(Bloomberg) — Top executives, policy makers, scientists and activists have been gathering this week for the first-ever Bloomberg Green Festival. The virtual event focuses on the core issues of climate change.
Thursday’s sessions are covering topics such as the business case for climate action and building a carbon neutral city, with speakers including Christian Ulbrich, chief executive officer of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.
Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates will speak later in the day. He says climate change is an even harder problem to fix than the global pandemic.
Click here to register and watch the event. Sign up here to receive the daily Green newsletter. See Bloomberg’s real-time dashboard of climate and energy transition data.
Amazon Makes First Five Investments From Climate Pledge Fund (12 p.m. NY)
Amazon.com Inc. announced the first five investments from its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, part of a larger initiative to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040:
CarbonCure: Making cement is responsible for about 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. People use it more than anything other than water, a McKinsey report recently pointed out. CarbonCure uses CO2 that’s been captured from industrial facilities to strengthen concrete. The company counts Amazon, LinkedIn Corp. and McDonald’s Corp. among its customers.
Pachama: About 10% of CO2 emissions come from deforestation, which is why efforts to conserve and regrow trees is of great importance. Pachama has built an artificial-intelligence platform that combines satellite data and forest information to estimate how much carbon trees are storing in any area. This technology allows it to certify carbon “offsets” that companies can buy to supplement direct emissions reductions. Microsoft Corp. and SoftBank Group are customers.
Redwood Materials: Two former Tesla Inc. executives founded this company in 2017 to tackle the complicated engineering and commercial problems with recycling electric-vehicle batteries. Redwood Materials captures high-value metals and components of used batteries for future use, and helps manage other e-waste.
Rivian: Amazon put Rivian in the spotlight last September, when it announced an order of 100,000 electric delivery vans to be delivered through 2030. That deal came six months after Amazon took a $700 million equity stake in the automaker.
TurnTide: Modern motors run refrigerators, pumps, heating and air conditioners, and along the way they waste a lot of energy. TurnTide pairs an advanced motor with software management in a way that can cut motors’ power consumption by more than 60%.
Cutting Building Energy Waste Seen as Key (10:55 a.m. NY)
Carbon emissions in cities are “outrageously high,” and the easiest way to lower them is to reduce energy waste in buildings, said Cristina Gamboa, chief executive officer at the World Green Building Council.
Not enough cities have implemented energy performance codes, and governments can do more to educate building owners on sustainable practices, said Gamboa. For instance, it’s usually more efficient to renovate existing buildings to make them more efficient than it is to erect new ones with state-of-the-art energy systems.
The number of cities that have set net-zero carbon goals is growing, said Paul Simpson, CEO at CDP, and in many cases cities have set more ambitious targets than national governments. The U.S. has more cities that have set such goals than any other country, followed by Sweden and the U.K., he said.
There’s still a lot more that local governments can do to regulate emissions standards, said Gregor Robertson, the former mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia. Ultimately, it falls on voters to urge local lawmakers to take more aggressive action.
“If people are more strident, mayors and councils can deliver that,” he said.
Cement Customers Demand Carbon Capture (8:30 a.m. NY)
Making concrete creates an enormous amount of carbon, but it’s hard to imagine a world without concrete, said Jamie Gentoso, chief executive officer for the U.S. Cement organization at LafargeHolcim.
The company is looking at using carbon capture technology at one of its U.S. plants at a cost of roughly $300 million, Gentoso said. Long-term government policy would make it easier for the company to make such investments, and would also spur research into cheaper carbon capture technologies, she said.
Real estate developers are starting to demand building products that are environmentally friendly, and eventually it will be hard for companies like LafargeHolcim to sell concrete if they’re not capturing carbon, Gentoso said.
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