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Publisher's note
Toby is the CEO and co-founder of Corporate Knights Inc. and publisher of Corporate Knights Magazine. He spearheaded the first global ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations in 2005, and in 2007 coined the term “clean capitalism.”

Cows, coal and cars

Three weird tricks for solving climate change.

Cows, coal and cars. Together they account for roughly half of all human-caused greenhouse gases. To solve global warming, the world need only ban beef, belching cars and coal power plants – and we’re close to halfway there. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, if we weave together policies from Odisha, Oslo and Ontario, we discover a pretty robust blueprint to a cooler planet.

 

‘Don’t have a cow’

While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not quote Bart Simpson in his plenary speech at the recent Paris climate summit, India’s states have unintentionally pioneered a vital policy for reining in global warming pollution. In India, where cows are sacred according to Hindu beliefs, Odisha and 23 of the country’s other 28 states have banned beef (punishable by up to five years in prison if you are caught eating a hamburger in Mumbai, for example). Given that beef accounts for 40 per cent of global livestock emissions, which in turn account for one-sixth of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, we all have a cow in the fight against climate change. As the growing global middle class syncs up with a Big Mac food culture, taking a page from India’s states – minus the Hindu nationalist undertones and communal violence – would be a big step away from the cliff of dangerous global warming. And that’s no bull.

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What kind of world do you want to invest in?

New tool analyzing Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, ABP, CPPIB & others shows high costs of not divesting from fossil fuels.

Global banking firm UBS is currently running an ad campaign that asks: “Do I invest in the world I am in? Or the one I want?” This question has never been more pertinent as we come to grips with the climate reality on the eve of the Paris climate talks.

In our market society, investors have immense power to shape norms and political culture on questions of economic importance.

To date, the conventional wisdom has been that investing to foster a world that accelerates the shift from old fossil fuel energy to new clean energy is a well intentioned, but bad idea if you care about financial returns.

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CPPIB and climate risk

Corporate Knights responds to CPPIB’s reaction on Decarbonizer findings.

Corporate Knights released a report this week pegging CPPIB’s potential losses at over $7 billion(US), the result of its high exposure to the fossil fuel sector and low exposure to green blue chips (large companies with at least 20 per cent of revenues from new energy or environmental solutions as identified by Bloomberg and FTSE).

The Toronto Star reported:

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Canada is getting smarter about its (natural) assets

Progress made on the natural capital file, but action needed to institute mandatory corporate carbon disclosure.

Statistics Canada recently confirmed that natural resource wealth (namely minerals and timber) has been formally integrated into Canada’s national balance sheet, with the first release slated to occur in December 2015.

Natural resources are a significant component of Canadian wealth, worth about $1 trillion according to Statistics Canada. Now that this important source of wealth will be included on the official balance sheet, it will be possible to better manage and optimize its long-term benefits for Canadians.

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Alberta has been presented with a unique opportunity for reinvention

It's time to take action.

One of my earliest memories is of being wildly bucked by a woolly sheep, hanging on with everything my scrawny arms could muster before being hurled into the dirt at the Nose Hill Rodeo. I had mud on my face, but I was grinning because I had held on long enough to win the Mutton Bustin’ trophy.

I imagine the pioneers from Sun Company of Canada and Syncrude felt a similar sense of gratification after hanging on for so many years to finally realize the dream of making the oil sands a commercial success.

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