Tag: Sustainability

EU clean investment taxonomy

The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities celebrates its one-year anniversary next month. The classification system, which is part of the larger European Green Deal, aims to create guidelines that the EU hopes will funnel investments into companies, products, and services that mitigate climate change, promote a circular economy, protect biodiversity, and more.

The framework for the taxonomy is in place, but the EU is still deep in negotiations about which economic activities can be labeled sustainable — including tricky decisions on agriculture and gas and nuclear power. The first set of the long-awaited rules was published in April, and another set is expected next year.

While the rules won’t go into effect until next year, the debate rages on. 

As sustainability, environmental impact, and the climate crisis have reached “top of mind” for most of the world, widespread attention on finding solutions, mostly technology-driven, birthed a family of new terms and categories that we’ve all been using to wrap our heads around what’s out there. Here are three that are both commonly used and commonly confused: greentech, cleantech, and climate tech.

‘A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” Isaac Asimov (The Zeroth Law) 

The enduring theme of robots bent on world destruction continues to capture our imagination, from Schwarzenegger’s iron-jawed cyborg assassin in The Terminator to the “squiddies” which patrol the abandoned cities of The Matrix. Yet real-world robotics tell a very different story, one where fast-evolving technology is driving what the World Economic Forum has described as “a sustainability revolution.”

A new State of the US Energy Industry Report reveals that 77% of energy leaders believe innovative technology is the immediate solution to transform industry and accelerate the energy transformation, crucial to meet urgent carbon net-zero goals. The report, released today by Cognite, in partnership with The Harris Poll and Axios Studio, includes data and insights from US energy decision-makers on sustainability and technology across the industry. Key findings on the current state of the industry from Harris Poll:

– 68% of energy leaders say their companies are not taking the proper steps to back up sustainability initiatives.

– 85% of energy leaders agree that more transparency is needed around the resources and behavioral changes necessary to improve sustainability.

– 77% of energy leaders say transformative technology including integrated data on emission reduction is an immediate way to become more sustainable.

– 75% of U.S. energy leaders believe public sustainability declarations don’t match private boardroom conversations.

Other important examinations of industry sentiment capture the unique moment energy leaders find themselves in as their industry comes under increasing pressure to decouple from hydrocarbons while transforming its technology stacks.

Investment portfolios are being revamped to contain more carbon-friendly holdings, and companies headed towards net zero will be challenged to report more and share everything.

In March 2021, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) launched the Net Zero Investment Framework to help investors assess the sustainability and carbon status of companies. This is a big, green step for asset managers, and IIGCC says that 38 investors, managing $8.5 trillion in assets, are already on board.

This means there’s much at stake for heavy-asset companies who may not yet be on course for net zero. An International Energy Agency report states: “No sector can escape the need to dramatically reduce emissions in a pathway towards net-zero emissions for the energy system. The heavy industry sectors and long-distance transport modes are areas where emissions are particularly ‘hard to abate.’”

Methane seeking satellites to go into orbit by 2022

Renowned industrialists Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are backing a new satellite, MethaneSAT, which is designed to detect and measure global methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas. 

The first satellite is expected in orbit as early as 2022 and will be the first satellite that can give us methane emissions data for all major oil facilities on land. The satellites can survey an area that is 260 kilometers wide, can detect emissions down to two parts per billion, and focus on areas as small as 100 meters.