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The Best and Worst States to Live In

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A recent survey conducted by the North American Van Lines relocation company found that more than 70% of American adults live in or near the city where they grew up. But for those who make a deliberate choice to move away from home, the decision is often influenced by one or two key factors. 

Some may choose to move to a new city to find a better job. A family may buy a home in a new neighborhood to enroll the children in a better school district. Retirees may relocate to be in a warmer, sunnier climate, while others may choose a new place to live in an area with lower crime rates or more affordable housing. The list of reasons varies. (Here are America’s least dangerous states.)

Indeed, key economic, social, and environmental factors can all be important considerations to make when deciding on a place to live – and these factors can change significantly from state to state. 

Using data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 16 measures to determine the best – and worst – states to live in. 

Each measure used in our index has an impact on overall quality of life. These measures include those related to the economy such as unemployment and poverty; the environment such as air pollution; and social factors such as crime and levels of investment in public works and institutions.

There are some notable geographic patterns in the ranking. For example, eight of the 10 lowest-ranking states are in the South, while the highest ranking states are concentrated in the West and the Northeast. (Here are 22 states where people live the longest.)

It is important to note that each state, regardless of its ranking, has some positive attributes as well as some negatives. For example, while many of the Southern states rank lower on this list, often due to higher crime and poverty rates, many may also make an ideal home due to warm climates, a low cost of living, and affordable housing.

Click here to see the best and worst states to live in 2022.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

Tightening of ESG standards targets carbon offset schemes

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One of the major criticisms of corporate net-zero initiatives has always been that companies use carbon offset schemes to check their green boxes without actually reducing their actual pollution. Now a major investor group wants to ban portfolios from including companies that push the offsets, and instead focus them on actually cutting their carbon emissions.

The Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA), which includes fund managers totaling more than $11 trillion in assets, said this week it banned members from counting companies that use carbon removal plans like offsets toward their emissions reduction targets.

The announcement is the latest step in a trend among investors to focus on real carbon reductions and away from strategies that reward polluters for buying their way to a green ranking. European regulators last year said they would separate funds with environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies into distinct categories that separate those with assets focused on reduction from others, causing a dramatic reduction in the number of funds claiming ESG themes.

The practical effect of regulators and industry groups such as NZAOA moving in this direction is that investors will have a much clearer idea whether they are investing in funds that share their desire to combat climate change or just ones that are using ESG for marketing reasons. It will certainly be a cleaner, if smaller, pool to choose from.

Whether it results in more companies actually decarbonizing their operations is another question altogether.

Eureka! The elusive ‘greenium’ has been found

. . . . It took some digging, but researchers have finally found the elusive ‘greenium,’ or green premium, in sustainable bonds, writes Mark Hulbert. Long touted as a feature of green financing, the premium was actually hard to consistently locate as sustainable bonds boomed in the past few years, until these researchers discovered a startling twist in the data. Hulbert explains why it was hiding in plain sight. . . .

Read the full column

This week’s subscriber-only insights

. . . . Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — a conflict that now seems to be a new escalation — has been an abomination. But there’s a glimmer of good news: The efforts of European nations to rely less on Russian fossil fuels has led them to considerably speed up their transition to renewables, an effort that has led to green energy surpassing natural gas as a generator of power. Read more. . . .

. . . . China and India are powering their transition to renewable energy sources. That’s hugely important because without the most populous nations going green, other efforts are essentially futile. Read more here. . . .

Editor’s picks: Climate change and the polar vortex; plus, more trees, please

Is climate change affecting the polar vortex?

Some researchers link disruptions to the polar vortex to climate change, while others attribute them to natural variability, according to this report from Yale Climate Connections. As another arctic blast takes aim at the northeast with ice storms and record cold temperatures forecast into the weekend, meteorologists are studying whether the “stretching” of the polar vortex is happening more often as the climate warms. According to the report, Yale Climate Connections meteorologist Bob Henson says, “One school of research has found that warming in the Arctic may be causing weather weirding or torquing of the jet stream to pull cold air down more often and perhaps intensify cold and snow.” But over longer time scales, the connections are a little less solid. “So that tends to argue for what we call natural variability,” he says. While the debate continues about the role climate change plays in polar vortex disruptions, Henson says people should expect and prepare for occasional extreme cold waves.

Green infrastructure. Also known as trees

More trees in urban areas could save lives. So says research published recently in The Lancet demonstrating that planting more trees in cities to lower summertime temperatures could decrease deaths directly linked to hot weather and heat waves by a third. The article, titled Cooling cities through urban green infrastructure: a health impact assessment of European cities, says increasing tree cover to 30% would cut 0.4°C. (0.7°F.) locally, on average, during hot summer months. The report notes that currently, less than 15% of urban spaces in Europe are shaded by trees. In the 93 European cities reviewed, 6,700 premature deaths were attributed to higher temperatures in 2015. A third of those could have been prevented, according to the findings.

From brown assets to green finance

This paper proposes a market solution to enhance the role of the financial sector in the green transition. From the abstract of the IMF Working Paper titled A Market for Brown Assets to Make Finance Green: “Developing a secondary market for “brown exposures” can allow banks to dispose more quickly of stranded assets thereby increasing their capacity to finance green investments. Furthermore, newly created instruments — the brown assets backed securities (B-ABS) — can expand the diversification opportunities for specialized green investors and, thus, attract additional resources for new green investments. The experience of the secondary market for non-performing loans suggests that targeted policy and regulatory measures can simultaneously support the development of the secondary market for brown assets and green finance.” Authors: Domenico Fanizza, International Monetary Fund; Laura Cerami, World Bank – African Development Bank.

Words to live by . . . .

“Agricultural demand for water — probably the largest threat to freshwater species — continues to increase. … Meanwhile, threats to terrestrial biodiversity — primarily the conversion of habitat to agricultural uses … — have not diminished.” — Indur M. Goklany, senior U.S. science policy adviser.

Ken LaRoe: An open letter to anti-ESG politicians about sustainable investing

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By Ken LaRoe

(Ken LaRoe is CEO & Founder of Climate First Bank, America’s first FDIC-insured bank founded to combat the climate crisis. Ken is a serial values-based entrepreneur and a leader in ethical banking. In 2021, Ken started Climate First Bank, who’s mission it is to meaningfully contribute to the drawdown of atmospheric CO₂.)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Callaway Climate Insights) — Across the United States, Republican-leaning states, including Texas, Florida, West Virginia, and most recently, Kentucky, are taking aim at businesses investing in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). This partisan crusade is taking different forms and arguments. Some argue that ESG investing sacrifices returns, while others claim that firms that do not invest in the fossil fuel industry threaten the economy. As a result of these claims, some states have begun proposing and adopting new legislation to limit or prohibit state governments from ESG investment.

Earlier this month, our bank, Climate First Bank, was cited as one of 11 banks that Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball threatened to divest from, due to our stance on the fossil fuels industry. Initially, when we heard that Climate First Bank had been targeted, we needed clarification as we currently do not do any business in Kentucky, and we were disappointed to have been included in such a nonsensical partisan dispute.

Today, as we reflect, we are saddened that Kentucky’s State Treasurer is pushing a flawed narrative, claiming that divesting from institutions like Climate First Bank could help the fossil fuel industry in Kentucky. As voters and climate advocates, we must take notice and respond to false claims by participating in elections, voting with our wallets, and standing up against this false propaganda.

I felt compelled to respond to Ball personally, and I urge readers to write to their own local officials to express their concern. Below I have included an excerpt from Climate First Bank’s letter to Kentucky’s State Treasurer:

“It is disappointing to hear Republicans, like yourself, choose to weaponize Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and politicize Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Governments and corporations nationwide (and worldwide) have reaped the benefits of incorporating ESG, contrary to comments like ‘ESG-focused investing sacrifices returns.’ For instance, BlackRock has had the five highest-ranked returns for the state of Florida amongst its 12 external managers, yet they have been blocked both by you and the Comptroller in the State of Florida for boycotting the fossil fuel industry.

Climate First Bank has recognized from day one that a forward-looking approach and rapid action are necessary to halt the climate crisis whilst generating sustainable, profitable financial outcomes in the long-term. This premise has not only led us to become the fastest-growing new bank in the country since 2017 but also enabled the bank to have a higher profile compared to similar banks our size (for instance, because of your dictum last week, Climate First Bank garnered attention worth an estimated $2 million in ad value).

Your short-sighted and partisan decree is harmful to your constituents and provides false hope that your state’s downtrodden fossil fuel industry will rebound. According to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, since 2012, coal production in Kentucky has decreased by over 92%, and it’s not coming back. It is time that your state focuses on the future: clean energy and a green economy. Ultimately, ESG is not a partisan issue; If it’s not incorporated into your economic decisions, your state will get left behind.

Climate First Bank currently does not do business in Kentucky, but we will, and many of the like-minded financial institutions you have placed on your ‘blacklist’ already do.

To be clear, this blacklisting will not harm the financial institutions you have listed nor undermine the interweaving of ESG factors into investment decision-making. However, this blacklisting will have real consequences for your state and taxpayers.”

I urge readers to write their own letters to their local officials. Climate First Bank has produced a downloadable letter for you to fill out and mail. Please stay vigilant in how your states address ESG investing and use your vote, wallet, and platform to condemn partisan falsehoods by your state officials.

Source: Climate First Bank

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of David Callaway or Callaway Climate Insights.

Eureka! The elusive ‘greenium’ has been found

Source: Kativ / E+ via Getty Images

(Mark Hulbert, an author and longtime investment columnist, is the founder of the Hulbert Financial Digest; his Hulbert Ratings audits investment newsletter returns.)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Callaway Climate Insights) — There may be a “greenium” after all. And that’s good news for investors who hope that they can influence companies to become more climate friendly.

I’m referring to the price premium that so-called “green” bonds are supposed to trade over “non-green” bonds. Their higher price would mean that their yields are lower, giving green firms an incentive to undertake climate-change-mitigation and other environmentally-friendly projects that would otherwise not be profitable.

As I’ve written before, previous research has failed to find evidence of a significant greenium. This in turn suggested that green bonds are having no real-world effect, and their issuance is an exercise in little more than greenwashing.

A new study finds that this conclusion may be wrong, however. It turns out that a green firm reduces its cost of capital only after issuing multiple green bonds over time…

Source: Climate First Bank

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States Where the Most People Were Displaced by Natural Disasters Last Year

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2022 is ranked third in the number of natural disasters in the U.S. that caused $1 billion in damage. In addition to Hurricane Ian, which ravaged Florida and parts of Georgia in September, severe drought conditions impacted many Western and Central states, major flooding impacted eastern Kentucky and eastern Missouri, and wildfires raged in western states, among the many weather events and natural disasters. As a result, many Americans were uprooted because of severe weather episodes. (These are the 18 separate billion dollar weather and climate disasters in 2022.)

To determine the states with the most people displaced by natural disasters in 2022, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey conducted between Dec. 9-19. We only included states where at least 1% of the population were displaced due to natural disasters at some point in the previous 52 weeks from when the survey ended and ranked them according to the percent of adults who were displaced. Supplemental data came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most recent study on Billion Dollar Disasters.

While California dealt with an earthquake in December that killed two as well as drought and a series of wildfires that consumed sections of the Golden State between January and October and claimed nine lives, it is not among the states that had the most displaced adults as a percentage of their population. Still, it is noteworthy as about a quarter of a million adults were displaced due to natural disasters. (California has had more weather disasters than any other state in the last decade.)

In the southeast, where Hurricane Ian tore up swaths of Florida and parts of Georgia in September, a greater portion of the population was displaced. In Florida, almost 1 million adults were displaced as a result of natural disasters that caused as much as $100 billion to $200 billion in damage, both the highest figures of any state. In Georgia, 95,700 adults were displaced, and damages caused by major weather events ranged from $500 million to $1 billion.

By percentage, Florida was not the state where most residents were displaced by disaster. That distinction belongs to Louisiana, where 409,996 people, or 11.9% of all adults, in the Pelican State were displaced due to natural disasters such as the tornadoes that hit the state in December. 

About half of the 18 states on our list had estimated damages caused by major weather events in 2022 of $1 billion or more.

Click here to see states where the most people were displaced by natural disasters last year.

Click here to see out detailed methodology.

EV stocks ride January wave on price cuts, takeover interest

Source: Courtesy of Tesla

In today’s issue:

— EV stocks lead January rally on price wars, takeover interest
— So just how complicated are the new EV tax credits?
— Forget obscene oil earnings — new data show renewable investment topped fossil fuel financing for the first time last year. Here’s why there’s no looking back.
— The EU could boost its own green subsidies and tax credits
— New snow-making tech could end up being worse than the problem it’s designed to solve

A spate of selling on Wall Street this week ahead of the Federal Reserve Meeting today and Wednesday has put the brakes on a surprising January rally in electric vehicle stocks, which had some long-dormant names such as Lucid Group $LCID and Nikola Corp. $NKLA spiking in recent sessions.

Fired up by a budding price war between the likes of Tesla $TSLA , Ford Motor Co. $F and others, investors leaped back into the EV sector this past month in the hopes that a weaker economic downturn than expected and the beginning of a new bull market might continue to drive the mass shift among car buyers to EVs.

Tesla started the run just two weeks ago by slashing prices on some of its most popular models by up to 20%, simultaneously igniting new demand and pissing off existing owners who bought only months ago at higher prices. Ford announced cuts to its Mach-3 EV on Monday. All cuts are designed in part to make the models eligible for tax credits offered by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

But no stock has jumped as much as Lucid Motors, which is up more than a third in the past week on stalk that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund, which owns 65% of the company, may buyout the rest and take it private. Lucid shares have been a disappointment in the past few years, and the Saudis might be willing to just take it out rather than watch its public value decline further.

Consumer demand for EVs never really faded during the inflation spiral last year. If anything, lack of supply helped boost interest. Even with talk of a recession coming, it seems clear the EV transition will continue, and be even bigger this year now that prices are being cut. Investors are making their bets on who will come out ahead.

More insights below . . . .

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Humanity Closer Than Ever to Destroying Itself: The Doomsday Clock Over the Years

Source: Adam Berry / Getty Images News via Getty Images

This week, in response to the escalating situation in Ukraine, the bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that they had moved the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been. 

Nuclear war and climate change are the main dangers our world currently faces. The probability of those catastrophes actually happening is measured by the Doomsday Clock, which reflects how close we are to destroying our world. The closer the clock gets to midnight, the more dire the situation is. If the clock hits midnight, well, that means the world has ended. Thankfully, we are not at that point yet, though we are closer than ever. 

The Doomsday Clock was created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, founded by Albert Einstein and scientists who worked on the atomic bomb in the Manhattan project. It is set annually. For the past two years, prior to the move this week, the clock had been set at 100 seconds to midnight.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the timeline of the Doomsday Clock to list the number of minutes and seconds to midnight for each year since 1947, the first year the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit science and global security organization, began using the clock. We included the number of nuclear tests conducted each year, from the nonprofit arms control group The Arms Control Association

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists first emphasized the threat of nuclear annihilation as East and West nations raced to build atomic weapons after World War II. Over the ensuing years, the U.S. and the Soviet Union (now Russia) took steps to pull back from the nuclear brink. The best years, when the clock was furthest away from midnight, were after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, from 1991 through 1994. (This is what a nuclear attack would do to the world’s major cities.)

More recently, the dangers from North Korea and Iran developing their nuclear program have been affecting the clock position. In the past months, too, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has been threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine as Moscow suffers setbacks in its invasion of the country. 

In 2007, the Bulletin scientists also warned for the first time of the damage climate change could inflict on the planet. In 2015, the clock moved closer to midnight, from five to three minutes to midnight, largely because of climate change. (Here are countries facing the worst climate emergencies.)

Not all the major events that have affected the clock’s position have to do with nuclear proliferation, yet they are just as dangerous to humanity’s and the planet’s safety. For example, as COVID-19 spread across the globe and a pandemic declared in 2020, the clock was advanced from two minutes to midnight to 100 seconds to midnight, where it remains since. 

Some years were actually good in terms of human achievement. In 1969, the U.S. landed a man on the moon, and the clock went from seven minutes to midnight to 10. The clock has not had a good year since 2010.

Click here to see how close the human race came to ending life on earth on every year since 1947.

ESG backlash not stopping bull market in chief sustainability jobs, or pay packages

Defying supply chain disruptions and macroeconomic headwinds, 2022 energy transition investment jumped 31% to draw level with fossil fuels, according to a report out today from BloombergNEF. The report shows global investment in the low-carbon energy transition hit a new record total of $1.1 trillion in 2022 as the energy crisis and policy action drove faster deployment of clean energy technologies. In another first, the report says, investment in low-carbon technologies appears to have reached parity with capital deployed in support of fossil fuel supply.

The anti-ESG backlash from red-state Republicans making international headlines isn’t having much impact on the corporate world’s rush to find sustainability talent or for that matter its focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies, according to an A-list panel of sustainability hiring executives and private equity leaders I moderated yesterday.

“The capital flows are still flowing to ESG,” said Paula Luff, director of ESG at DSC Meridian Capital, adding that companies that move themselves notably away from sustainability practices “are going to lose in the war for talent.”

Indeed, the war for talent is only set to intensify, according to the other panelists, Jennifer Skylakos, managing partner of the sustainable infrastructure and energy practice at executive search firm DHR Global; and Heidi DuBois, global head of ESG at AEA Investors. While the number of chief sustainability executives has ballooned in the S&P 500 to more than half from only about 70 three years ago, the vast majority were older men who moved over from other positions in their companies.

Part of the issue is that senior sustainability jobs are so new, with most hired in 2021 and 2022, that the pool of available talent is still quite small, and hugely expensive, the panelists said. So many companies simply add it to the responsibilities of an existing executive. As sustainability starts to flow down through companies, the market for new talent is going to boom, they said.

The name of the panel, attended by more than 100 sustainability investors and executives, was “The Rising Importance of Sustainability and its Impact on Talent Teams.” It was hosted by BoardEx, the relationship mapping company now owned by Altrata, and once owned by my former company, TheStreet, Inc. BoardEx also supplied the CSO data referenced above.

The panelists, a brilliant cross-section of ESG experience and talent insight, also addressed the role of corporate boards and the challenges of building a sustainable structure inside your company. You can listen to the audio recording here.

Latin America stocks in reversal of fortune start year with gains in renewables, ESG shares

. . . . In the U.S., there is a market theory called ‘Dogs of the Dow,’ which holds that the worst-performing stocks in the Dow Jones average will be the best the following year. Sometimes it works, and not just in the Dow. Three weeks into the year, the big gainers in Latin America last year — the oil and gas companies — are slumping as renewable and ESG stocks retake the limelight, writes Michael Molinski. Part of it may be falling gas prices. Part is tied to new Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But it’s worth noting, as January trends often dictate the year. Molinski has the winners and losers to date. . .

Read the full story

This week’s subscriber-only insights

New battery source for tidal energy

. . . . One technology that could power the whole planet without the unpredictability of solar and wind? As we have reported several times, there’s tidal; and now a new source is being examined: gravity batteries using the huge number of abandoned mineshafts around the world. Read more. . . .

Manchin’s maneuvering to slow EV tax credits strategy

. . . . Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W. Va.) latest attempt to hijack President Joe Biden’s climate strategy seems more of an irritant than a full-scale attack. Manchin threatened to introduce legislation earlier this week that would halt consumer tax credits on electric vehicles unless the Treasury fulfills a promise to provide guidance on how much of the minerals used in the batteries need to be from the U.S.

The Treasury has most likely delayed pinning itself to a percentage because of the firestorm of controversy in Europe around the tax credits. Manchin is now applying pressure from the other side. Like it or not, the government needs to put a number down and stick to it. And damn the torpedoes. . . .

Chevron doubles down on fossil fuel hubris

. . . . It’s hard to see Chevron’s $CVX declaration of a $75 billion stock buyback and increased dividend this week as anything other than a nose-thumbing to President Biden after he asked U.S. oil companies last year to put their resources into lowering gas prices for American consumers.

With oil prices holding steady at about $80 a barrel, there was plenty of room to do something other with all Chevron’s excess cash than funnel it back to executives and shareholders, particularly with renewable energy investments booming across the country.

We’ll know more when the company’s earnings come out on Friday, but all signs are pointing to another bonanza on the back of higher oil prices. Such hubris is always worth pointing out for remembering when fortunes turn in the future. With Chevron’s rivals in Europe increasingly moving into the renewables space, the company is looking more and more like the last dinosaur in the tar pit. . . .

Tesla’s not dead yet

. . . . Time to put away those Tesla $TSLA obituaries. Shares of the electric car giant leaped more than 8% after Elon Musk’s company reported record revenue and profit, and a 31% increase in vehicles sold, to more than 400,000, despite a slowdown in China and concern about Musk’s Twitter infatuation. Still, competition from other EV makers is cutting strongly into Tesla’s market share, which is in part why it cut prices last month. But more than anything, the earnings show that demand for EVs is still booming despite economic worries, and as long as Tesla is the leader in that market, it’s hard to ignore its shares. . . .

Where to charge?

. . . . One of the issues with getting power into people’s EVs is where they live. It’s fine if you own a house in the suburbs where you can install a charging station in your garage. But what if you rent in an apartment complex? Now, several companies say they are trying to come up with a solution. Read more. . . .

Editor’s picks: An iceberg the size of London

Fine print on labor in US climate bill complicates tax credits

Fine print in the U.S. climate bill relating to wage and labor requirements is complicating companies’ ability to qualify for tax credit, Ari Natter writes for Bloomberg Green. The legislation boosted tax credits and provided subsidies for clean energy projects and for consumers. But according to the report, projects that don’t meet certain new wage and labor requirements only get a fraction of the credit. For example, to get the full 30% investment tax credit related to solar construction, developers must pay workers at least a wage level set by the Depart. of Labor and use a minimum share of labor from workers who are in registered apprenticeship programs, the report notes. The Bloomberg report quotes Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, as saying the provisions are “workable” but the industry needs more guidance from the federal government and that “there must be some recognition that in some parts of the country the infrastructure is not yet set up, and there may not be sufficient apprenticeship programs in some states.”

Global green bond issuance could rebound this year

Global green bond issuance in the coming year is expected to get a boost from supportive policies, stable interest rate expectations and a catch-up of postponed issuances from last year, according to analysts cited by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The report notes this could signal a rebound after a 25.6% decline in green bond supply in 2022. The report cites Jianheng Chen, head of fixed income research at Beijing-based CICC Research, as saying efforts to standardize the market will spur growth in China for 2023. In the U.S., analysts see the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to provide $386 billion in energy and climate spending over 10 years, with related tax incentives of about $265 billion, as supporting green bond issuance this year. Bram Bos, lead portfolio manager for green, social and impact bonds at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, told S&P Global he expects a “regional shift” in the Europe-dominated market, with a growing share of the U.S. and emerging market issuers.

Plug ‘em in: EV batteries could speed renewable energy growth

Electric vehicle batteries alone could satisfy short-term grid storage demand by as early as 2030, according to new research published recently in Nature Communications. The authors say: “EV batteries could complement [renewable energy] generation by providing short-term grid services. However, estimating the market opportunity requires an understanding of many socio-technical parameters and constraints. We quantify the global EV battery capacity available for grid storage using an integrated model incorporating future EV battery deployment, battery degradation, and market participation. We include both in-use and end-of-vehicle-life use phases and find a technical capacity of 32–62 terawatt-hours by 2050. Low participation rates of 12%–43% are needed to provide short-term grid storage demand globally. Participation rates fall below 10% if half of EV batteries at end-of-vehicle-life are used as stationary storage. Short-term grid storage demand could be met as early as 2030 across most regions.” Authors: Chengjian Xu, Paul Behrens, Paul Gasper, Kandler Smith, Mingming Hu, Arnold Tukker and Bernhard Steubing.

Words to live by . . . .

“Every day, it seems, a new extreme weather catastrophe happens somewhere in America, and the media’s all over it, profiling the ordinary folks wiped out by forest fires, droughts, floods, massive sinkholes, tornadoes.” — Journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell.

What a Nuclear Strike Would Do to Russia’s Large Cities

Source: Dmitrii Tishchenko / iStock via Getty Images

As western allies of Ukraine send more and more weapons to aid the European nation in its fight against Russia, many analysts believe the world is moving closer and closer to World War III. In January, the United States and Germany announced they would send highly advanced tanks to the Ukrainian front, a move that Russia pointed to as a clear provocation, with Russia’s ambassador to Germany calling it an “extremely dangerous decision.” 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made thinly-veiled statements effectively threatening to use nuclear weapons if further provoked.  In the summer of 2022, U.S. national security officials said there no reason to be concerned that this geopolitical conflict would lead to all-out nuclear war, but as things continue to escalate, many wonder if nuclear war is a more real likelihood than it has been in decades.

Nuclear weapons have been one of the most existential global threats since the start of the Cold War. Modern nuclear warheads are measured in hundreds of kilotons with far greater firepower than the nuclear bombs used in 1945, when the U.S. bombed two cities in Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to end World War II.

Recently, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the immediate impact of nuclear attacks on different U.S. cities in what a nuclear attack would do to America’s 25 largest cities

Now, we examine the consequences of a nuclear attack on 15 of Russia’s largest cities by population. To find how a nuclear detonation could affect Russian cities, 24/7 Wall St. used Nukemap, a site that simulates detonations of nuclear bombs. We have chosen two typical warhead yields, 100 kilotons and 800 kilotons of TNT equivalent. Metropolitan areas are ordered by total population, from smaller to larger. Population data for the urban agglomeration area of each city came from the U.N.

Russia’s 15 largest cities together make up 23% of the country’s population of 143.4 million. Understandably, the most populous Russian cities would sustain the highest number of casualties from a nuclear strike — namely Moscow and Saint Petersburg. City residents who live further away from the population center, especially away from dense concentrations of commercial and residential buildings, would have a greater chance of surviving the immediate effects of a nuclear blast.

In Moscow, 74% of the capital city’s 12.4 million people live outside the blast range of a 100-kiloton nuclear bomb if it were detonated over the Kremlin. The blast from such a nuke would instantly kill an estimated 251,800 people and injure 1.1 million. (A 100-kiloton bomb is far from the most powerful ever built. This is the most powerful nuclear explosion in history.)

Comparatively speaking, the same nuke dropped on the southern Russian port city of Rostov-on-Don, with its population 1.1 million people, would instantly kill almost as many people as the same attack on Moscow — 225,035 — because only 10% of the Rostov population lives outside the blast radius of a 100-kiloton bomb.

Injury and fatality estimates used here are based primarily on the effects of the nuclear blast itself caused by the destructive high-pressure waves of intense heat and pressure emanating from the massive incinerating fireball at ground zero. These estimates do not take into account the collateral casualties from the lingering effects of radiation poisoning and ensuing famine and disease. (This is what a nuclear war would do to the world.)

Here is what a nuclear bomb would do to a Russian city.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.

Latin America stocks in reversal of fortune, start year with gains in renewables, ESG shares

Source: renacal1 / iStock via Getty Images

(Michael Molinski is a senior economist at Trendline Economics. He’s worked for Fidelity, Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo, and previously as a foreign correspondent and editor for Bloomberg News and MarketWatch.)

MEXICO CITY (Callaway Climate Insights) — ESG investing in Latin America in 2023 is off to a good start, and the outlook for the rest of the year looks promising.

ESG investing in 2022 was not a good year. It was a year when mining and fossil fuels outshined many investments as a result of the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing high oil prices and supply shocks for raw materials like iron ore and fertilizers.

“The combination of elevated inflationary pressures, geopolitical tensions, and an energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine precipitated a volatile backdrop for sustainable investments,” says Sarah Hargreaves, head of sustainability for Massachusetts-based Commonwealth Financial Network.

The year 2022 also brought high demand for lithium to fuel electric-vehicle batteries, and companies like Chile’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera benefited from it by soaring 50% over the past year.

Opportunities for 2023…

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