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Weekly Highlights | From climate action gender focus to nuclear power reconsiderations

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. COP and Carbon Trading: Can This Time Be Different?

By Bloomberg Green

  • Clinching an agreement on international carbon-market trading is a key benchmark of success at COP26
  • There are two kinds of carbon trading. One is about country-to-country exchanges of carbon credits — where one nation essentially pays another to cut emissions on its behalf. The other is about offsets traded by public and private players
  • A well designed agreement would help cut emissions, spur up to $1 trillion of investment in poorer nations, and encourage low-carbon innovation. But if the rules are too lax, it will merely give a free pass to companies and countries to emit more than they should

2. Why Climate Action Needs a Gender Focus


  • Women are facing more climate-related risks than men. For example, women are more at risk in climate-induced disasters
  • Current climate change mitigation and adaptation measures also put women at a disadvantage mostly because they are underrepresented in the fast-growth green economy
  • Adopting a gender lens on climate action can only bring benefits. One way to do so is through embedding gender in climate investments, ensuring women get access to capital and funding and thus fully participate in the road to net-zero economies

3. COP26: Where Does All the Climate Finance Money Go?

By Financial Times

  • In 2009, rich nations promised they would send at least $100bn a year in climate finance to poorer countries by 2020
  • But last week, on the eve of COP26, donor countries admitted they missed that target in 2020. Now they expect to reach it in 2022 or 2023, years later than planned
  • There is little agreement on how to spend the money, who should receive it, or how to make sure it is used effectively. There is even a dispute about how it should be measured, and what should be counted as climate finance

4. The Supermajors Have an LNG Problem

By The Economist

  • Gorgon project, in Australia, cost $54bn to build, $20bn over budget. Furthermore, since production started in 2016 Gorgon has been dogged by unplanned outages
  • The big investments, complex engineering and generation-spanning paybacks of projects such as Gorgon have long made the LNG business one of boom and bust
  • Another example? A jihadi conflict on the north-eastern coast of Mozambique has at least temporarly halted a $20bn offshore LNG project by Total, which declared force majeure in April

5. Helion Secures $2.2B to Commercialize Fusion Energy

By TechCrunch

  • Fusion energy has been a fiery drema for lovers of clean energy, promising all the benefits of current-generation nuclear fission reactors, at a fraction of the risk and with very little radioactive waste
  • Helion Energy, a energy company committed to creating zero-carbon electricity from fusion, announced the close of its $0.5bn series E, with an additional $1.5bn of commitments
  • David Kirtley, Helion’s co-founder and CEO points out that the goal is to generate electricity at a commercial scale, with the aim to generate more electricity than what it takes to run the fusion reactor by 2024

6. Using Private Finance to Scale Up EV Charging Infrastructure

By Energy Monitor

  • Siemens stresses that public funds will be insufficient to close the investment gap for EV charging infrastructure, due to added pressures on public capital in the wake of Covid-19
  • According to Siemens’ new report, private finance will be imperative to meet the $104.11bn global investment gap for electric vehicle  charging infrastructure by 2024-2026
  • Obtaining private finance to support the deployment of EV charging infrastructure can be simple, the report implies, citing the case of German utility SWW Wunsiedel

7. Which Investment Approach Has the Most Impact: Divesting, Engaging or Activism?

By UN Climate Change

  • Engaging involves working with companies to encourage them to reduce emissions and to be transparent when it comes to reporting on them, such as on UN Climate Change’s Global Climate Action Portal
  • If divestment and engaging are working within the system, activism is often seen as working outside of it. Activists would argue that engagement doesn’t work, and that the sort of civil disobedience tactics by the likes of Extinction Rebellion generates huge news coverage, thereby generating more awareness of the problem
  • How this area plays out in the next decade will be fascinating, although it is not clear if engagement or activism will eventually overtake divestment as a central strategy

8. The 50 Most Influential Companies and Industry Associations Blocking Climate Policy Action Globally

By Influence Map

  • InfluenceMap’s 2021 Climate Policy Footprint report identifies the world’s most obstructive corporate and industry association holding back Paris Agreement-aligned climate policy
  • The top five most negatively influential global companies on Paris-aligned climate policy are in order: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Toyota, Southern Company and Sempra
  • 13 of the 25 most obstructive industry associations globally directly represent fossil energy sector, with the most negatively influential industry association being the American Petroleum Institute, according to the report

9. Will the Climate Crisis Force America to Reconsider Nuclear Power?

By The Economist

  • In California, the only remaining nuclear plant produces 9% of the state’s electricity, and 15% of its clean electricity. However, this plant is set to close in 2025, as renewables are continuously becoming cheaper and demand for nuclear is down
  • This will probably put California in troubles for three reasons: the state has passed a law requiring it to reach 100% clean-electricity by 2045; a mega-drought is pressuring its hydro power generation; blackouts are becoming more frequent due to heatwaves
  • New studies have shown keeping the plant in operation would have financial and environmental benefits, as nuclear is a clean and reliable power source

10. Sir David Attenborough at COP26

By PBS NewsHour

  • British naturalist Sir David Attenborough has urged COP26 climate summit delegates to "turn tragedy into triumph" and tackle climate change
  • In an impassioned speech which drew a standing ovation, he said the fate of future generations must give delegates the impetus "to rewrite our story"
  • He also criticised wealthier nations, saying this was also a story of inequality and that "those who've done the least to cause this problem are being the hardest hit."
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