Page 2 - Hugh Wheelan: What I did on my holidays, tipping points and other tales
the emissions in its portfolios with the aims of the Paris Agreement. The policy says: “The Northern LGPS’s long-term goal is for 100% of assets to be compatible with the net zero-emissions ambition by c.2050 in line with the Paris agreement. This decarbonisation goal will be regularly evaluated in line with our objective of maintaining long-term financial performance.”
A final optimistic reality check comes from the latest report by Carbon Tracker, titled The political tipping point: why the politics of energy will follow the economics. It argues that we are now in a period of rapid societal chain reaction as dramatically reduced costs for renewables, the solving of feasibility issues and a switch in public perception (note the rise in the debate on air pollution) between fossil fuels and clean energy begins to tip the brown to green. They’re right: just look at the Wall Street Journal – the traditional liberal finance paper – recently labelling utility firm PG&E’s collapse as the first ‘climate change bankruptcy’, because of the liability of California wildfire damage.
Carbon Tracker notes that the critical price of battery storage has fallen almost to a level where electric vehicles can compete with conventional cars.
Significantly for investors, it points to new energy technology plays that have serious investment potential right now in electricity (43% of primary energy demand) and light transport (10% of primary energy demand), where the “ceiling of economically reasonable technical opportunity lies far above the reality of what has been done in most countries.” Country variations are enormous. But as change occurs quickly in peer markets, the holy investment triumvirate of price, politics and public sentiment should lead to tectonic tech shifts in energy and transportation across geographies. This is the joined-up thinking that make Ambachtsheer’s recommendations and the start of the Northern LGPS climate policy the economically and societally ‘right thing to do’. The macro picture will move in lockstep. Chile is a case in point. As a result of large low cost renewable resources, 17% of national electricity generation is now green. As the tech in domestic electricity and transportation transforms, that figure should balloon. Chile should start to enjoy the best of both worlds: pristine, protected national parks and a swift shift in sustainability economics.
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