The Republican-Proposed Carbon Tax

by Noah Kaufman A group of prominent conservative Republicansincluding former Secretary of State James Baker III, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Walmart Chairman Rob Waltonmet with key members of the Trump administration on Wednesday about their proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions and return the proceeds to the American people. Such an economy-wide tax on carbon dioxide could enable the United States to achieve its international emissions targets with better economic outcomes than under a purely regulatory approach. Attributes of the Republican Carbon Tax Proposal While the details on the...

Ten Insights into Carbon Policy and Its Implications

On November 27, I attended the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Fifth Energy Analysis Forum, hosted by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis & Applications Center.  The forum focused on carbon policy design, the implications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.  As a stock analyst focused on that sector, I am extremely lucky to have NREL as a local resource: the quality and the level of the experts at NREL and the ones they bring in is probably not matched anywhere in the country, and conferences like these provide priceless insights into what these Energy Analysts are thinking.   Why should investors...

Investing in Climate Change

This post was supposed to be about coal-to-liquids (CTL), but I came across interesting info yesterday after opening a former colleague’s mail that I thought would make for a more interesting post. The CTL piece will thus have to wait a bit. What was in the package was a hard copy of the January/February 2007 edition of CNBC European Business. This edition is dedicated to climate change, but, more importantly, to how some firms are positioning themselves to benefit from the markets that will be created as a result of regulatory and other actions to tackle greenhouse gas...

Climate Change Will Hurt The Poor Most But the Solutions Don’t Have To

The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (iCAST) helps communities use local resources to solve their own problems.  I've been a fan of iCAST's approach of teaching people how to fish (or, in this case, how to apply sustainable technologies) rather than giving away fish since I first encountered them at a conference in 2006.  Last week, they took advantage of some of their own local resources (namely the fact that the DNC was in Denver) to organize a luncheon with a panel of nationally recognized speakers, any one of whom would have been enough to draw a...

Emissions Standards Driving Algae Aviation Fuel Sourcing…or not

by Debra Fiakas CFA Algae in the River Wate photo via BigStock My post “Algae Takes Flight” featured Algae-Tec (ALGXY:  OTC/PK),  Lufthansa’s new biofuel partner.  Algae-Tec has agreed to operate an algae-based biofuel plant in Europe to supply Lufthansa with jet fuel.  Lufthansa is footing the capital costs of the plant, which is to be located in Europe near a carbon source.  Algae thrive on carbon so industrial plants and power plants using fossil fuels make the best neighbors.  Lufthansa has agreed to purchase a...

Hedging Your Climate Risks

Whether you agree it's because of human activity or not (and, for the record, I do), there's no doubt that the weather has been a little wacky over the past few years, driving a range of events that have had very real repercussions on businesses and the economy. Hurricane Katrina is one obvious example, but there have also been other, more subtle cases. Many ski resort operators in North America, for instance, were beginning to believe that winter would never arrive on the eastern side of the continent. In the west, we're now being told that cold weather...

Climate Change & Corporate Disclosure: Should Investors Care?

Charles Morand On Monday morning, I received an e-copy of a new research note by BofA Merrill Lynch arguing that disclosure by publicly-listed companies on the issue of climate change was becoming increasingly "important". The note claimed: "e believe smart investors and companies will recognize the edge they can gain by understanding low carbon trends." I couldn't agree more with that statement. It was no coincidence that on that same day the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a non-profit UK-based organization that surveys public companies each year on the state of their climate change awareness, was...

How Energy Deregulation Affects States and Stocks

by Elaine Thompson Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in an executive summary of its New Energy Outlook 2017 report, predicts renewable energy sources will represent almost three-quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power-generating technology. Analysts outline several reasons for this increase in spending, such as the decreasing costs of wind and solar and consumers’ increasing interest in solar panels. Competition between power sources also continues to grow, with products like utility-scale batteries upsetting coal and natural gas’s roles in the marketplace. But more importantly, state-driven renewable portfolio standards pave the way for additional ventures in renewable energy technologies, particularly...

Trading Places: Will America’s Carbon Market Outsize Europe’s?

Charles MorandIn early January, I said the following on the likelihood that the Obama Administration would move on carbon regulations in the near-term: "The next 12 to 18 months are unlikely to produce much in the way of vigorous environmental action on the part of government (barring subsidies for alternative energy related to the stimulus package), especially if it means additional costs on industry." Clearly, I had underestimated the power of another fundamental rule of politics - besides "don't anger the rust belt states that gave you your presidency by burdening their industries with avoidable costs in the midst...

US Presidential Election & Carbon Markets: Is The Climate Exchange Story Overdone?

An interesting piece yesterday in POLITICO on how carbon prices on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) have been trending up in recent months, mostly since it's become clear that all three remaining presidential hopefuls will likely regulate CO2 emissions at the federal level. In fact, as per the chart above, prices for the right to emit a metric ton of CO2 have been on a tear, recovering from a pretty significant slump in the preceding months. Last week, the World Bank Carbon Finance Unit released its annual update on the state of global carbon market (PDF...

Fossil Fuel Industry: Killing the Customer

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Published by the Climate Accountability Institute, the Carbon Majors Reportlays bare the truth about which companies are responsible for industrial greenhouse gas emissions.  One hundred fossil fuel producers are linked to 71% of global industrial greenhouse gases emitted since 1988.  Something like a line in the sand for climate scientists, 1988 is the year human-induced climate change was official recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Fossil fuels in the form of coal, crude oil and gas are by far and large the culprits.  Rolling forward three decades later, we can observe in the charts below that fossil fuel production...

A New Player In The North American Emissions Trading Sector

Over the past two weeks, a couple of announcements were made that went mostly unnoticed despite their importance to the North American carbon marketplace. Firstly, on May 30, the Montreal Exchange, a derivatives exchange, announced that it was launching an emissions trading market for CO2. The Montreal Exchange is now a unit of the TSX Group (TSXPF.PK or X.TO), the firm that runs all of Canada's exchanges. The second announcement came last week, when the premiers of Quebec and Ontario, Canada's two largest provinces and the heart of its industrial base, announced that they were moving ahead...

Biochar’s Likely Market Impacts

Biochar is still mostly a research and cottage industry, yet it has the potential to impact returns for a broad range of investors. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Biochar, or amending soil with biomass-derived carbon, shows great potential to improve the productivity of soils, as well as to increase the utilization of fertilizers by plants, while sequestering carbon to reduce the drivers of climate change.  On August 10, I went to the 2009 North American Biochar Conference to look at the potential for investors.  Before I went, I took a look at the publicly traded companies...

Carbon Offsets Work – Will the Mainstream Media Ever Get It?

The carbon markets are an area of keen interest for me personally and professionally, so it is always frustrating that the mainstream media largely refuses to learn the details. In general, layman and media who don’t understand the details of the carbon markets attack carbon offsets in two areas, first, questioning whether the credits are for a project that would have occurred anyway (a concept known in carbon as “additionality”), and second questioning whether there are checks and balances to ensure the environmental standards are adhered to and the abatement actually happens (in carbon known as the validation...

Linking Emissions Trading Systems

For those interested in the topic of emissions trading, a new piece was just published by the International Emissions Trading Association on the topic of 'linking' different emissions trading regimes (PDF document). Linking entails allowing emission credits from one scheme to be rendered tradable in another. For example, European credits would be valid and tradable in California, and vice-versa. Beyond allowing the carbon market to become more efficient and liquid, linking could also present a range of arbitrage opportunities. For all of you environmental markets fiends out there, I would definitely recommend this paper. It's short (13...

US Exchanges And Environmental Investing

An interesting bit of follow-up on my article last week about exchanges and environmental markets. Both the NYMEX and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) have partnered up, in the past 2 weeks, with specialty cleantech and alt energy index makers to launch derivatives products. On March 14, Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE), a wholly owned subsidiary of the CCX, and WilderShares LLC, announced (PDF document) a licensing agreement to launch a futures market based on the WilderHill Clean Energy Index . The ECO is also the underlying index for the Powershares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio ETF...