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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


Climate Change: What You Need to Know

Every year, the climate crisis intensifies — promising severe droughts, supercharged storms, blistering heatwaves, and other extreme weather events — threatening the lives and livelihoods of billions of people, and overwhelming the capacities of governments around the world. But there’s…


The end of the internal-combustion car: Why competition is vital to bringing about cleaner transport

Political back-and-forths bring up whether Europe is making any progress with the green transition

On 7 March 2023, just as the European Council was preparing to vote on a ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine cars in Europe from 2035, something went wrong: Germany, whose vote was essential for the measure to be approved and a coalition of six other European countries blocked the vote on the text, pushing the legislation back indefinitely.

A few days later, the European Commission, representing all the member countries, unveiled its response to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Net-Zero Industry Act, a competitiveness plan based on accelerating the green transition.

Amid all the political back-and-forths, one would be forgiven for asking oneself whether Europe is making any progress with the green transition.

It would appear the European Union (EU) has become Janus, with a pro-transition face and a procrastinating face, just as a pro-competition face contrasts with a protectionist face. The consequence of such contradictions is a loss of credibility when it comes to achieving its objectives and a delay in the race toward ecological transition.

A lead to maintain

Yet the EU seemed well on the way to establishing itself as a world leader in the transition, with its dynamic green ecosystem made up of innovative businesses supported by the “European Climate Bank”, as the EIB (European Investment Bank) likes to call itself.

At the end of February, the EIB reaffirmed its intention to champion green initiatives by channelling the vast majority of its funds toward the transition, beyond the already honourable level of 60 per cent achieved by 2022.

The EU also seems to be particularly ahead of the game on green hydrogen, boasting a number of important projects of European interest (IPCEI), the world’s leading number of patents (ranking last January by the International Energy Agency) and an embryonic hydrogen bank.

Hydrogen production: Europe leads the race for patents

You can find more infographics at Statista.

This position is confirmed by foreign investors who find themselves attracted to the bloc’s green policies and regulatory clout.

Take the latest Border Carbon Tax Mechanism (CBAM), which is set to place a carbon price on imports entering the European single market from non-EU countries from this autumn: It is a textbook example of how to take into account negative ecological impacts while respecting competition thanks to the price signal. The recent revaluation of the price of a tonne of CO2 above 100 euros suggests that it will be very effective indeed.

That’s if we don’t undermine it with exemptions and deferrals sine die, or disguised pollution subsidies such as France’s energy “tariff shield”). According to the IEA, Europe spent nearly 350 billion euros on such measures in 2022 — a record high.

To give businesses and investors the certainty that the EU won’t be going backwards, we need to set clear, consistent targets and stick to them. It is essential to anchor players’ expectations on a fixed and certain horizon so that markets can be challenged, competition can be triggered and private investment can flow.

Any form of renunciation by the EU will discourage players from speeding up the transition and will cause those who were ahead of schedule in reaching the 2035 horizon to backpedal.

Avoiding “the tragedy of the horizon”

To remain competitive, French carmaker Renault has focused its clean-car strategy on its electricity division and split its activities into five divisions — Ampere (clean vehiciles), Power (thermal and hybrid motors), Alpine (sport), Mobilize (new forms of mobility) and The Future Is Neutral (circular economy). Power is intended to be supported in part by the profits from the project “Horse”, which involves a joint venture with the Chinese carmaker Geely.

Stellantis — the parent company of Chrysler as well as European brands such as Peugeot, Citroën, Fiat and and Alfa Romeo — has also positioned itself in the premium segment of the clean-car market, alongside other players such as Tesla of the US and French energy giant TotalEnergies, which is equipping its service station network with recharging stations.

These moves demonstrate the decisive role of competition in developing a range of products and services in line with the imperatives of the energy transition.

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Open markets allow new players to join or withdraw on terms that suit them, thus fostering competition and innovation. This virtuous circle is essential to overcoming the technological frontier of transition — the most advanced level of research at a given time — and get a jump on tomorrow’s solutions.

In theory, an economy that’s open to competition leads to sophistication in the value proposition of offerings and to shared value for all: quality of service and lower prices to the benefit of demand greater returns on innovation and scale and attraction of scarce resources to the benefit of supply.

The longer the European Union postpones its objectives and gives in to protectionist pressures, the longer it will be locked into what former Canadian central banker Marc Carney has called the tragedy of the horizon and so the more it will fall behind its rivals.

The EU would benefit from remaining consistent with its founding principle of competition and its four fundamental freedoms (movement of goods, capital, services and people) to attract the capital needed for the transition and the infrastructure essential for its spread (such as electric charging stations) and acceptability.

At a time when the United States has strayed into protectionism, the EU must stand firm on its commitments and remain faithful to competition, the virtues of which will accelerate the transition and its spread with accessible solutions.

It’s time to move on from “greenwishing”, as the American economist Nouriel Roubini called it ironically, to green-enacting thanks to a winning combination of competitiveness and attractiveness.The Conversation

Anna Souakri, Affiliate Professor in Strategy/Innovation & Researcher at Square Management, ESCP Business School and Jean-Marc Daniel, Emeritus associate Professor, Law Economics & Humanities, ESCP Business School

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

‘Safe and just’ climate boundary has already been breached, says contested study – Carbon Brief

Almost all global thresholds for a “safe and just” planet have already been breached, including for the climate, ecosystems and freshwater, according to new research. The new study develops the idea of “planetary boundaries“, first set out in an influential…

Climate Shocks Are Making Parts of America Uninsurable. It Just Got Worse.

The largest insurer in California said it would stop offering new coverage. It’s part of a broader trend of companies pulling back from dangerous areas. The climate crisis is becoming a financial crisis. This month, the largest homeowner insurance company…

As Net Zero Costs Soar And Mandates Kick In, The Climate Blame Game Begins

What do we do about the climate madness? That’s the issue that Lord Frost addressed in a recent speech to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in Britain. Short answer: not much, not yet. But there is hope. Frost reckons that…


Climate lawsuits against major polluters linked with fall in their stock prices: Study

Big emitters hurt the most by new cases and unfavourable verdicts in climate litigation

The civil society holding polluting companies accountable for causing climate change has not only helped grant climate justice but also changed how investors perceive these companies. A new working paper is the first to quantify this impact. 

The analysis found that company share prices dropped in the days following a fresh climate lawsuit or a negative court verdict, news organisation The Guardian reported.

The report was based on a working paper by the The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science. 

The researchers looked at how the market reacted to 108 lawsuit filings and verdicts against 98 companies listed in the United States and Europe from 2005 and 2021.

They found that “climate litigation filings or unfavourable court decisions reduced firm value by -0.41 per cent on average”.

Companies that emit the most, termed ‘Carbon Majors’ in the study, were affected the most, the findings showed. Their value dropped by -0.57 per cent following a new lawsuit against them and by -1.50 per cent after an unfavourable judgement. These companies include those operating in energy, utilities and materials sectors. 

They also identified another major factor that hurt market sentiments the most: New cases including “a new form of legal argument or in a jurisdiction that has not previously seen a case”.

A similar trend was not seen for cases that are not Carbon Majors, the authors wrote. 

Over a three-day window from the day before, or and after the filing, new cases led to an abnormal decrease in share prices by -0.35 per cent, the report noted.

During the study period, the number of climate litigation in a year grew to over 200 from 10. The first case of climate ligitation against a corporation was in 1995. Though the initial cases were unsuccessful, they garnered the necessary attention to historical emissions and climate injustice. 

A couple of such cases mentioned by the authors are: Comer vs Murphy Oil (2005), where residents and property owners from the Mississippi Gulf Coast sought damages related to Hurricane Katrina and Kivalina vs Exxon (2008) where coastal Alaskan residents facing the threat of a rising sea level filed a case seeking financial damages for the potential relocation. 

In the second decade of the millennium, climate litigation picked pace, driven by an explosive analysis of carbon emissions by 90 fossil fuel and cement producers by Richard Heede published in 2014 as well as the Paris Agreement the following year. 

A growing number of verdicts against the polluting companies also encouraged the civil society to become more litigious in their fight against climate change. “For example in 2017, in Lliuya vs RWE, a German appeals court deemed as admissible a Peruvian farmer’s claim that higher water levels near his farm were caused by carbon emissions from RWE,” the analysts wrote. 

The verdict against Royal Dutch Shell mandating the company to nearly halve its carbon emissions by 2030 also inspired the public, according to the authors of the report. 

“We find consistently larger and statistically significant effects after 2019, of all filings (-0.34 per cent), filings against Carbon Majors (-0.55 per cent) and negative decisions (-1.55 per cent), suggesting capital markets are increasingly responding to climate litigation,” they added. 

The cost of such cases, especially for the large emitters, is much more than the average cost of defending a major litigation case, the authors found. “The average economic cost of a negative decision is $360 million,” they observed.

This can lead to lower cash flows and reputational risks, thereby hurting the overall market value of the companies, they added. 

The researchers hope their research will induce lenders, financial regulators and governments to consider climate litigation risk as a relevant financial risk in the current scenario. 

Voices against environmental degradation by coporates is growing louder by the day. Just this week, the annual general meeting of Shell held in London was disrupted by climate activists. 

Amid growing environmental consciousness and public concern about their future in a warming world, the researchers believe falling stock prices due to climate litigation will shape corportate behavious for the better. 

An El Nino is brewing and it might be a big one

WASHINGTON (AP) — The natural burst of El Nino warming that changes weather worldwide is far costlier with longer-lasting expenses than experts had thought, averaging trillions of dollars in damage, a new study found. An El Nino is brewing now…

Impact of global warming on Ireland may deliver silver lining for ‘growing season’

Unexpected weather events and new warnings about surging global temperatures show the challenge of understanding the impact of climate change. Examining the benefits that might flow from it are equally tricky to grasp but the work is under way. Irish…

Europe is beginning to turn against the prophets of climate alarmism

A few days ago, I received an email from my local council offering “climate anxiety” therapy for those worried about global warming. It was too interesting an invitation to refuse. A “climate psychologist” convened the group and asked for their…

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