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...

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...

Carbon Emissions ETF

Today, while reading an article on cleantech ETFs by The Motley Fool, I found out that XShares Advisors LLC and the Chicago Climate Exchange were working on a carbon emissions-based ETF (PDF document). There is not a lot of info available on what exactly this ETF will track. We reported back in November that UBS had launched an index based on European carbon prices. As noted by Richard Kang at around the same time, this index is well-suited for something like an ETF. If any of our readers have any further insight on this, don't hesitate...

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...

Has Shale Gas Reduced Carbon Emissions?

Jim Hansen Last week, I wrote that the U.S. is on course to set a new export record of coal. A few days later the EIA made similar projections and estimate that exports will reach 125 million tons for 2012. One side effect of the success of U.S. coal exports is the degree to which may they have cancelled out the carbon emissions reduction experienced in the U.S. as shale gas displaced coal in the power generation sector. This question of displacement was addressed in a study just released by researchers at the University of...

Dead Wrong On Climate Exchange

In a May 8 post I opined that, although I believed that recent developments on the climate change file in the US would bode well for Climate Exchange plc (CXCHF.PK), I thought that the stock was overpriced and had had too great a run for its own good over the past 3 months. I therefore predicted that the next move the stock would make would be to the downside. Climate Exchange was trading at around $28 then, and today it is trading in the neighborhood of $36. I continue to believe that this stock is going way too...
Plastics recycling numbers

Plastic Recyclers Chasing Arrows

According to Plastics Europe Research Group, over 35 million tons of plastic material was produced globally in 2016, the last year for which full-year data is available.   That brought total plastic production to 9 billion tons since 1950.  All of those plastic materials remain in existence somewhere  -  still in use, landfills, junk yards, blowing around the countryside, waterways, oceans, fish stomachs. The post “Plastic Contagion’ on April 13th outline the dangers presented by plastic waste, ranging from respiratory failure from toxic emissions to reproductive interference in aquatic animals. The building burgeoning volume of plastic waste has sent environmentalists scrambling for solutions to the plastic waste...

Is Energy Sourcing the Gateway Drug to Energy Efficiency?

Tom Konrad CFA I recently interviewed Richard Domaleski, CEO of World Energy Solutions (NASD:XWES).  World Energy is a comprehensive energy management services firm whose core offering is extremely price competitive energy sourcing (that is, finding an energy provider to supply all of a client's energy needs at the lowest possible cost.)  They achieve competitive sourcing using an electronic energy exchange designed to achieve much better price discovery in what is traditionally a very opaque market.  According to Domaleski, a recent KEMA study showed that only 7% of large commercial, industrial, and government customers are sourcing their...

Carbon ETFs/ETNs: Playing Copenhagen

Charles Morand At $126 billion transacted in 2008, up from $11 billion in 2005, the global carbon market is the fastest growing commodities market in the world and, provided that an agreement is reached at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen and that the US adopts a cap-and-trade program, this growth could go on for several more years. Yet this is a market that remains comparatively unknown for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the rules surrounding it are very complex. Unlike other commodities, to successfully invest directly in...

Beware The Vagaries Of Government

I just came across this article on potential problems with the emerging trade in carbon credits. The piece is not technical and I wouldn't say that it is particularly well-researched, but it does raise a key point - as the market for carbon emissions grows, the need for standardization and collaboration between governments and regulators will become ever more pressing. This could create problems. The carbon market is unique in that the commodity traded derives its value primarily from its ability to meet the requirements set by an environmental regulator. There is also a market for voluntary...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...
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