Weekly Media Roundup – July 16

Welcome to this week’s Media Roundup: a curated digest of top stories and major developments in the climate finance space.

Read on below.

ABC News – Climate change also has a mental health toll

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated climate change “may weigh heavily on mental health in the general population and those already struggling with mental health disorders.” Other drastic weather patterns like rising temperatures, droughts and natural disasters combined with socioeconomic stresses could also have a toll on certain people since some communities rely heavily on agriculture, a report published by the CDC says.

Associated Press – US drilling approvals increase despite Biden climate pledge

Approvals for companies to drill for oil and gas on U.S. public lands are on pace this year to reach their highest level since George W. Bush was president, underscoring President Joe Biden’s reluctance to more forcefully curb petroleum production in the face of industry and Republican resistance. The Interior Department approved about 2,500 permits to drill on public and tribal lands in the first six months of the year, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. That includes more than 2,100 drilling approvals since Biden took office January 20.

The Boston Globe – Efforts to pursue climate goals in Mass. clash with incentives offered that promote fossil fuels

Massachusetts has ambitious climate goals, and not a lot of time to achieve them, which has some clean energy and climate experts questioning why a state program continues to promote fossil fuels with cash incentives for oil and gas home heating systems. The state’s climate plan demands that 1 million households be converted from fossil fuels to electric heat by the end of the decade, part of a sweeping transition meant to help stave off the worst of climate change’s consequences. And yet the state’s only incentive program, and its best tool for helping convince businesses and homeowners to make that switch, is sticking with rebates for new carbon-emitting systems likely to remain in service long past that deadline.

CBS News – Why climate change threatens your retirement savings

As climate change worsens extreme weather events like the record-breaking heat in the Pacific Northwest last month, another concern looms — that the impact on companies from global warming could incinerate people’s retirement savings. Pensions and 401(k) plans are “vulnerable,” along with the rest of the global economy, to climate risks, the Government Accountability Office told Congress in a recent report that looked at the potential threat to federal employees.

Devdiscourse – Lack of climate risk analysis in US federal retirement fund sparks concern

The board overseeing the largest public retirement plan in the United States has not comprehensively assessed the risks climate change poses to its investments, a U.S. federal agency says, sparking fears retirement savings pots could be at risk. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) says its investment strategies already price in such risks to its portfolio as they track broader indices of companies coming under new pressure to disclose climate risks.

Energy News Network – Massachusetts cities try new legal path towards banning new fossil fuel hookups

A year after Massachusetts’ attorney general struck down a suburban town’s attempt to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, a growing number of municipalities are pursuing new strategies to restrict the use of oil and natural gas in buildings. In the past eight months, the towns of Brookline, Arlington, Lexington, Concord, and Acton have all passed measures asking the state Legislature to allow them to prohibit the installation of fossil fuel infrastructure in new construction and, in some cases, buildings undergoing major renovations.

The Guardian – The Climate is boiling. Why has Harvard still not divested from fossil fuels?

At $42bn, the Harvard endowment exceeds the combined monetary value of many small countries. Granted, only about 2% ($838m) is invested in fossil fuels, down from 11% in 2008. But it’s symbolic. If the oldest and most prestigious school in America were to do the right thing and file for divorce from dirty energy, it would be a clarion call heard around the world.

Responsible Investor, Canada is burning, and our banks are fanning the flames

For far too long, the disconnect between cause and effect of climate-related disasters has worked against the social impetus to address climate change. But once again, we are being confronted with the reality that climate change is here, it affects all of us and it needs to be fought. The combustion of fossil fuels has largely contributed to the heat dome that has settled over British Columbia and Alberta and is responsible for more than 700 deaths.

Reuters (via US News) – Big Insurance Companies Launch Net-Zero Climate Alliance

Eight of the world’s leading insurance and reinsurance companies on Sunday launched an alliance to help speed up a transition to a net zero emissions economy. The companies, which include Europe’s top three insurers by premiums – Allianz, AXA and Generali – said the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) would work to shift underwriting portfolios towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Reuters – BlackRock CEO calls for stronger climate finance plan at G20

BlackRock (BLK.N) Chief Executive Larry Fink on Sunday called for governments to develop a stronger long-term climate finance plan to unlock the private capital needed to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy. Speaking to The Venice International Conference on Climate at a meeting of G20 Finance Ministers, he said without such a plan, current efforts, including on corporate sustainability disclosures, risked being “nothing more than window dressing”.

Reuters – Electricity demand rebound will require more fossil fuel generation

Global electricity demand is growing faster than renewable energy capacity can be rolled out and will require more power to be generated from the burning of fossil fuels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report on Thursday.

WSHU – N.Y. Comptroller: Companies Making Environmental Commitments Following Pension Fund Divestment Plan

New York made the commitment last year to use the state pension fund to divest from companies that worsen climate change. This year’s portfolio contains a few climate-related agreements. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who manages the New York State Common Retirement Fund, said six companies agreed to reduce their impact on the environment.