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McCully expects Antarctica inquiry – 3News NZ

Otago Daily Times

McCully expects Antarctica inquiry
3News NZ
The Foreign Minister expects the Royal New Zealand Air Force to launch an inquiry into an incident that lead to an emergency landing in Antarctica earlier this week. Murray McCully was on board the Air Force Boeing 757 when the weather turned, forcing
Air Force to investigate 'scary' Antarctic landingTVNZ
McCully relieved after white-out landingOtago Daily Times

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antarctica – read more

Fossil Fuel Divestment Spreading Faster Than Any Previous Campaign – Even Apartheid

It may seem like a slow build, but the fossil fuel divestment campaign is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and poses significant risk to coal, oil, and natural gas firms.

These findings come from “Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: what does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets,” a new study from the University of Oxford.

Oxford reports’s fossil fuel divestment campaign is gaining traction faster than previous divestment efforts against Apartheid, tobacco, and pornography, posing a serious reputational risk to the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies.

Fossil fuel divestment

Fossil fuel divestment logo via

Small Direct Financial Impact – With One Exception

The report seeks to answer the central question facing fossil fuel divestment campaigners: Can their efforts create a direct impact on some of the world’s richest and most powerful companies?

In terms of pure dollars, the answer is no, not really. Oxford’s researchers concluded that of the $ 12 trillion in assets among university endowments and public pension funds, the largest potential limit of divestment is between $ 240-600 billion, with another $ 120-300 billion in debt.

Those figures translate to about 2-3% fossil fuel equity exposure for US university endowments, 4-5% for UK university endowments, and 2-5% of public pension funds. Hence, the recent Aperio Group analysis that found fossil fuel divestment only increases ordinary market risk for higher education by less than 0.01%

University endowment fossil fuel exposure

University endowment fossil fuel exposure chart via Oxford University

This also means the direct impacts of fossil fuel divestment on equity or debt for fossil fuel companies will be limited at best, and their share prices are “unlikely to suffer precipitous decline” because divested stock will likely find neutral investors.

One exception stands out from this finding – coal. Oxford reasons the devaluations of coal companies will be more substantial because while they only represent a small fraction of overall fossil fuel market capitalization, they’re much less liquid and alternative investors are less likely to be found than for oil and natural gas stocks.

But Stigmatization Is A Major Threat To Companies

However, while the direct financial impact of divestment by major investment and pension funds on fossil fuel entities is small, the researchers believe stigmatization – the potential reputational damage upon targeted companies – can have big financial consequences.

“The outcome of the stigmatization process, which the fossil fuel divestment campaign has now triggered, poses the most far reaching threat to fossil fuel companies and the vast energy value chain.”

Oxford contends that stigmatization creates a negative image for firms and scares away suppliers, subcontractors, potential employees, and customers, which in turn leads shareholders to demand management changes and can bar stigmatized firms from competing for new business or completing mergers.

In addition, stigmatization can lead to restrictive new legislation by governments – a trend found in every existing divestment campaign. For fossil fuel companies, this could translate into a carbon tax or other law that would reduce their corporate valuation, and “a handful of fossil fuel companies are likely to become scapegoats.”

As a result, stigmatization from divestment has a multiplying effect on the larger campaign, increasing the negative perception of holding investments in target firms and speeding up results of the overall campaign.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Happening Faster Than Ever Before

Which all brings us back to’s fossil fuel divestment campaign. Oxford finds three waves of any divestment campaign: reach religious groups and public organizations; then reach universities, cities, and public institutions; then reach an international market.

3 waves of divestment campaigns

3 waves of divestment campaigns graph via Oxford University

Compared to previous campaigns, Oxford concludes 350 is ahead of the typical curve. “From the perspective of the three waves of divestment the fossil fuel campaign has achieved a lot in the relatively short time since it’s inception: 6 colleges and universities…along with 17 cities, 2 counties, 11 religious institutions, 3 foundations, and 2 other institutions,” said report author Ben Caldecott.

But perhaps most significantly, Oxford’s analysis doesn’t fully consider the pending $ 6 trillion carbon bubble that could lead to rapid devaluation of fossil fuel stocks that could happen if the international community heed’s the IPCC’s carbon budget warning, or if the 60 carbon pricing systems worldwide take hold and force proven assets to stay in the ground, unburned.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Spreading Faster Than Any Previous Campaign – Even Apartheid was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 other subscribers: RSS | Facebook | Twitter.


Elevated levels of pollutants found downstream from fracking wastewater

“While water contamination can be mitigated by treatment to a certain degree, our findings indicate that disposal of waste water from both conventional and unconventional oil and gas operations have degraded the surface water and sediments.” They found …
fracking wastewater – read more

Justice Department rests in second phase of BP oil spill trial –

The Maritime Executive

Justice Department rests in second phase of BP oil spill trial
Justice Department attorneys rested their case Wednesday in the federal civil trial of BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., as the firms and the government continued to argue over how much oil was released into the Gulf of Mexico in the 87 days following
Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council seeks public's ideas on how oil spill (blog)
Phase Two Of BP Trial Focuses On Amount Of Spilled OilWUWM
BP Trial Focuses on Scientists' Oil Spill EstimationsThe Maritime Executive
Bayoubuzz –Wall St. Cheat Sheet –Law360 (subscription)
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oil spill – read more

Thanks to Government Shutdown, It’s About to Get Really Lonely in Antarctica – Slate Magazine (blog)

Slate Magazine (blog)

Thanks to Government Shutdown, It's About to Get Really Lonely in Antarctica
Slate Magazine (blog)
The National Science Foundation staffs three main research centers in Antarctica—the McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott, and Palmer stations—and all of them are about to become ghost towns, thanks to the government shutdown. Unfortunately, this doesn't just 
US government shutdown puts Antarctica penguin study on iceThe Guardian
Even Antarctica Feels Effects Of The Government ShutdownNPR
Won't somebody please think of the penguins? Shutdown freezes Antarctica Quartz
Motley Fool –Chicago Tribune
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antarctica – read more

$207 Million In Venture Capital For Solar In Third Quarter of 2013

Venture capital funding for global solar was $ 207 million in Q3 of 2013, according to a new report published by the Mercom Capital Group, a  clean energy communications and consulting firm.  This total was an increase of $ 18 million from the previous quarter. PV companies received the most funding of the solar technologies that were invested in, to the tune of $ 57 million.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Also for the third quarter, there was an increase in the number of VCs engaging in funding to 35, up from 27 in Q2.

The top five VC ventures in the third quarter were:

1. Solexel with $ 39.9 million raised
2. eSolar’s $ 22 million
3. Clean Power Finance’s $ 20 million in funding
4. HelioVolt’s $ 19 million
5. Dyesol’s $ 16 million.

The $ 39.9 raised by Solexel was the largest amount by far. They make high-efficiency crystalline silicon solar cells and modules. Some of the investors that contributed were Northgate Capital, GSV Capital, KCPB Holdings, SunPower, Technology Partners, and DAG Ventures.

Announced project funding deals so far this year total 106, but last year they were just 84.

Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group, commented,  ”Overall market conditions for the solar sector continue to improve.  Project funding and M&A activity were at record levels reflecting an improved demand outlook. Taking advantage of rising market values, we  also saw significant financing activity among publicly-traded companies  this quarter.”

One of the peculiar aspects of this story is the relative lack of press about it. Meaning that it doesn’t have the same intense focus found with the political football playing associated with a Solyndra. Disaster stories about renewable energy mesh well with preconceived beliefs about the difficulty of transitioning towards clean energy sources. The information in the new report, however, shows a positive trend for businesses that are willing to remain open to new possibilities. VCs support technological change and in this case the societal impacts could be very large.

It’s also interesting to see diversity among the investors, rather than the more monopolistic lack of it in the petroleum industry. Another notable absence in the media is the fact that investing in these solar companies helps create jobs in a difficult economic period. For example, last year it was reported that Solexel was looking to have 100 employees.

$ 207 Million In Venture Capital For Solar In Third Quarter of 2013 was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 other subscribers: RSS | Facebook | Twitter.