Medium cold – POLITICO

MEDIUM COOLING — Boycott me? Boycott! A wave of anti-anti-fossil fuel investment policies in red states is scaring investors and pension fund managers trying to move away from oil.

State-level policies create a minefield for investors seeking to limit their exposure to climate-related risks, whether physical effects of rising sea levels, deeper droughts and more frequent floods or policies that make fossil fuels more expensive and less popular.

“The fear is that politics will get in the way of investment management where these people are trying to help retirement savers,” said Greg Hershman, Head of US Policy at Principles for Responsible Investment. He said he has received inquiries from members of his UN-backed investor coalition about how they might be affected by bills barring state officials from dealing with companies that look to lenders. switching from fossil fuels or considering climate change in their own investments.

These are the typical players behind the push: the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heartland Institute and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which are backed by the oil companies. The Indiana, Louisiana and Oklahoma bills all draw on language proposed by ALEC, while the Heartland Institute has been involved in New Hampshire, Kansas, West Virginia and Wyoming. .

Who does politics is in the eye of the beholder. Republicans scoff at the growing private sector adoption of climate risk analysis as performative. “From a fiduciary perspective, it has nothing to do with markets or the viability of markets,” said Senator Kevin Cramer (RN.D.)

The recalcitrance of the red states could cause a wave of medium size, in terms of money. To put it in perspective, the 15-state coalition that has spoken out against “woke capitalists” restricting fossil fuel funding accounts for 19% of the $7.6 trillion in cash and securities held by states and local governments, according to ClearView Energy Partners. The regions that voted for President Joe Biden make up 63%.

Fossil-loving red states will also have to contend with the SEC and Federal Reserve, which are developing ways for companies to disclose climate risks and analyze portfolio performance under climate scenarios.

But the policies further widen the country’s climate change divide (question: does anyone study how these policies affect states’ financial performance?)

“The goal is to cool this thing down,” said Ivan Frishbergdirector of sustainability at Amalgamated Bank, an employee-owned bank that does not do business with fossil fuel companies.

For more, check out Zack and Jordan’s story here.

HERE WE ARE – Welcome to the extended Long Game (Longer Game?), where we’ll bring you the latest insights into the efforts being made to shape our future. From Tuesday to Friday, we’ll have data-driven stories, compelling interviews with industry and policy leaders, and more information to keep you up to date on sustainability.

Our team is growing! Sustainability Writer Greg Word and deputy editor Debra Kahn take the lead and Jordan Wolfman joins us as a digital producer. Contact them at [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. As always, you can find Lorraine Woellert and Catherine Boudreau at [email protected] and [email protected].

Thanks to Danielle Muoio Dunn, Ry Rivard, David Ferris and Avery Ellfeldt for their participation.

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LAST BREATH – Cities and states that are tired of congressional fumbling on climate change are voting to reduce their carbon footprint by banning natural gas hookups in new buildings. And it’s dividing Democrats and putting the party at odds with key allies, as Danielle Muoio Dunn, Ry Rivard and Debra report.

Local gas bans now cover some 15 million people, with the addition of New York in December. But just as the campaign to force developers off natural gas has begun to gain traction, it’s beginning to feel political limitations.

Even in Democratic-controlled states, the prospect of phasing out gas stoves and furnaces has ignited new tensions between moderates concerned about energy costs and progressives frustrated by the nation’s patchwork response to global warming. climatic.

While 50 municipalities in California have banned natural gas in new buildings, not a single city in New Jersey has. Instead, the natural gas industry helped guide a bill by the state Senate in January, it would have made it harder for state agencies to ban gasoline.

“We have to make sure we understand the pricing because we don’t want to price anyone,” said State Senator Vin Gopal (D), one of Bill’s sponsors.

The industry takes the threat to its business seriously: At least 19 states, mostly controlled by Republicans, have passed laws supported by the fossil fuel industry that prevent cities from banning natural gas. Similar bills have been introduced in PennsylvaniaMichigan and Virginia this year.

PLASTIC PACT — The United States and France will join dozens of other countries in pushing for a global treaty to reduce plastic waste at a United Nations meeting later this month.

The White House and French President Emmanuel Macron released a joint statement on Friday, endorsing an agreement that requires countries to develop national action plans to reduce plastic pollution. Fans call it the Paris of plastics.

The position marks a change for the United States The Trump administration has opposed a global plastics treaty.

Last week’s statement was the first time the White House has endorsed a deal with commitments covering the “full life cycle” of plastics – from the petroleum they are made from, to manufacturing lines, to landfills and the oceans where waste often ends up.

World leaders will be in Nairobi, Kenya, from February 28 to March 2 for the United Nations Environment Assembly. They must agree on the scope of the treaty and establish a negotiating committee. Optimists hope the countries will strike a deal in just two years, but that would be record speed for any global deal.

The scope of the problem: The United States generates more plastic waste than any other country, according to a December report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Americans created 42 million tons of plastic waste in 2016, exceeding that of the entire European Union. The vast majority ends up in landfills or is exported to countries with weaker waste management systems.

It is estimated that 8 million metric tons enter the oceans each year, but it is impossible to get a precise figure because there is little data collected, according to the National Academies report.

A DOWN PAYMENT OF $7.5 BILLION — The Biden administration has $7.5 billion to spend on electric vehicle charging. But the demand for the money is so high that even this historic sum is starting to look like the smallest installment on the national fee system that Biden has promised, as E&E News reports.

The biggest source of funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure so far was a fine paid by Volkswagen AG to settle its emissions fraud in 2015. That put, at most, $180 million toward the systems US refills. The first federal tranche alone, announced last week, is $615 million.

here is five things to watch out for:

The rural expanse: American farms, forests and pastures are expensive places to power electric vehicles. Rural stations will take years to turn a profit and will need taxpayer subsidies until they do.

Disadvantaged communities: Demand is also lacking in working-class neighborhoods. Uber and Lyft could help – they are considering urban fleets of shared electric vehicles.

Maintenance: Charging stations are currently not profitable, and no one knows when they will be. Many have been abandoned by companies that have gone bankrupt.

Trucks: Semi-trailers and other heavy vehicles need special charging stations. Retailers want FedEx vans and heavy haulers next to cars parked by shoppers.

The bigger the better: Biden has set some minimum standards, but the industry believes the levels will need to be higher. In one minute, a 150kW charger delivers approximately nine miles of range; a 350 kW charger 20 miles. The difference is significant, but the higher capacity costs a lot more to build.

PREPARATION WORK — Citigroup Inc. has partnered with two data and modeling powerhouses as it and other major banks prepare for climate regulation, E&E News reports.

the the lending giant said last week that it will use a tool developed by S&P Global Market Intelligence and Oliver Wyman to assess clients’ vulnerability to climate change and its impacts. The model assesses the financial and environmental profiles of over 1.6 million companies and calculates how each would fare in a clean energy transition.

Sunny with a sad side: Californians are lounging in parks, wearing shorts at the beach and dining outdoors without heat lamps in February — and feeling bad about it.

— Demand for Indian organic cotton is booming, but the industry is plagued by misrepresentation and fraud. The New York Times to the story.

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