FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jonathan Williams:The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund divested 73 companies last year due to environmental or governance concerns, with a company’s level of carbon emissions responsible for the largest share of equity sales.Arguing that companies with high carbon emissions, either as a direct result of their operations or due to activities of their supply chain, were at greater regulatory risk than lower-emitting companies, the NOK7.1trn (€733bn) Government Pension Fund Global sold its stakes in 42 firms.The divestment brings to 66 the number of companies sold due to their carbon footprint and sees the category account for more than one-third of the 187 companies excluded by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) on risk grounds.Full article: Norwegian oil fund divests 73 companies on environmental risk grounds Norwegian Pension Fund Divests From 73 Companies
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Mead Gruver in the Seattle Times: CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — As more coal companies file for bankruptcy, it’s increasingly likely that taxpayers will be stuck with the very high costs of preventing abandoned mines from becoming environmental disasters.The question is not if, but when, where and how many more coal mines will close as the industry declines, analysts say. Many mines already operate at a loss, and there’s not enough money in the fuel anymore to enable their owners to keep their promises to clean up the land.“It’s sort of a situation where nobody, really, is going to end up looking good,” said James Stevenson, director of North American coal for analyst firm IHS. “The states have I think a significant risk — the federal government does as well.”This reclamation crisis looms because of a practice called self-bonding, which allows coal companies to promise to eventually cover the cost of cleaning up abandoned mines without first setting aside the necessary money.Because of self-bonding, billions of dollars in legally required reclamation funding exist only as IOUs, without dedicated assets or bonds backed by third-party investors.Nationwide, self-bonding in the coal-mining industry tops $3.3 billion. That includes $2.3 billion in IOUs that the three biggest bankrupt coal companies — Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody — owe in five states, according to an Associated Press analysis of bonding obligations in the top 16 coal-mining states.The dilemma for state and federal regulators got even bleaker when the nation’s largest coal producer, Peabody, filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors in April. Peabody alone holds more than $1.1 billion in self-bonding obligations for mines in Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico and Wyoming, where its North Antelope Rochelle mine produces almost 12 percent of the nation’s coal.With several major U.S. coal producers filing for Chapter 11 over the last two years, the issue will play an important part in shaping coal’s future. Mines in Appalachia are particularly likely to close as the industry consolidates around a smaller number of still-profitable mines out West, Stevenson said.Full article: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/mine-environmental-risk-grows-with-bankruptcies-in-big-coal/ Self-Bonding Leading to Environmental Hazards As Coal Company Bankruptcies Mount
Trump’s promises seen as ineffective in halting coal’s long-term market problems FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):President Donald Trump and the coal industry’s mutual affinity may have improved investor sentiment toward the sector, but whether companies can parlay that into real market results is far from clear.The dispositions of coal miners and coal executives alike have vastly improved since Trump won the election. Industry conferences and events once punctuated with dark humor, pessimism and war-like rhetoric are now filled with optimism about the future despite susceptibility to a secular decline in consumption, partially masked by recent success in moving coal to the booming seaborne market.Despite the optimism, domestic U.S. coal consumption has continued to decline, and overall production has hardly budged under Trump as he continues to praise the country’s “beautiful, clean coal.” Supporters of the president in the coal industry, however, say greater certainty and improved sentiment toward their industry have helped.Support for coal coming from the administration is important to how the rest of the country perceives the coal industry, said Betsy Monseu, CEO of the American Coal Council. A financially healthier coal industry supercharged by positive sentiment from the White House is again attracting investors to the sector, she added. At the same time, she said, marketplace and policy issues that have “tilted the playing field away from coal” remain.While the media often focuses on high-profile events, investors are far more likely to pay attention to the effects of gradual, fundamental shifts in technology trends and societal preferences, wrote Samson Mukanjari and Thomas Sterner of the University of Gothenburg’s economics department, in a study analyzing the market impacts of the last U.S. presidential election and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The lack of a sizable global reaction to the election of Trump—with his desire to promote coal and threats to pull out of international climate agreements—surprised the researchers, Mukanjari said.“Everyone recognizes that Trump has four [or] maybe eight years in office, and that makes it harder to make long-term investments in the sector,” Mukanjari said. “The major challenges facing coal may have little to do with global climate policy but technological developments that have made alternatives to coal much cheaper and changes in consumer preferences among other things. To this end, attempts to promote coal will face similar challenges.”More ($): Trump lifted coal’s spirits, but turning that into market success is a challenge
Investors push for consolidation in shale oil and gas sector FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal ($):A private-equity firm is urging oil producer Resolute Energy Corp. to merge with a rival, the latest salvo in a growing campaign by some investors to force shale drillers to consolidate.Kimmeridge Energy Management Co. told Resolute’s board of directors in a letter Friday that it was stepping up call for changes at the company, saying Resolute had failed to follow through on a strategic review to explore a merger or potential asset sale announced in May after investor pressure.New York-based Kimmeridge said in the letter that it may seek to install new board members at Resolute, which is focused on the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico, if it doesn’t heed the firm’s suggestions. Kimmeridge, which has about $1.2 billion under management, owns nearly 10% of Resolute’s shares, according to S&P Capital IQ.Resolute’s shares are down around 9% for the year, while oil and gas companies are collectively up nearly 6%. U.S. oil prices have surged by almost 20% in that time. The failure of most shale companies to rise with the rally in crude prices has frustrated investors and put pressure on company leaders.The activist campaign is the latest to hit the shale oil and gas industry, a sector many investors believe needs to consolidate to generate profits.“Consolidation is long overdue,” said Todd Heltman, a senior analyst with Neuberger Berman Group, which has more than $300 billion in assets under management. “It makes sense operationally and financially, but often there aren’t enough incentives for management teams to do it.”More ($): Frustrated investors want frackers to consolidate
AES: Battery storage revenue at Fluence joint venture will top $3 billion annually by 2025 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:AES Corp. expects Fluence Energy LLC, its energy storage partnership with Siemens AG, to generate $500 million in revenue this year and $3 billion per year by 2025 as decarbonization efforts expand worldwide.In June, Fluence launched a sixth-generation “standardized technology stack” that AES said is easy to “rapidly and cost-effectively deploy.” It said the modular design enables scale from 1-MW to 1-GW systems and said in its second-quarter earnings presentation Aug. 6 that it has 800 MW of orders already lined up. Fluence had a 1.6-GW backlog of energy storage projects as of the end of the second quarter.AES President and CEO Andres Gluski said AES and Siemens are looking for a financial investor to take a roughly 10% stake in Fluence. “We would like to have a marker from a transaction” to help determine Fluence’s value ahead of a potential IPO in two to three years, Gluski said.Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on second-quarter results did not turn out to be as “severe” as AES had initially feared, leaving the company room to pursue the decarbonization of its global assets.Gluski told analysts that AES is pursuing decarbonization of its asset base while it is anticipating using $550 million in asset sales as part of its 2020 parent capital allocation plan. Gluski noted that at the end of 2019, AES saw 45% of its megawatt-hours of generation come from coal-fired facilities, but that dropped to 34% by August 2020. It is expecting a further drop to 30% by the end of 2020 and a decline to 10% by year-end 2030.The company said it has a 6.2-GW backlog of renewables, 59% of which is secured under contracts. AES told analysts that 40% of the backlog is wind projects, 38% is solar, 13% is storage and 9% is hydroelectric.[Jeffrey Ryser]More: AES sees revenues from Fluence storage venture soaring
The sound of falling water is like a siren’s song, relentlessly luring me to get in on the action. There’s just something about the power of unconstrained water that excites me. So I decided to get as close as possible to one of the region’s most rugged and remote waterfalls.A guide from Green River Adventures was leading me on my first rappel of Bradley Falls. Though I love water, I don’t love willingly walking over the edge and trusting a rope for my survival. Overcoming my anxiety meant being able to experience Bradley Falls up close and personal, an experience nothing short of an encounter with the divine.Getting StartedI arrive at Green River Adventure’s outpost on Main Street, an all wood exterior building where I meet guide Jim Wall. He greets me with a broad-dimpled smile that extends to his eyes. He exudes the laid-back confidence of someone at ease in nature. After earning a degree in outdoor education from Brevard College, he’s put it to good use by leading kayaking, hiking, and rappelling trips.With an ever-so-slight Alabama twang, he provides an overview of the day: drive to the trailhead; hike about a mile to our rappel site; set up to rappel about 30 feet down to the first ledge. “At that point, you’ll be standing in a waist-deep pool of water about 10 feet wide,” he said. “From there, you’ll rappel down the second stretch to the bottom of the falls. Sound good?”Hiking Along Cove CreekAt the trailhead, the evergreens and hemlocks create a dense canopy overhead. Jim loads two waterproof 70-meter ropes into a huge backpack.I offer to carry one of the ropes, but he waves me off with a flick of his wrist, hoisting the heavy pack.We begin our hike into the serene and curvaceous Green River Game Lands, the trail following the exquisite Cove Creek, a clear deep blue-green ribbon of water, which gently meanders some forty feet below our path. My stomach churns at the prospect of the rappel ahead, so I concentrate on taking a few deep inhales. The clean smell of spring greets my nose – an energizing blend of unfurling leaves and a recent rain.Jim asks, “Have you ever seen a Hellbender?”I ponder whether this is another Southern term I’ve yet to encounter, envisioning a motorcycle rider who’s missing at least one front tooth, raising a ruckus at his neighborhood bar after being told they ran out of his favorite beer.Jim explains that a Hellbender is salamander—the largest one in North America. “They look as if they’ve been stepped on, they’re so flat. And they can grow to be over two feet long. They look scary at first, but they’re harmless.”I almost forget about the rappel altogether until we reach a very distinct horizon line. The once meandering water now violently plunges downward off the steep drop.At the LedgeJim sets up the anchor station for our rappel. I peer over the edge, where Cove Creek continues downstream. After the falls, the creek itself becomes steeper and more dramatic, studded with boulders and smaller drops. Steep, rugged rocky faces on the other side of the gorge offer a stark contrast to the otherwise lush, green environment. I had heard rumors of hikers plunging to their death at this spot, and it isn’t hard to imagine a deadly fall where the terrain is so steep and nothing at all protects an unwary hiker from the edge.I ask, “How secure is the anchor?”He reassures me that the anchors were set by the best in the business. Indulging in fears happens quickly at the edge. As much as I can’t wait to get a glimpse of the falls, I feel quite pleasant standing with both feet on the ground. I worry about letting go with my brake hand. And faced with the prospect of cold water splashing me, I relish feeling nice and snug in my dry clothes. But staying comfortable means going only where I have already gone and knowing what I already know. The cost of staying secure and dry might just be settling for existing in the mundane grind of to-do lists instead of living the adventurous life I crave.Jim brings me back from my reverie. “Good job tying your hair back. My biggest fear is someone getting her hair getting caught up in the belay line.” I glance up and he gives me a quick wink. That’s all the encouragement I need to put my nagging doubts to rest.I tie into the belay line and inch my way toward the anchor where the second rope hangs, the rope from which I will rappel. I feed the belay rope through my belay device and position my break hand.Going Over the EdgeI sit back into my harness, sinking all my weight into my butt, and leaning back so that my feet jut out at a ninety degree angle. Jim’s instructions become my mantra: wide and steady. With my feet far apart, I walk myself down by taking small steps, feeling completely stable and comfortable.There is a lot going on all at once – the roar of the water, the sensation of dangling from a rope, and the feeling of icy water splash me. I literally just hang for a few minutes. Below me is a pool of water, which cascades over another ledge all the way down to where Cove Creek resumes its journey to eventually meet the Green River. The undeniable power of the falls is mesmerizing. The beauty of the falls is so raw, the vibrant green of the moss juxtaposed against the shiny, wet brown rock. It seems impossible that I am only a few miles as the crow flies from the interstate. I close my eyes for a minute, etching every detail in my mind so that I can return to this moment, even if only as a memory.The Pool and Second LedgeI complete my descent down the first section and reach the pool below. True to Jim’s description, I’m standing in waist-deep water, grunting with effort as I pull the heavy rope to create enough slack to walk through the pool. I climb onto the second ledge.Jim had warned me that the rocks here would be slippery, and he wasn’t kidding. Even with river shoes secure on the smoothest of granite, I find little purchase. But with care, I manage to negotiate the slippery rocks.Confidence exists where there once was hesitation. My body quickly finds a rhythm, slowly releasing rope with my brake hand to lower myself down the rock face. I am beaming now at the waterfall and the rock, a smile so ridiculously big and happy. Purposefully moving my body in the path of a jet of water, I duck my head under for a refreshing rinse. I belay slowly the rest of the way down, so reluctant am I to leave my waterfall wonderland.Back on Solid GroundWhen my feet reach the bottom, I find myself standing in Cove Creek. I scramble to find a non-slippery spot where I can safely undo the ropes without falling. I give the rope three big tugs, and moments later, Jim begins his own rappel.Waterfalls are nature’s very own feel good machines. Negative ions, the so-called “vitamins of the air,” are molecules with an extra electron attached. The effect of this extra electron is to boost the serotonin levels in our brains. According to the Center for Applied Sciences, “Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy.”After the day’s rappel, I’m a believer in negative ions. I feel expanded and stretched. My thoughts are all adrenaline-induced exuberance and giddiness. My body tingles with the sense of awe that has completely replaced my fear.Saluda, N.C. Makes the GradeBest known as the town at the top of the steepest mainland railroad line east of the Rockies, Saluda, N.C. is also making the grade as an outdoor destination. Before the railroad, Saluda was just a crossroad for traders and herders. Built in 1878 to connect the Asheville and Spartanburg railroads, hotels and boarding houses soon started popping up to house railroad employees. Tourists started taking the train, ascending 600 feet per mile, to visit the mountain town. Artists and writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Dix stayed in Saluda in those days.Today Saluda’s steep grade draws another type of visitor—outdoor enthusiasts. The steep grade translates into winding roads for road cyclists, challenging paddling for whitewater kayakers, and technical pedaling for mountain bikers. Eco-tourists visit the area to paddle an inflatable kayak down the Upper Green, fly fish, or stand- up-paddle on the Lower Green. Downtown Saluda offers a host of good choices for refueling after a day of outdoor play.Click here to enter to win a free Saluda Adventure Weekend!
Dear Mountain Mama,This past season, I’ve realized that I will never again beat my personal records. I’m on the decline of my racing career. My best times, longest climbs, and hardest rides are all behind me. My body doesn’t recover as fast as it used to, and when I try to dig deeper, I often get injured. Competing fueled me, but it seems pointless to enter another race when there’s no chance that I’ll finish first. But without racing, I worry that I will become a coach potato. Any advice for a middle-aged has-been on life after racing?Yours,On the Decline————————————————————————-Dear On the Decline,When I was in law school, my sweetie spent his early 20s racing bikes professionally and training in the Alps. One day he went to see a movie with his best friend, also a cyclist. His best friend died of heart failure in the middle of the theater. He was only 25-years-old. Because of that, my boyfriend quit cycling and applied to law school. He was pretty sure his friend died because of all the drugs he had pumped into his body to ride faster and harder. My boyfriend had pumped the same performance enhancing drugs into his own body.We dated for a year, and during that time my boyfriend never rode his bike. For him, the best parts of bicycling were in his past, something he walked away from when he left his racing career behind. He wasn’t even 30 and already he had resigned to living as though the best parts of his life were behind him. He mourned the loss of cycling, but he could not reconcile riding a bike and not racing. It was a sad thing, to see a person be so stubborn as to refuse to find a way to incorporate his passion into his life.On the Decline, I implore you not to be like my law school sweetie, to find a way to stick with cycling. If you truly love the sport, be innovative and adapt it to your aging body. Many people race well into their old age and set new goals, ones more appropriate and achievable. Consider setting PRs in your age group as your new measure of success, and stagger your work outs so that your body had a chance to adequately recover between hard rides.If racing isn’t something you enjoy anymore, be creative about cycling. Sometimes the lightness of beginning again frees us from the pressure of success. Perhaps the surest path to experiencing joy on a bike is by riding in a different context. There are so many possibilities, from touring and seeing the world from the vantage point of a bike to commuting and meeting a whole new circle of riding friends. Or you might consider teaching a youngster to ride a bike or even coaching inexperienced racers. Maybe you will write stories about your best races or take up photography and capture other cyclists as they cross the finishing line.On the Decline, you can do better than quit. Challenge yourself to think differently about bicycling, because the very best of your potential demands that you love what you do.Ride On,Mountain MamaGOT A QUESTION FOR MOUNTAIN MAMA? SEND IT HERE
Christmas may be over, but New Year’s celebrations are right around the corner. Don’t put away those lights just yet. Here are some videos featuring your favorite outdoor activities, only lit up with LEDs to spectacular effect.L.E.D. SurferThe original, and possibly best.Light TrailsHere is the mountain biking version.Quarter Past MidnightHere is the two-plank version from Salomon Freeski TV.Shredding StickmanBack to snowboarding with the stickman version.Barrels of LightHitting the waves, with lights.MUNDAKA 24H from aritzaranburu.com on Vimeo.
This weekend head to Virginia Beach for the 52nd Annual Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships — a pro and amateur event for the U.S. Surfing Federation where hundreds of surfers and enthusiasts will get together to enjoy some fun in the waves and the sun. Visitors will also find volleyball, flag football, a 5K run on the boardwalk, skate boarding, skimboarding, a swimsuit competition, live music, food and more.The mission of the CE ECSC is “to produce a unique sports and entertainment festival for the enjoyment of our guests and the betterment of our community.” All events are open to the public and times are subject to change. Standings will be posted at surfusa.org.Following is the tentative schedule of events:8/17/2014 7 AM Surf Warriors – Wounded Warrior Project Surfing Competition8/17/2014 Noon Check in Quiksilver Super Groms8/17/2014 1 PM Quiksilver Super Groms8/18/2014 7 AM Doc Taylor/Tautogs Open Pro – Trials for VANS Pro – ASP 4 Star8/19/2014 7 AM All adult Divisions for amateur Surfing8/20/2014 7 AM Juniors (amateur) Women Pro8/21/2014 7 AM Boys (amateur) Longboard Pro8/22/2014 7 AM Menehune (amateur) Girls8/23/2014 7 AM Micro Menehune, SUP, Tandem, Longboard/Women Semis8/24/2014 7 AM All finalsNote: ASP – VANS Pro and VANS Pro Junior are on call for 8/18-24/14 depending on surf conditionsUpdated detailed scheduled available at www.surfusa.orgSunday—Aug. 17, 20148 AM – 1 PM NOON – 4 PM The Surf Warrior – presented by the Wounded Warrior Project and the US Surfing Federation bringing veterans from Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia to compete.Quiksilver “Super Grom” event 2nd Street Surfing Area, hosted by US Surfing Federation (Surfing Area)Monday—August 18, 20147 AM – 6 PM Professional Surfing @ 2nd StreetTautog’s/Doc Taylor’s $5,000 Open Pro Men’sTuesday—Wednesday – August 19-20, 20147 AM – 6 PM Professional Surfing @ 2nd StreetThursday August 21, 20147 AM – 6 PM Amateur & Professional Surfing @ 2nd StreetNoon- 6 LXVI Invitational Open Practice (2nd to 6th Streets)ECX Film Festival [Check http://www.ecxfest.org/ for times/locations]Live Music: Natalie Stovall and The Drive
Born to Run Author Christopher McDougall talks about his new book, resistance fighters, and the Five Fingers fallout.In his bestselling book Born to Run, Christopher McDougall shadowed the indigenous Tarahumara and a wily ex-boxer named Caballo Blanco to uncover the secrets of distance running. (Matthew McConaughey is starring in the upcoming feature film as Caballo Blanco.) Now, in his new book Natural Born Heroes, McDougall follows in the footsteps of resistance fighters in World War II who plot the daring abduction of a general during the peak of the Nazi occupation. McDougall retraces their steps in the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, experiencing firsthand the extreme physical challenges they face. Along the way, he discovers surprising truths about fitness and heroism—truths that can change the way we move and live.What inspired you to take the ideas of Born to Run beyond the running community?CM: The minimalist running movement was already underway when I wrote Born to Run. I was just the dude sitting on the surfboard when the wave came. Similarly, the natural fitness revolution is already happening. Look at the explosion in obstacle course racing, Crossfit, mud runs—anything where people are getting outside and doing something unpredictable.Like Born to Run, your new book is both a fitness revolution and an adventure story. Where does your latest adventure unfold?CM: On Crete, the birthplace of the classical Greek heroism that spawned the likes of Heracles and Odysseus, I followed in the footsteps of World War II resistance fighters during Nazi occupation. How did they hike for hundreds of miles on a starvation diet and maintain the strength to defeat their enemies? That question drove this book. These particular heroes were a small band of misfits trying to recapture the island of Crete during World War II. But you don’t need war—or even a marathon—to be a hero. Our problem today is that we have artificially inflated heroes into superheroes. The truth is: all of us can be heroic.What are the tools of natural fitness?CM: Natural movement, extraordinary endurance, and efficient nutrition.You don’t need anything but your brain and body. Too often, if someone can sell something that makes it easier, we buy it. We’re constantly pushed to purchase things that do the work for us. As a result, we live in a largely sedentary environment with high obesity rates, and fitness is not fun.But a lot of folks like their workout routines and the reliability of the gym—especially in bad weather.CM: We’ve given gyms a fair shot, and how well have they worked for us? Most folks who get their gym memberships in January have stopped showing up by March. We think we like routine and repetition, but really we don’t. Routines are boring and they don’t engage our whole selves.There’s nothing wrong with getting wet in the rain. There’s nothing wrong with falling down. It’s okay to get hurt sometimes. Getting hurt shows you what your limits are. Our culture seems to fear knee scrapes and bruises, but we do even more harm sheltering ourselves from them.Can city dwellers realistically adapt natural fitness into their training?CM: Natural fitness is all about adapting to your surroundings and making use of what’s available. Over half of the world’s population now lives in cities. Parkour—running, jumping, and climbing over obstacles—is just one example of natural fitness adapting to an urban environment.How has natural fitness changed the way you train personally?CM: My fitness is a lot more randomized and playful. I recently went running with natural fitness guru Erwan LeCorre, and in the middle of the run, he suddenly veered right up and began scrambling up a steep slope. It seemed strange at the time, but I followed him, crawling on all fours up the cliff. It was unpredictable, and I was dialed in completely to the moment. That’s the beauty of uncertainty. Randomized fitness unlocks the power and immediacy of the experience.Any specific challenges you like to do most?CM: My favorite workouts are always out in nature. Personally, there is nothing better than chopping wood and hauling hay. I still love my running trails, but I also have a climbing rope outside my office and a wheelbarrow nearby.Play doesn’t necessarily need purpose. It’s unstructured and meant to be fun and exploratory. At the same time, there are useful skills being learned through play. Play often comes from mimicking adults. Kids are often building blocks and stacking stuff when they’re younger, and later, they’re developing running and climbing skills on the playground.What’s your reaction to the fallout from the Five Fingers lawsuit?CM: It’s deflating that the conversation is always about the product. Vibram made promises about the shoes that they probably really believed were true, but they couldn’t prove them scientifically. In that sense, they really stepped on the rake. Unfortunately, a lot of people interpreted the lawsuit as saying minimalist shoes are bad. Born to Run wasn’t about shoes. It was about rediscovering natural running form and reconnecting with our running heritage.