We already knew the greenback, here come the green bonds. This emerging security, whose yearly issuance still represents only 1% of the global bonds market, has the wind in its sails. Used primarily by institutions, large companies and local authorities, it has just entered the reference segment: sovereign bonds.
How to reverse climate change? The current discussion focuses on reducing carbon consumption. But the policy instruments and tools available today are neither efficient, nor realistic. Both cap and trade and carbon taxes are variations of coercive systems. They can work if they are coercive enough. But who wants to live in Green Stalinism? So if the stick doesn't work, better try the carrot. It is time to turn the creativeness of financial innovation into something useful.
Following the diplomatic success of the Paris agreement, we will need an economic success in the years to come. After the time of diplomacy, future advances now depend on firms and researchers. And it will not happen if the economic or legal signs are in conflict with the ambition of the agreement of December 12th.
The Paris Agreement shows the willingness of all nations to combat hand-in-hand the challenges of climate change. However, willingness per se is easily defeated by harsh realities. More than ever, cooperation is needed. But sacrifices will also be asked. How to negotiate them?
"With the growing risks of assets becoming stranded by responses to climate change, it might seem necessary to ask whether not adjusting your investment strategy is wise, let alone affordable." These words were spoken by a person well-versed in economic diplomacy, with an unmistakably British sense of understatement: last September, Prince Charles was making these declarations on climate change in front of the financial community (including Ban Ki Moon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore...). This issue is the focal point of regular inquiries within the financial community itself. What risks and assets are we talking about? This issue deserves some in-depth explanation, beyond the media aspects.
The COP21 provides an opportunity to review the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS). The International Energy Agency expects this technology to contribute to the global effort to reduce CO2 emissions by 15-20%, in line with the Copenhagen target to keep global warming below 2° C by 2100. In its 2014 World Energy Outlook report, the Agency presents a 2° C scenario where, in 2040, global emissions would be reduced from 46 GT, including 21 Gt from the electricity sector (business as usual), to 20 Gt, including 4 Gt from the electricity sector. Combining the use of coal with global climate objectives requires the implementation within the next 25 years of an industry with a size comparable to that of the oil industry. Expectations, hopes and obstacles are briefly presented before we examine the three phases of the complete chain of capture, transport and storage of CO2. Finally, we will offer an outlook regarding the measures that need to be undertaken.
Burning of fossil fuels constitutes the main source today of greenhouse gases. It is also the principal vector of anthropic action on the climate. But the relationship between energy and climate is far more complex that it seems initially. Scientific knowledge is advancing constantly and what is now noteworthy is that the players, whether they are private individuals, national and local authorities or business companies are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Where does science stand today and how can we use the available knowledge?
In the field of rail transport, climate change raises very concrete challenges. The infrastructure is already under heavy stress and suffers from waves of heat that distort the rails and from floods that can disrupt traffic. Passenger comfort raises additional problems. How can we adapt to these changes? How can we anticipate them? Major rail companies have been thinking about these problems for several years and are beginning to design new strategies of action on the short, medium and long term.
The failure of the Copenhagen climate change summit to formulate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol has cancelled hopes for the foreseeable future for any enforceable regulatory framework to deal with the global warming issue worldwide. Commentators have pointed the reticence of emerging economies along with recalcitrance of the US administration and the lobbying of powerful industrial interests. In Europe, Tax commissioner Semeta's proposal for a future EU carbon tax was placed on the backburner due to uncertainties on its economic effects. Observers have thus been left with three overriding questions: Where are we in the theoretical debate? What could be the next steps in the development of a low carbon fiscal model? What will be the economic impact of any future changes?
The scientific jury may still be out on the causes of global warming (though most polls suggest roughly 11 of 12 climatologists see fossil fuel consumption as the literal smoking gun), but for non-experts, the large number of record-breaking high temperatures, floods, and other extreme weather events in 2010 has shifted the debate from asking is the weather changing to what will happen next.
Since the beginning of the industrial era, human activities have added new sources of climate variation to the above natural causes, which bring about atmospheric change.
Rarely has a debate preoccupied the media and public opinion as much as the one that is raging today on climate change and the possible impact of human activities.
It is not only in the financial sector that mathematical models are contested. Climate predictions are also subject to criticism from those who attribute fluctuations in global temperature to misconceived equations. For the past ten years, and especially recently, the scientific community has been tearing itself apart over an apparently simple question: Is the earth getting warmer and if so, is it because of human activity? Why such a heated debate? Because, behind this "simple" question lies one that is more profound, more political, and philosophical than it is scientific: Is humankind harming the planet?
Japanese fishermen reel in nets weighed down by jellyfish the size of small refrigerators. Tons of green algae wash up on the coast of Brittany, emitting enough hydrogen sulfide that it kills a horse- and leaves its rider unconscious. It might sound like the first reel of a cheap science fiction movie. Unfortunately, it's not. Many scientists believe these phenomena are actually symptoms of how global warming is changing the ecology of the oceans -a threat that may prove even more serious than atmospheric warming.