The 5 Climate Week reports you shouldn't miss
The Report Report brings you highlights from recent reports that are worth a look. Too often, reports from business groups and analysts gather dust on desks, or virtual dust in email inboxes. That's a lot of wisdom left untapped. Share your own reports by emailing us here.T
here's no doubt that this year's Climate Week is louder and bigger than ever. The week-long forum of some 100 events brings a seemingly end of research reports, policy pronouncements, crystal ball-gazing and partnership news.
How to make heads or tails of it all? If you're only going to follow a few major reports, these are a good place to start.
Climate action and profitability: CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report 2014
Source: CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project)
What it says: The CDP touts “amazing stats” from this first financial analysis of climate action from S&P 500 leaders. Good news: Those that tend to report on climate change also show higher financial performance. (“Leaders” here means companies with high CDP disclosures or performance in 2014 ) In the report’s words: “At a minimum, CDP data suggests that there is no penalty to corporate profitability for establishing climate change reporting, governance and management systems and taking action on climate change.”
What we say: From sunrise to sunset, sustainability professionals toil to convince the C-suite what “green” issues mean to the company’s bottom line. It’s not a stretch that CDP’s CEO calls this report “new, compelling evidence of the link between industry leadership on climate change and corporate profitability.” The report itself gets a bit into the methodology weeds but delivers practical conclusions. For example: “By integrating climate change risk management into strategic planning, responding to CDP and taking action towards emissions reductions, companies are simply demonstrating a long-term view of how to best manage the assets of shareholders.” Read it, save it, forward it.
Access: Download here (PDF).
Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report
Source: The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
What it says: Not only must the world act now on climate change, but this will lift the global economy. How? This ambitious report has eight major sections, with 10 sweeping climate-resilience action areas for businesses, governments and NGOs. There’s a big focus on cities as well as on land use and energy. For instance, the world can save $3 trillion in the next 15 years building smarter cities. And restoring $12 billion of degraded lands can feed 200 million people. Companies are already seeing an average 27 percent ROI on their investments in low-carbon technologies. Shifting to a low-carbon economy is a win-win.
What we say: There's an awesome wealth of detail here in addition to the hope-inducing, big-picture stuff. The New Climate Economy Report has a digitally glossy, video-enriched format that I find harder than a plain-old PDF to digest in one sitting. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it better to read one chunk at a time and let it seep in. It's well worth the attention. Keep checking the report for country case studies and working papers to come.
Advancing climate ambition: cities as partners in global climate action
Source: C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Bloomberg Philanthropies
What it says: Cities are laboratories of innovation and hope, especially where federal policies are lacking. Where can the world’s mayors make the greatest impacts? This report zeroes in on making buildings and transportation more efficient. It translates recommended changes to savings in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions.
What we say: To veterans in the worlds of greener buildings and mobility, this is no-brainer stuff: Build new buildings to be more efficient. Retrofit older ones. Don’t plan cities around cars. Optimize freight logistics. You get the picture. But these suggestions are necessarily broad because they apply to cities in both developed and developing parts of the world. Plunge into the 21-page white paper for a wealth of charts and evidence if you need to make the case in your hometown.
Access: Coming soon.
Carbon Cost Supply Curves: Evaluating financial risk to coal capital expenditures
Source: Carbon Tracker Initative
What it says: Are coal investments a dead end? Even some of the four mega-mining companies (GlencoreXstrata, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Anglo American) are turning to other commodities. Yet the coal industry is more fragmented than Big Oil, so the answer’s not so simple. This is the first major attempt to take both a “holistic” and a granular look at coal.
What we say: The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a nonprofit team of financial specialists, is known for its work on “unburnable carbon” and stranded assets. This 27-page report is built to offer a “powerful risk analysis methodology to help the majority of investors who cannot simply divest from an entire sector but need to understand and adjust their risk exposure to coal in today’s world.” If that sounds like your game, look no further to digest (and divest?). The 60-second edition? Skim its 8 key recommendations for asset owners and managers. This report is clean and readable, even for someone far outside its core target readership.
Access: Download here (PDF).
How to Achieve 100% Renewable Energy
Source: World Future Council
What it says: The planet needs to shift to fully renewable sources of energy. No kidding. Yet "policy makers have taken up measures nowhere near proportional to the urgency to act,” writes entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett in the foreword. “Therefore this policy handbook serves as a tool to push us over the verge to a fossil free world.” It provides case studies for 8 places that include cities (San Francisco, California), regions (Fukushima, Japan), Nations (Denmark) and island states (Tuvalu).
What we say: These more than 50 pages are dotted with bright bullet points and charts to drive homeits points and offer concrete tips. Among 5 major recommendations for building political will? “Make energy efficiency a top priority” and, “Electrify the heating/cooling and transport sectors.” If only this advice were easier done than said. Certain themes should be familiar: Renewables can cost less than fossil fuel-based power; renewables boost resilience; renewables aren't just for rich countries. Luckily, the case studies offer concrete models for places are making strides, despite the odds.
Access: Download here (PDF).
Top graphic from the New Climate Economy report