of clean energy contracts were signed by more than 100 corporations in 23 different countries in 2019. This was up from 13.6GW in 2018, and more than triple the activity seen in 2017.
  • Corporations have purchased over 50GW of clean energy since 2008. That is bigger than the power generation fleets of markets like Vietnam and Poland.
  • It was a record year for corporate PPAs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America, where companies purchased 2.6GW and 2GW of clean energy.
  • BNEF estimates these 221 RE100 companies will need to purchase an additional 210TWh of clean electricity in 2030 to meet their targets.

The Climate Center’s Business for Clean Energy program offers networking and inspiration. Member businesses share the opportunities, challenges, and best practices for decarbonizing their businesses.

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‘Green Swan’ climate event could trigger global financial crisis, BIS warns

by Jana Randow, Bloomberg Green, January 20, 2020


  • Climate change threatens to provoke “green swan” events that could trigger a systemic financial crisis unless authorities act against such risks, according to the Bank for International Settlements
  • Many central banks already contribute to the effort by monitoring climate-related risks through stress tests, incorporating environmental, social and governance criteria in pension funds, or working with banks on disclosing carbon-intensive exposure to assess potential financial-stability risks
  • The analysis by officials at the Basel-based institution–often described as the central bank for central banks– adapts the “black swan” concept devised by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to describe adverse events outside the scope of regular expectations with wide-ranging or extreme impacts

The bank’s warning drives home the need for rapid decarbonization to avoid destabilizing the planet’s climate, as well as our global economic system.

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Investment funds with high sustainability ratings outperform S&P 500: Barron’s

by Jennifer Nastu, Environmental Leader, January 20, 2020


  • A report published last summer from Ethical Markets showed an upward trend in private “green” investments worldwide and claimed these investments equal a cumulative $10.387 trillion as of 2019
  • 68 out of the 153 active ESG managed US stocks didn’t make Barron’s list of the most sustainable funds
  • The number of investors that are interested in sustainable investing has gone up by 10%
  • Funds with “above average” or “high” sustainability ratings outperformed comparable funds with lower ratings in sustainability, according to Barron’s fourth annual ranking of ESG investing
  • Of the 189 funds that met the ESG criteria in 2019, 41% outperformed the S&P 500 index for the year. That’s compared to just 29% of big-cap equity funds overall that beat the index

The Climate Center has a network of sustainable businesses called the Business of Clean Energy program. Members include clean energy providers, sustainable food companies, and banks that have a “do no harm” policy for investments, and thus, do not invest in fossil fuel infrastructure. In addition, some members loan money for clean energy investments.

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EU sets out trillion euro plan to avert ‘climate crash’

by Marine Strauss, Reuters

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) – The EU budget chief said the bloc needs to invest dedicated funds to avert a “climate crash” as Brussels detailed how it planned to pay for a trillion euro push to cut net C02 emissions to zero by 2050 and protect member countries dependent on coal.

The financial challenge for Europe is huge: the European Commission executive arm estimates that halving emissions by 2030 would require 260 billion euros of investment a year in the energy, transport and construction sectors.

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631 institutional investors managing more than USD 37 trillion in assets urge governments to step up climate ambition

by The Investor Agenda

631 institutional investors managing more than $37 trillion in assets urged governments to step up efforts to tackle the global climate crisis and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, in a joint statement issued today at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25). The ​Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change​, developed by the seven Founding Partners of ​The Investor Agenda​, urges governments to phase out thermal coal power, put a meaningful price on carbon pollution, end subsidies for fossil fuels, and ​update and strengthen nationally-determined contributions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and the financial system to climate risks,” the investors wrote. They warned the current government commitments leave an “ambition gap” that will not prevent global average temperature from rising beyond the 1.5 degree threshold that scientists warn could trigger catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change.

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The power of finance to transform our economy

by Gregor Macdonald, The Energy Transition

In the spring of this year, the Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation
(OCBC) announced it would halt all future financing for new coal projects, save for two final newbuilds in Vietnam: Van Phong 1 at 1.3 gigawatts (GW) and Vung Ang 2 at 1.2 GW. By November, OCBC, the second largest bank in southeast Asia, announced it was dropping out of the second project, thus bringing to a sudden end its long history of coal-led project finance.

Meanwhile, in North America, Oregon-based PacifiCorp held a two-day public meeting in October to announce its plans to retire nearly 4.5 GW of coal capacity across 20 different plants by 2038, but with 60 percent of that volume under an accelerated retirement schedule by 2030. The utility, a major operator of coal in the western United States, had been warning all year that wind, solar, and storage were looking like a better value proposition to utility customers. And in particular, the utility warned that continuing to run old coal capacity would yield nothing but losses. Armed with a software model, PacifiCorp came to a surprising conclusion: it was now possible to shutter old coal, take the losses, and still return savings to customers through the buildout of new renewable assets.

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How to make carbon pricing palatable to air travelers

University of British Columbia & EDF; read full article at ScienceDaily

  • Travelers are willing to pay a little more for flights if they know the extra money will be used to address carbon emissions, per new study 

How those fees are presented at the time of ticket purchase is the key to consumer acceptance. People respond better when the fee is labeled as a carbon offset rather than a tax. And they respond better if they know the producers and importers of airplane fuel have been billed for it — not just themselves.

“People have the perception that the oil companies are the ones responsible for climate change, or at least more responsible than they are,” says study co-author David Hardisty, an assistant professor of marketing and behavioural science at UBC Sauder School of Business. “Consumers are more supportive of carbon pricing if it’s directed at the fossil fuel producers and importers than if it’s directed at consumers.”….

David J. Hardisty, Alec T. Beall, Ruben Lubowski, Annie Petsonk, Rainer Romero-Canyas. A carbon price by another name may seem sweeter: Consumers prefer upstream offsets to downstream taxesJournal of Environmental Psychology, 2019; 66: 101342 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.101342