Week 42: The silence is killing us. We need to roar!

In this issue: ▸ The silence and the need to roar ▸ Governments plan to produce more fossil fuels ▸ Governments want to soften IPCC report ▸ And much more...

Dear all,

Silence. It’s an underestimated state of mind and part of everyday life. Just simple silence, for a couple of hours now and then. No noise, no sounds. Silence. Embracing the nothingness of silence, embracing all the things silence is made of. 

There is so much in it, thoughts climbing wildly across the inner lobe, real dreams, and dreams of reality. That idea you finally get to think through, that smile or joke that finally manage to land in you. The sorrow of missed opportunities, ideas floating down along your spine. That silent, hysterical sound of emptiness you can feel in your bones. 

The world is silent. Can you hear the roar of millions? The call for something to happen. That something that will change the odds and make them a bit more even, a little better. Make things at least liveable for the majority of the population in this world. 

Silence. It makes a difference, a big difference. We cannot stay silent. These are not silent times, these are not times where the roar of millions should be silenced.  

We need to build popular movements so big that governments have no choice but to respond to them if they wish to remain in office. We need to make politicians understand that the survival of life on Earth is more important than their ideological commitment to a limited government. Preventing Earth’s systems from flipping means flipping our political systems.

So what is our Pearl Harbour moment? Well, how about now? After all, to extend the analogy, the Pacific seaboard of the U.S. has recently come under unprecedented climatic attack. The heat domes, the droughts and the fires this year should have been enough to shock everyone out of their isolationism. 

But the gap between these events and people’s understanding of the forces that caused them is, arguably, the greatest public information failure in human history.

Silence? Can you hear the roar?

Governments plan to produce more fossil fuels 

As countries set net-zero emission targets, and increase their climate ambitions under the Paris Agreement, they have not explicitly recognised or planned for the rapid reduction in fossil fuel production that these targets will require. 

Rather, the world’s governments plan to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. 

The production gap has remained largely unchanged since the first production gap analysis in 2019, according to the 2021 report. However, governments are collectively projecting an increase in global oil and gas production, and only a modest decrease in coal production, over the next two decades. 

This leads to future production levels far above those consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. In 2030, governments’ production plans and projections would lead to around 240% more coal, 57% more oil, and 71% more gas than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Do we want to stay silent on this? Do you really want to stay silent on this? 

G20 countries have directed around USD 300 billion in new funds towards fossil fuel activities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – more than they have toward clean energy. 

We need to roar and we need to make it matter. This is not ok. I suggest you read the Production Gap report. It is rather clear on most of it and what we really need to know.

Read the report

Governments want to soften IPCC report

A huge leak of documents seen by BBC News shows how countries are trying to change a crucial scientific report on how to tackle climate change. 

The leak reveals Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are among countries asking the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels. It also shows some wealthy nations are questioning paying more to poorer states to move to greener technologies.

“phrases like 'the need for urgent and accelerated mitigation actions at all scales…' should be eliminated from the report” – Advisor, Saudi Oil Ministry

This "lobbying" raises questions for the COP26 climate summit in November. The leak reveals countries pushing back on UN recommendations for action and comes just days before they will be asked at the summit to make significant commitments to slow down climate change and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

The leaked documents consist of more than 32,000 submissions made by governments, companies and other interested parties to the team of scientists compiling a UN report designed to bring together the best scientific evidence on how to tackle climate change.

Less than 10% of companies are aligned with Paris 

Meanwhile, new research suggests that world temperatures will rise 3C if listed companies do nothing to change their current projected emissions. Among other things, this underlines the difficulty of trying to invest sustainably in broad-based passively managed ETFs. 

The October 2021 release of the quarterly MSCI Net-Zero Tracker, which examines the progress of more than 9,000 of the world’s most investable companies towards reducing carbon emissions, reveals the companies’ contribution to global warming. The study found a majority (57 per cent) of those companies, which are constituents of the MSCI All Country World Investable Market Index, did not align with any globally agreed temperature target. 

Worse still, it found that fewer than 10 percent were aligned with the Paris Agreement signed in 2015 to try to keep global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. 

Shall we stay silent? Let the noise of silence approve this?

Plastics are the new coal

When we talk plastic pollution, we mostly talk about the direct impact of this material which is resistant to many natural degradation processes. Plastic our rivers, our oceans, our forests. Yes, plastic everywhere.

But there is more to it than that. In a new report entitled “The New Coal: Plastics and Climate Change” we get a comprehensive account of the U.S. plastics industry’s significant, yet rarely acknowledged contributions to the climate crisis.

Using coal-fired power plants as a benchmark, the report examines ten stages in the creation, usage, and disposal of plastics: fracking for plastics, transporting and processing fossil fuels, gas crackers, other plastics feedstock manufacturing, polymers and additives production, exports and imports, foamed plastic insulation, “chemical recycling”, municipal waste incineration, and plastics in the water.

As of 2020, the U.S. plastics industry is responsible for at least 232 million tons of CO2e gas emissions per year. This amount is equivalent to the average emissions from 116 average-sized (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants.

The U.S. plastics industry’s contribution to climate change is on track to exceed that of coal-fired power in this country by 2030. At least 42 plastics facilities have opened since 2019, are under construction, or are in the permitting process. If they become fully operational, these new plastics plants could release an additional 55 million tons of greenhouse gases—the equivalent of another 27 average-sized coal plants. 

“The U.S. plastics industry is responsible for at least 232 million tons of CO2e gas emissions per year” – Report by Beyond Plastics

The health impacts of these emissions are disproportionately borne by low-income communities and communities of colour, making this a major environmental justice issue. 

So, to put it simply, plastics are the new coal. You can read more in this piece from the Rolling Stone.

So now what? Silence again? Why?

The best ESG funds… or?

In other news, Morningstar has come out with a list of the best rated ESG funds in the world! 

Have a look here and be surprised. There are some very interesting names on the list…

Shall we stay silent? Why should we?

Kind regards,
Sasja