Jan 11, 2021

These Climate Change Initiatives May Not Be Enough

Show Notes

2019 was the second warmest year on record and the end of the warmest decade (2010- 2019) ever recorded. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose to new records in 2019, but global carbon dioxide emissions fell an unprecedented 7 per cent in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions.

Over the last decade, Wall Street poured hundreds of billions of dollars into U.S. oil, fueling a fracking boom that transformed America into the world’s leading crude producer. But, Oil-and-gas companies have been lousy investments in recent years.  Burned by those losses, many large investors are flocking to businesses that aim to wean the world off fossil fuels.

One of the leaders in the fight for Climate Change is founder of Sinai Technologies, Maria Fujihara. Listen to our full discussion with Maria (Building Corporate Carbon Solutions) on how technology is solving pollution in a financially conscious and sustainable approach.

There are steps being taken towards climate change but many still argue that it may not be enough. As we are going to see all these governments, multi-lateral organizations, and businesses walk the walk.

Let’s hold them accountable.


Jed Tabernero [00:00:02] What's up, climate freaks 2019 was the second warmest year on record and the end of the warmest decade ever recorded, carbon dioxide levels and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose to new records in twenty nineteen. But global carbon dioxide emissions fell an unprecedented seven percent in 2020 due to coronavirus. This is things have changed year end review, where you put the spotlight on industries, we've unpacked over 20, 20. Speaking with entrepreneurs and covering the exciting products that they're building gives us insight into what the future of 20, 21 and beyond will look like. And the catalyst that can drive these industries forward. Today, we're going to talk about something so dear to all of us here at see climate change and how it's affecting. Our everyday life. 

UN Secretary General [00:01:05] Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at a defining moment. We face a direct existential threat. Climate change is moving faster than we are. If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid the runaway climate change with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us. 

Reporter [00:01:37] In a town in Victoria, a ghostly see cars burned a gray with ash fires are a natural feature of Australia, but record heat has made them more severe than usual, something that had been predicted. 

Reporter [00:01:51] Climate scientists knew this was going to happen at some point. Whether it was now or 10 years from now, we were going to get this perfect storm and it was going to be pretty horrible. We dodged a bullet a couple of years ago when we had a hot, hot summer then, but it was eventually going to transpire. 

Reporter [00:02:07] And this seems to be part of a pattern. A new study of wildfires around the world from the Amazon rainforest to California says human activity is raising temperatures and adding to the threat, including in Europe and many other regions. 

Shikher Bhandary [00:02:30] OK, let's talk about the oil to clean energy transition unfolding in front of our eyes right over the last decade, Wall Street poured hundreds of billions of dollars into us, all fueling of fracking boom that transformed America into the world's leading crude producer and making it energy independent. Right. But oil and gas companies have been lousy investments in recent years and burned by those losses. Many, many big investors are flocking to businesses that aim to win the world off fossil fuels for the first time ever. Private equity firms globally have done more deals this year in clean technologies than in oil and gas. And that's not it. Like the whole market has done to this new paradigm. Turn in clean energy companies with no revenue, no profits into Wall Street darlings, and forcing oil and gas firms scrambling for cash. The Democratic sweep of both houses of the US Congress last week stoked the largest flood of cash into renewable energy ETFs and now the poster child of clean energy disruption. Tesla is the fifth most valued company valued more than Facebook as of the first week of January. So this trend of clean energy over 30 has finally gotten mainstream and it's not going away. For the last century, the biggest, most powerful companies in the global energy market have been oil and gas producers. But now, with the global race to avert climate change upsetting that hierarchy, 20/20 was finally the year clean energy started to beat Big Oil. Aided by the devastating blow dealt to oil demand by the pandemic, a bunch of clean energy companies finally shouldered aside big oil and rose to the top of the financial heap with regards to energy. One prime example is NextEra Energy, a Florida based electric utility company that operates the world's largest fleet of wind and solar farms. And NextEra just stopped a 150 billion dollars in market cap, making it more valuable than both Exxon and Chevron. So markets are predictors in many ways and clean energy has seen huge positive tailwinds going into this next decade, governments around the world have been very proactive in this trend. Even recently, the stimulus deal passed in Congress gave a boost to renewable energy companies, including extending tax credits that could be worth tens of billions of dollars to the solar and wind industries. 

Adrian Grobelny [00:05:20] Oil is thought of as the biggest polluter, but there are other industries that are also struggling to lessen their carbon footprint. In fact, the agriculture industry accounts for a shocking 13 to 18 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions, much of which is transporting products. One company that is helping address this issue is the Nine Technologies. 

Maria Fujihara [00:05:46] I think we are in a turning point right now where we have advanced, technologically speaking, not only Dweik hardware, lots of software, and now we can totally implement new technologies to change the way we do business and really change the perspective of emissions and set. You said. 

Adrian Grobelny [00:06:10] Maria Fujikura has been at the front lines of climate initiative for many years, working in the Green Building Council of Brazil and launching the Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design Lead in Brazil, Chile, Peru and other parts of Latin America. Just also helped paint environmentalist Paul Hawken launch Project Drawdown, which maps, models, measures and describes the most sustainable solutions to global warming. Maria started Sanai as a software solution to measure Analise price and reduce emissions using carbon pricing for companies worldwide. 

Maria Fujihara [00:06:53] This is basically what we call the social cost of carbon, that means what's the impact on society of pollution? So what's the cause for health care or for transportation or for whatever? Calculating a carbon price is based on the social cost of carbon. Another way of calculating is the operations way that they want. The example that I gave so you can calculate what how much does it cost your entire operation and how much can you reduce? And this is basically based on CapEx and OpEx and very financial analysis for from an operation perspective, you can price carbon based on a benchmark like what are other companies doing? And if you want to have a competitive advantage, you can you should be price more. So you have in a way, a competitive advantage. And a fourth way is based on regulated markets. So if you are in a market that has a carbon tax, you're just going to incorporate that carbon tax to your business analysis and you are going to establish a shadow price that is the same value or more that this carbon tax. So you only have to pay a fine if you go over your limits. That's also how a carbon tax basically is through climate finance methodologies. And for each company, they they should be looking to a different approach according to what their operations are or according to which industry they are. And that's that's what that's the issue that we are trying to sell. Carbon emissions is really the only metric that translates any kind of environmental impact into one single metric. And that singular metric, which is carbon emissions, is the only one that can be translating into a financial benchmark. So that's why I believe it's so, so heavily that this is really the way to translate science into finance. I think what's the biggest problem we are solving is actually combining all these building blocks for a real robust carbon strategy, because right now there's only solutions in calculating carbon footprints or offsetting and there are no solutions in the middle. And that's why we provide and and also like lots of different types of analysis. And yeah. So now these companies really know what's their target and how to achieve it year by year or quarter by quarter. They can really track and they can really find optimized. Right. Optimized for for for financials and optimize for emissions. And we focus on sustainability teams and companies and we are creating a tool that bridges between operational teams, teams that are operating these facilities or really doing everything and bridges to the sea level of the company that wants to build a strategy but don't have the data to. And then the operation team don't really have like they have actually only the demand from the sea level, but they don't really know how to apply anything. So we are providing tools to empower sustainability teams. Basically, we are the sales force for sustainability. 

Jed Tabernero [00:10:16] What does the future look like, how do we see climate change and the actions of businesses contributing or worsening to the lessening of carbon emissions, although we hear governments all over the world committing to the future of climate change, the last couple of years in the US has shown a different position where it questions the existence of climate change. With a Trump administration rolling back over one hundred and fifty environmental measures and denying its existence in some cases. The new president, however, takes a different position. Similar to other Western leaders with committing to a net zero emissions by 2050, the Joe Biden Climate Action Plan takes a lot from the Green New Deal we all heard about early on. It establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025. It makes a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation. That's kind of nice. Also oversaw the 90 billion dollar climate change action plan that the Obama Biden administration had when Obama was president. It incentivizes the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change. Forty percent of the investments that are going to be made are going to be made in underserved communities. Look, we all know that execution is key. There's a lot of brave initiatives out there. But what's important is we now acknowledge that the problem exists and the world is coming together to find solutions on how to get that done. The administration also plans to agree to the Paris agreement with the United Nations about a framework convention on climate change. It deals with greenhouse gas, emission mitigation, adaptation and finance. There are steps being taken towards climate change, but many still argue that it may not be enough. However, we are going to see all these governments, multilateral organizations like the U.N. and businesses, walk the walk. Let's hold them accountable. Here's a message from the secretary general of the U.N. in the Climate Change Action Plan summit in 2019. 

UN Secretary General [00:12:47] And so the friends, another central message, technology is on our side in the battle to address climate change, the rise of renewable energy has been tremendous, and today it is competitive or even cheaper than coal and oil, especially when one takes into account the cost of pollution. Last year, China invested one hundred twenty six billion dollars in renewable energy, an increase of 30 percent on the previous year. Sweden is set to hit its 2030 target for renewable energy this year, 12 years away. By 2030, wind and solar energy could power more than a third of Europe. Morocco is building a solar farm the size of Paris that will power more than one million homes by 2020 with clean, affordable energy. Scotland has opened the world's first floating wind farm. There are many other signs of a. Countries rich in fossil fuels like the Gulf states and Norway are exploring ways to diversify their economies. Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in renewables to move from an oil economy to an energy economy. Norway's one trillion dollars sovereign wealth funds, the largest in the world, has moved away from investments in coal and has dropped a number of parliament, both paper companies, because of the forests they destroyed. They're also promising signs that businesses are waking up to the benefits of climate change. More than 100 of the world's largest and most influential businesses went to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 18 multinationals, which shift to electric vehicles. One of the world's biggest insurance 

UN Secretary General [00:14:41] oh, let me stop you, I'm sure you'll find. Investments shifting to. More than 250 investors representing with a trillion dollars in assets have signed on to the climate action plan under the plastination. They have committed to engage with the world's largest corporate greenhouse emitters to improve their climate performance and ensure transparent disclosure of emissions. 

Shikher Bhandary [00:15:18] Hey, thanks so much for listening to our show this week. You could subscribe to us and if you're feeling generous, well, you could even leave us a review. Trust me, it goes a long, long way. You could also follow THC @THC_POD on Twitter and LinkedIn. This is things have changed.