Environment, February 28: New carbon indices launched for Australia, Europe and Japan

RI’s regular review of environmental investing news

Index company FTSE, the Carbon Disclosure Project and ENDS Carbon have launched four new indices within the FTSE CDP Carbon Strategy Index Series, covering Australia, Europe and Japan. The new measures join two existing UK indices: the FTSE CDP Carbon Strategy All-Share Index and the FTSE CDP Carbon Strategy 350 Index which were launched late last year. “These indices, which apply forward-looking analysis to the CDP data set, offer investors a straightforward mechanism to protect themselves from risk and factor climate change into their investment decisions,” said CDP Chief Executive Paul Simpson. Announcement

Canada: investors are writing to the environment ministers in the Federal and Alberta governments urging independent oversight of its “greatly improved” oil sands monitoring system. “We believe there is significant momentum on this issue, but need to be very clear that the integrity of the new oil sands monitoring program will rely in large degree on the level of independent oversight,” the draft letter states.

A Workshop on Climate Change Reporting is being held at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva on March 16. It is being organised by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Carbon Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). There will be speakers from the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and the International Integrated Reporting Council. Link

Singapore’s state investment giant, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, has taken a 5% per cent stake in commodities trader Bunge Ltd. – the new owner of Climate Change Capital. GIC has disclosed a holding of 7.3m shares in New York-listed Bunge worth $496m. Bunge acquired CCC last week for an undisclosed sum. Link

Denmark’s DONG Energy has hailed a “new kind of investor” with the sale of a 50% stake in its 277MW Borkum Riffgrund 1 German onshore wind farm to Kirkbi A/S and the Oticon Foundation for a total DKK4.7bn (€632m). Kirkbi and Oticon control the Lego toy company and industrial group William Demant Holding respectively. Link*Maosheng Duan of China’s Tsinghua University* has been named Chair of the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board. Duan, who joined the board in 2010 and was vice-chair last year, is a Professor at Tsinghua’s Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy. Former Chair Martin Hession of the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change becomes Vice-Chair. Link

Denmark, Israel, Sweden, Finland and the US have the best conditions for clean technology start-ups, the first Global Cleantech Innovation Index shows. Coming Clean: The Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2012 has been published by the Cleantech Group and environmental non-governmental organisation WWF. Thirty-eight countries were evaluated on 15 indicators related to the creation and commercialisation of cleantech start-ups.

US bank J.P. Morgan is jointly investing $225m with GE Energy Financial Services in a partnership that owns the 662.5MW Capricorn Ridge wind farm in West Texas. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will remain the majority owner and operator of the project. Additional financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The project is capable of generating enough electricity to power more than 220,000 homes and avoiding more than 952,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Link

China has set up its first national think tank on renewable energy as part of an effort to deal with climate change and carbon emissions, reports China Daily. It said the China National Renewable Energy Center draws on previous cooperation with Denmark, which is providing financial and technology support. The centre will be headed by Wang Zhongying.

Local Government Super, the A$6bn (€4.8bn) Australian super fund, has signed an agreement with MSCI to provide customized reports to measure and monitor environmental, social and governance (ESG) and the carbon characteristics of its portfolios. MSCI’s Carbon Beta product will be used to assess each LGS portfolio in comparison to relevant benchmarks, measuring carbon intensity, carbon risk, and exposure to strategic opportunities related to climate change.