Media Round-Up — March 3, 2022

This edition of the bi-weekly Climate Finance Media Roundup focuses on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the stark warnings of the latest IPCC report. Amidst this, we’ve had glimmers of our movements’ power: from fossil fuel divestment surpassing $40 trillion in assets, to AIG ending coal, tar sands & Arctic insurance.

Bloomberg: Investors Handed Stark Warning With Latest Climate Assessment

“A multitrillion finance movement intended to protect the planet and its people faces some awkward questions as fresh analysis from the world’s top climate scientists suggests it’s falling far short of the mark.”

The Intercept: Toxic Nostalgia, From Putin to Trump to the Trucker Convoys 

“This is not the warm and cozy nostalgia of fuzzily remembered childhood pleasures; it’s an enraged and annihilating nostalgia that clings to false memories of past glories against all mitigating evidence.”

WIRED: Ukraine Is in an Environmental Crisis Too

“‘It’s an extension of what we’ve seen in the Donbas, where you have a conflict amidst this super concentrated amount of heavy industry and this grim environmental history,’ Weir says. Much of the fighting is now occurring in urban areas like Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupol, where industrial facilities, military installations, and radioactive waste repositories have come under fire from Russian planes and artillery. Those weapons have the potential to leave not only immediate destruction, but a longer tail of polluted air and water that will be felt by nearby residents long after the conflict subsides.”

The New Republic: Vultures Are Circling the Ukraine Crisis 

“Russia meets about a third of Europe’s energy demand. There is a real threat—not yet acted upon—that Putin could turn off the taps as retaliation for Western sanctions, or for some other reason entirely. U.S. LNG producers have already been selling more gas to Europe in recent months at elevated prices…For the first time ever last month, the United States exported more gas to Europe than Russia delivered to the continent via pipeline.”

Los Angeles Times: One way to combat Russia? Move faster on clean energy

“The war in Europe adds to the urgency of transitioning to clean energy sources such as solar and wind power that are harder for bad actors such as Russia to disrupt, those experts say. The conflict also highlights the importance of the U.S., the European Union and other allies working together to confront the climate crisis while taking global security into account.”

Popular Information: Fossil fuel companies are exploiting Russia’s attack on Ukraine

“While the industry and its allies are presenting fossil fuels as the solution to Russian aggression, the fossil fuel industry has been empowering Putin for many years.”

ClimateWire: U.S. finance firms urged to sever ties with Russian oil

“’Frankly, every dollar invested in Russian oil and gas supports Putin’s war of aggression,’ said Grace Regullano, a senior strategist with Bank On Our Future.”

CNN: The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is on the scrap heap because of the Ukraine crisis. Here’s why that matters 

“In the short term, Europe can scramble gas from other countries — unlikely enough to replace Russia, but perhaps enough to get by — and deal with the immediate Russian threat. But the forever problem of the climate crisis will keep churning and will ultimately be deadlier and costlier than military confrontation is likely to be.”

Financial Times: Green investing: the risk of a new mis-selling scandal 

“But after selecting the platform’s ESG investment option, which prioritises companies and bond issuers with high environmental, social and governance standards, she was shocked to discover that, rather than the wind and solar companies she had been expecting, her new portfolio’s biggest holdings were bank stocks.”

Bloomberg: HSBC, BlackRock Shed Light on Hidden Role of Financed Emissions

“‘We know quite well the carbon footprints of almost all economic sectors today, but we don’t have that data for financial services, so having big institutions like HSBC and BlackRock report financed emissions is huge,’ said Laurent Babikian, joint global director of capital markets at CDP, a nonprofit that tracks climate impact.”

Bloomberg: Blackstone Swears Off Oil-Patch Investing as Private Equity’s Retreat Widens

“Blackstone Inc., once a major player in shale patches, is telling clients its private equity arm will no longer invest in the exploration and production of oil and gas, according to people with knowledge of the talks. The firm’s next energy fund won’t back those upstream investments — a first for the strategy. Blackstone’s credit arm is swearing them off too.”

Bloomberg: Great Russian Exodus: Energy Firms Like BP, Shell Exit After Ukraine Invasion

“Here’s a list of high-profile examples of European and U.S. companies that have announced planned exits from Russia, including potential asset sales — a list which is likely to grow the longer the invasion drags on.”

Pensions & Investments: US public pension funds, legislatures taking steps to divest Russian assets

“U.S. public pension funds and the legislative bodies that oversee them are introducing measures to divest their assets from Russian-related investments following the invasion of Ukraine.”

Times of San Diego: Supervisors Vote to Divest from Fossil Fuel Industries to Combat Climate Change

“‘Today we’re taking action to align our investment dollars with our county’s mission and values,’ Lawson-Remer said in a statement. ‘Our vote ensures that our county, school districts, colleges, special districts and local agencies are not investing in fossil fuel industries that profit from destroying our planet and mortgaging the future of the world that we leave our children.’”

Golden Gate Express: SF State unanimously approves total fossil fuel divestment 

“SF State’s Associated Students Board of Directors unanimously approved on Wednesday the continuation of total fossil fuel divestment on campus.”

The Sacramento Bee: State Senate proposal would force CalPERS, CalSTRS to sell oil and gas holdings 

“A new state Senate proposal would force California’s two largest public pension funds to eliminate all their holdings in oil and gas companies. The state’s two main retirement systems, with combined investment funds worth more than $700 billion, together held about $9 billion worth of investments in companies involved directly in fossil fuel production as of 2020, according to an analysis from advocacy organization Climate Safe Pensions.”

Canada’s National Observer: Climate resolution forces RBC to reckon with greenwashing

“The resolution, filed last week by Investors for Paris Compliance, is aiming to get RBC to define ‘sustainable finance’ in a way that precludes lending to ‘fossil fuel activity’ and projects ‘facing significant opposition’ from Indigenous peoples. Without tightening its criteria, the group warns RBC will increasingly face reputational and compliance risks as definitions for sustainable finance are agreed to around the world.”

Reuters: Insurer AIG steps back from coal, Arctic energy underwriting

“’As one of the last major insurers without restrictions on coal insurance, AIG’s new commitments to reduce underwriting for coal, tar sands oil, and Arctic oil and gas are a major step forward for people and the planet,’ said Hannah Saggau, an insurance campaigner with Public Citizen, an influential consumer advocacy group.”

NOW Magazine: Op-ed: Big banks risk their reputation with youth by betting on fossil fuels

“But banks are profit-driven institutions, and while posing as philanthropists their contributions also distract us from the very real harm these institutions cause through their financing of fossil fuel projects that pump climate chaos and violate Indigenous rights. Banks are putting their reputation at risk with youth by continuously betting on destructive fossil fuels.”