Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

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Few of those attending COP26 can benefit as much from the emerging low-carbon economy as Pat Brown, the founder of California plant-based meat group Impossible Foods. And few are willing to speak so bluntly about the challenges the world will face in that transition.

When we met at a Glasgow hotel for coffee yesterday, Brown said he shares the frustration of young activists like Mitzi Jonelle Tan and Dominika Lasota, who exhibited in Moral Money last week.

“This is their future,” the 67-year-old Brown said. “People of my generation are like, ‘By the time it bites us in the butt, we’ll be dead.'”

Brown, whose company is rumors to plan a $ 10 billion flotation, he said he wants plant-based meat substitutes to make the U.S. beef industry completely obsolete by 2035. In a new scientist paper, the longtime university academic investigates how the conversion of animal grazing to bushveld can have a powerful and fast-acting impact on slowing global warming.

To help drive this and other much-needed changes, Brown said, an efficient global carbon market is needed. But he saw little movement in that direction at COP26 – including in addressing what he sees as the poor state of the carbon offsets sector, which used by a growing number of large corporations.

“Right now, any scammer can create and sell carbon credits,” Brown said. “It makes the value of that system about zero.”

Serious action to set standards for an efficient carbon market is, according to Brown, just one of many uncomfortable challenges being avoided by powerful politicians and business leaders in Glasgow this month. “Their main goal at COP is to emerge as uninterrupted as possible,” Brown said. “What is needed is radical change, and fast.”

Read on for Gillian’s inside of the progress – or lack thereof – after that change during the first week of COP26, and what to look out for during the second. Simon Mundy

Day 5-7 in brief

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends Diwali celebrations in London on Sunday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends Diwali celebrations in London on Sunday © Getty Images

  • About 100,000 protesters participated Saturday in a climate march, which was described by police as “benevolent” despite 22 arrests.

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged delegates to pursue “bold compromises and ambitious commitments”, while his environment minister said the country was looking at introducing a carbon border tax on imports.

  • Barack Obama arrived last night in Glasgow, ahead of an expected speech to the summit today.

Talk point

Do you feel COP’d? After a week of intense discussions – and protests – in Glasgow, some participants may mumble “yes”. Especially since we are now dodging the gloomy Scottish drizzle. But last week brought some important news: a agreement to reduce coal consumption (although watered down, and without notable role players such as China, USA and Australia); an agreement to reduce methane emissions; promise on deforestation; and the announcement of a $ 130tn private sector capital alliance for decarbonization.

All of these developments will spark more debate this week, as the devil will be in the green detail of these promises. But also keep your eyes on these five issues:

1. Carbon deposits

Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters spoke to a delegate at COP26 last week

Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered, talks to a delegate at COP26 last week © AFP via Getty Images

In recent years, financial greats such as Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, and Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England, have insisted on making the carbon offsets market more credible. This is vital as the industry faces serious questions about its suitability for purpose and the corporate world will need to use it to have any chance of reaching net zero. Its success will depend in part on whether countries can agree this week on a UN plan to create a uniform global market for trade, in line with Article 6 of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Keep an eye on it.

2. Carbon prices

Protesters take to the streets of Glasgow to highlight the effects of the climate crisis on African countries

Protesters gather in Glasgow streets to highlight the effects of the climate crisis on African countries © Getty Images

At COP26, a coherent global approach to carbon prices and taxes seemed off the table as Joe Biden’s US administration dragged its feet for domestic political reasons. But after listening to the talks in Glasgow, it’s clear that there is broad-based – and growing – support for this idea. It was also highlighted for the first time in a recent G20 statement. Look at this conversation, as it (if nothing else) might give a hint of more substantive discussions in the next COP.

3. Cars, planes, ships and more

Transportation is on the agenda midweek, along with mining and other industrial sectors. Look here for clues as to what drives investment trends there.

4. Government decarbonisation obligations

The final agreement on various national emission reductions is still being negotiated and will probably only appear at the end of COP26 on Friday. Last week, progress was made, with a collection of countries agreeing to reduce coal use. The Energy Transition Commission reckons that promises made so far will reduce annual emissions by 9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year by 2030. But it’s not enough to “keep 1.5 degrees alive” (refer to the idea that global warming should not be allowed to exceed that level), and China and the US are still making fewer promises about emission cuts than activists ( and scientists) would like to see.

5. Cash

Emerging market countries expressed outrage last week that rich countries did not live up to an earlier promise this year to provide $ 100 billion worth of decarbonisation aid between now and 2025. Rich countries say they will do so after 2023 and the UK government has tried to lift the blow through net-zero commitments of a new alliance of large financial groups with $ 130tn in assets. But no one really knows what will happen to that $ 100 billion pledge when it runs out in 2025. It is also not clear how that $ 130 billion commitment will play out. The situation is similar to someone plugging in a final destination with GPS while waiting for the route to appear on the screen.

Quote of the day

There are more COP26 delegates working or representing the fossil fuel industry than from any single country, the BBC reported.

Global Witness found that 503 people with links with fossil fuel interests were accredited for the climate summit.

“The presence of hundreds of those paid to advance the toxic interests of polluting fossil fuel companies will only increase the skepticism of climate activists who see these talks as more evidence of global leaders’ turmoil and delay,” said Murray Worthy, Gas Field Tour Leader at Global Witness. “There is no time for us to be distracted by greenwashing or meaningless corporate promises that are not matched by delivery. It is time for politicians to show that they are serious about ending the influence of big polluters. “

Beyond Glasgow: The Worldview

Nancy Pelosi, American House Speaker, is scheduled to attend COP26 this week

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House, is scheduled to attend COP26 this week © Getty Images

Finally, after months of arguing, the landmark U.S. Infrastructure Bill is done, which leaves many Washington Democrats hungry for something green to chew on next.

US leaders will try to give COP26 one last moment this week with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama scheduled to attend. These A-list goers arrive in Glasgow days after Congress voted to adopt President Joe Biden’s $ 1.2tn infrastructure package.

The bill is seen as an appetizer to the larger, “Build Better Back” package that will dedicate more funds to climate-specific projects. The White House immediately switched to the plea for the next course on the menu on Sunday.

“What’s on our minds is the fact that the Build Back Better Plan we talked about has the largest investment in American history to get us to a clean energy economy, to create millions of jobs in this country that moving forward towards sustainable, renewable energy, ”said White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain Meet the press on Sunday.

“President Biden was in Glasgow,” Klain said. “The presidents of Russia and China were not. We are going to lead the world in tackling climate change. We will approve this bill and have the tools to do so. ”

But that’s easier said than done. Moderate Democrats are reluctant to promote trillions of dollars more in federal spending, especially after the party suffered defeats in local elections this month.

“The responsible thing to do when you get a piece of legislation like this is to do a full analysis and to understand the impact on your district and the families in your district,” Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer said Sunday. CNN said.

COP26 may be a world away, but it resonates in Washington. Climate protesters gathered outside the Capitol for a hunger strike to pressure Senator Joe Manchin and other moderate Democrats to act on climate legislation.

It remains to be seen how continued pressure on the rebellious Democrats will affect them. Team Biden has reasons to be optimistic. Pressure could force moderates to agree on something, no matter how small, so that the climate inquiry they face in 2022 disappears. Democrats will want to present a united front to voters ahead of midterm elections in 12 months from now. Something to chew on. Patrick Temple-Wes

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