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It’s Climate Week: Here is an Update as Energy Companies Get Involved

By Nic Querolo, Christopher Martin and Will Wade

(Bloomberg) Climate Week is underway. That means some the globe’s most powerful corporate leaders are making pledges to be greener as heads of state gather in New York to discuss ways to stop the planet from warming.The main event was held on Monday at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dozens of others took to the dais. U.S. President Donald Trump made a brief, unexpected visit but didn’t address the gathering. On the other side of town, Climate Week’s opening ceremony featured California Governor Gavin Newsom, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and others. More than 150 other events will take place over this week.

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NRG Energy Sets Path to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050 (7:06 a.m.)

NRG Energy Inc. accelerated its effort to eliminate carbon emissions from its power supplies by 2050 or offset any that remain, citing a “new climate imperative,” said Chief Executive Officer Mauricio Gutierrez.

The Princeton, New Jersey-based power supplier expects to eliminate one billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next three decades through investments in renewable energy and ‘forward-leaning’ technologies to decarbonize electricity production.

U.K. Doubles Its Climate Change Aid to Developing Countries (7:15 p.m.)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the last head of state to present at the UN climate summit, vowed to double the country’s aid to developing countries that are trying to fight against global warming. The U.K.’s so-called international climate finance spending will total 11.6 billion pounds ($14.4 billion) from 2021-2022 to 2025-2026, up from the its previous commitment to spend at least 5.8 billion to 2021.

The investment is “perhaps the most significant thing I’m going to say” at the UN General assembly, Johnson said during his speech Monday. “I believe the significance of that announcement will not escape those who care passionately about our planet.”

Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte meanwhile said his country continues to support the replenishment of the global Green Climate Fund and is “ready to supply its contributions consistent with its previous comments.”

Aluminum Giant Wants Carbon Disclosure (6:20 p.m.)

Aluminum and power giant En+ Group PJSC will push one of the world’s largest commodities exchanges to disclose the carbon content of any metal traded over its system. The company’s chairman, Greg Barker, said in a telephone interview that he’s already spoken to the London Metal Exchange about crafting a policy, saying that he’d initially be open to a voluntary approach.

The move could put a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions. Producing aluminum, steel and other metals requires a tremendous amount of energy. For example, a smelter in Hawesville, Kentucky at full-capacity uses as much electricity as the entire city of Louisville. En+’s four hydro power plants in Siberia are the main suppliers of electricity to its United Co. Rusal unit, the world’s second-largest aluminum producer. The company, formerly controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, emits 3.7 tons of carbon per ton of aluminum and plans to lower that to 2.7 tons by 2024, Barker said.

Maine Pledges to go Carbon Neutral (4:45 p.m.)

Add Maine to the growing lists of states phasing out greenhouse gases. Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, said at the UN Climate Action Summit that she’s signed an executive order for the state to go carbon neutral by 2045. The legislation said climate change left unaddressed “will have devastating effects on the state.”

The drive for grids that are 100% emissions-free is being pushed by a growing number of U.S. states, citing increasingly aggressive time frames. In July, New York mandated that 70% of the state’s power come from renewables by 2030, and 100% by 2040. Seven other states, including California, have similar mandates.

Gates Foundation Announces Sustainable Food Program (4:08 p.m.)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and several governments plan to provide $790 million to assist more than 300 million small-scale food producers in the face of mounting climate concerns.

The commitment, announced at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, is part of a broader effort to prepare for climate disruption and bolster food security under the Global Commission on Adaptation.

Ex-California Governor Joins China to Fight Trump (3:10 p.m.)

Two of President Donald Trump’s biggest foils are teaming up on an issue he loves to scoff at: climate change.

Former California Governor Jerry Brown and China’s chief climate official, Xie Zhenhua, are launching a think tank to push policymakers on both sides of the Pacific to jointly develop better ways to cut greenhouse gases. A key part of the effort, based at the University of California at Berkeley, is trying to block Trump’s plan to roll back vehicle emissions standards. “Trump is offering resistance to absolutely imperative climate actions,” Brown said in a telephone interview.

Protests Snarl Streets in Washington D.C. (1:56 p.m.)

Protesters shut down major streets in the nation’s capital, including blocks from the White House. It forced officials to reroute buses. Commuters, accustomed to demonstrations in the nation’s capital, largely shrugged off the demonstrations and walked their final blocks to work.

A handful of protesters shackled themselves to a pink-and-yellow sailboat with the phrases “Tell the Truth” and “Rebel for Life” painted on the side. The small craft, atop a trailer, blocked the intersection of 16th and K streets. Nearby demonstrators chanted, “If we want to stay around, keep the carbon in the ground.” Police eventually used power tools to unshackle the protesters from the boat.

China’s Envoy Takes Swipe at Trump But Not By Name (1:31 p.m.)

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi took a swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump during a United Nations summit on Monday, saying the world will continue to fight global warming without him.

While Wang didn’t call out Trump or the U.S. directly, he said the “withdrawal of certain parties” from the global Paris climate agreement “will not shake the collective will of the international community, nor will it reverse the historical trend of international cooperation.” Trump has vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris accord and dismantle Obama-era rules to slash greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants.

Germany Vows to Double Global Climate Spending (12:50 p.m.)

Germany will double its commitment to climate protection worldwide to 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) compared with 2014 levels, Merkel said at the UN.

“This is a global challenge that can only be tackled together,” she said. Germany will contribute 1.5 billion euros to the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations cope with effects of climate change

Trump Unexpectedly Shows Up at UN (12:10 p.m.)

President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance at a climate-change summit at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. He didn’t address the assembly and left after a few minutes.

Trump faced criticism from Democrats and climate activists for scheduling an appearance at a religious freedom event scheduled for the same time as the climate summit. The president in the past has questioned man-made climate change, at one point calling it a Chinese hoax.

Children File Complaint Vs. Five Nations at UN (11:30 a.m.)

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and 15 other children and teenagers filed a legal complaint with the United Nations, accusing France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey of not doing enough to combat climate change.

The complaint will go to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which does not have power to make legally binding decisions. The children, who range from 8 to 17, say the five nations have known about the risks of climate change for decades but aren’t curbing emissions and continue to promote fossil fuels.

Even Oil Majors Are Making Climate-Week Pledges (10:30 a.m.)

The pledges from companies to cut carbon continue to roll in. Inc. announced it will order 100,000 electric delivery vehicles as part of a plan to go carbon-neutral by 2040. AT&T Inc. announced deals with Invenergy LLC and Duke Energy Corp. to buy more wind and solar energy. And Schneider Electric SE, the global supplier of electrical equipment, is moving up its goal to become carbon neutral by 2025, five years ahead of schedule.

Even fossil fuel companies are getting in on the act. A coalition of 13 oil and gas companies including BP Plc, Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. announced an initiative to“unlock large-scale investment” in technology that would capture and trap global-warming causing gases in support of the Paris Agreement.

Solar module prices have plunged this decade

Heads of State Call for Action, Newsom Blasts Trump (9:30 a.m.)

At the opening ceremony of Climate Week in New York, heads of state and local government leaders are calling for immediate action. The loudest applause so far went to California Governor Gavin Newsom, who lashed out at U.S. President Donald Trump for rolling back environmental regulations and promoting use of fossil fuels that cause climate change.

“I don’t know what the hell happened to our country that we have the president that we have in this issue,” Newsom said. “I’m absolutely humiliated.”

Pension Fund Pledge to Make Portfolios Carbon-Free (9:00 a.m.)

A coalition of pension funds including Allianz SE and Swiss RE AG have pledged to make their investment portfolios climate neutral by 2050. Combined, the companies have more than $2.4 trillion in investments, the group said in a statement.

“Mitigating climate change is the challenge of our lifetime,” Oliver Bate, Allianz’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Politics, business and societies across the globe need to act as one to rapidly reduce climate emissions.”

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