Policy Corner | January 28, 2021

Say it again: climate action means job creation

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, Jan. 28 – President Biden marked his first week in office with 30 executive orders aimed at tackling the climate emergency. “Today is climate day at the White House, which means that today is jobs day at the White House,” said Biden.

He vowed to create millions of skilled jobs building “a new American infrastructure and clean energy economy,” while a Civilian Climate Corps is aimed at conserving at least 30% of the country’s public lands and waters by 2030.

Other actions: electrifying the national fleet, supporting clean energy innovation and revitalizing communities dependent on coal, oil, natural gas and power plants. Biden suspended new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters and called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Federal agencies are to direct 40% of investments in clean energy, clean water and wastewater infrastructure to low-income communities of color that have borne the brunt of pollution.

“These are concrete actionable solutions,” added Biden. “And we know how to do this.″ 

Catalytic carbon offsets

Demand for carbon credits is heating up as corporations scramble to fulfill net-zero pledges. A blueprint from the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets aims to create efficient global carbons markets.

Buying offsets in carbon-reducing projects can help companies neutralize some of their own emissions while boosting projects and technologies in emerging markets “where the economics are not yet quite there,” U.N. special envoy Mark Carney said at the World Economic Forum’s online ‘Davos’ gathering.

“The way forward is to connect these private-sector payments to innovation” around tough challenges like green cement, green steel and green aviation fuel, added Bill Gates. 

Climate laggard

ExxonMobil is considering changes to its board and increasing carbon-reducing investments in order to fend off activist investors. It is facing pressure from D.E. Shaw and Engine No. 1.

Engine No. 1 officially nominated four energy veterans for Exxon’s board, including former Vestas Wind Systems CEO Anders Runevad and Kaisa Hietala, who headed renewable products at Neste.

The candidates, said the firm, “ensure a clean break from a strategy and mindset that have led to years of value destruction and poorly positioned the company for the future.”

The next move: Exxon is expected to take a $20 billion write-down and report its fourth consecutive quarterly loss next week.