Business and Economics

Reversing Nature Loss is Everyone’s Business – Earth Hour 2021

Members of the business community have supported Earth Hour for years.  This support continues in 2021, however, in light of COVID-19, the Earth Hour global team is recommending businesses organize online/virtual events. Supporting Earth Hour starts with turning off your lights on March 27th from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Businesses can use their communication channels and platforms, to tell everyone why their organization is taking part in Earth Hour, they can share the official Earth Hour video, and they can post messages (using the hashtag #EarthHour).  Some are live streaming events and running sustainability-focused workshops, others are putting forward...

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Decarbonization Through Electrification in Waterborne Transportation

All modes of transportation are gradually being converted to electric propulsion and this includes watercraft. Driven by ominous increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions the move to decarbonize transportation through electrification is growing and while land and air travel get a lot of well-warranted attention, we also need to decarbonize vehicles that travel on water.  In recent years we have made major strides in electric cars, trucks, and buses as well as electric-powered aviation, but there are even greater opportunities to electrify watercraft because they are not as limited by space and weight as their air and land-based counterparts. Electrification is especially well...

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Banks are Backing Away from Fossil Fuels and Embracing Sustainability

Major banks have been slow to act but it appears as thought they are moving away from dirty energy. Big lending institutions have have pledged to support emissions reductions consistent with the Paris Climate agreement, however, until recently their words have not matched their deeds.   Banks have been involved with sustainability for years and many have set sustainability investment goals. Almost ten years ago Bank of America and Wells Fargo each committed $50 billion for financing sustainable initiatives and green transport. In 2015 Citigroup announced that they would invest 150 billion in sustainability.  Valerie Smith, director of corporate sustainability at...

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Corporate America’s Break Up with Trump & the GOP

Resistance to Donald Trump started shortly after he announced his intention to run for public office, but it was not until recently that corporate America finally stood up to him in earnest. Even before Trump won the Republican nomination, some powerful business leaders openly opposed him. Shortly after he was elected in 2016, many pundits predicted that Trump was a serious risk factor that should be countered by corporate America. This was followed bywarnings about the dangers of "Trump's defective judgment, psychological dysfunction and amorality". Early corporate resistance It did not take long for corporate leaders to realize that Trump's...

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A Cautionary Tale about Stranded Assets

Just in time for Christmas a cautionary tale of two power plants is warning investors to be wary of fossil fuels. As predicted by many the evidence is mounted to support the contention that dirty energy is destined to be stranded assets. The closure of coal powerplants all around the world corroborate this prediction. Here are two examples from opposite sides of the world that demonstrate how once dominant coal powered powerplants are being replaced by renewable sources of energy causing investors to lose billions of dollars.  The imposing smoke stacks that towered 775 feet above Arizona's Navajo Generating Station...

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The Plague Economy: Inequality and the Preoccupation with Growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fault lines that highlight weaknesses in our economic system. Unfettered capitalism imperils biodiversity and endangers the future of civilization. Julia Steinberger echoes these sentiments saying that confronting capitalism is the only way we can "avoid disaster". We will not be able to protect the natural world or combat global warming without changes in corporate governance and more specifically the fiduciary obligation to deliver profits. Even more fundamentally we need to challenge the business ethos that seeks profit at the expense of everything else. Our metrics must reflect the costs and the risks associated with environmental...

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Decarbonization Through Electrification Creates Jobs

There is a positive vision emerging of decarbonization through electrification. This would not only substantially reduce climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, but it would also buoy the economy and provide jobs. This pandemic can be a turning point. The coronavirus has already augured a 4-7 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions along with other environmental benefits. Although COVID-19 has decimated the energy sector it will disproportionately enfeeble the fossil fuel industry and embolden renewable energy. The pandemic has already changed the way we work and green stimulus spending could revolutionize our economies.On the afternoon of Thursday, May 28, 2020, experts...

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Energy Job Losses in the US Due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused massive energy job losses. Some sectors have been hit harder than others and while many energy jobs will return others may not. Our economies will be decimated by the coronavirus and millions of jobs have disappeared forever, however, there is an upside to this deadly pandemic that bodes well for employment opportunities in some sectors over the long term. This is the worst unemployment situation since the Great Depression. So far 36 million Americans have lost their jobs and according to Fed estimates, a total of 47 million jobs could be lost resulting in an unemployment rate...

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How Supply Chain Resilience Mitigates Against Risks from Pandemics and Climate Change

Whether as a defense against global pandemics or as part of a wider climate strategy companies are exploring ways of improving their supply chain resilience. Now more than ever companies need to increase their efforts to build more resilience into their supply chains so that they can quickly respond to changing demands and disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to supply chain vulnerabilities and this article reviews many of the lessons that have been learned as well as their implications for climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.  The economic impacts from the coronavirus will be substantial. As explained in the...

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Cities, Academia and Investors Divesting from Fossil Fuels

The fossil fuel divestment movement has come a long way and this increasingly includes mainstream institutions. Banks, insurance companies and investors are all making the case that fossil fuels are dying.  Now we are seeing another wave of divestment from municipal governments and academic institution that make it even harder to ignore the impending demise of fossil fuels. The city of New York is divesting roughly $5 billion in city workers’ pension funds from fossil fuel companies. Recently lawmakers that city introduced a resolution that formally demands that the banks, asset managers and insurance giants with which the city government...

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