News briefs: California aims for all ZEVs

Plus: Oil prices stall, and how global warming is fueling U.S. forest fires

California aims for all zero-emission vehicles by 2035

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive order that will phase out sales of new gasoline-fueled vehicles by 2035, and encourage an electric-vehicle-charging buildout. He also called on legislators to send him a bill next year banning hydraulic fracking by oil companies, SFGate.com reported. The new vehicle rule, if it goes into effect, would ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles. California already is converting buses and trucks to zero-emissions. The order ultimately still requires federal approval. The report noted California would be the first state in the nation to ban sales of internal combustion engines, though the governor said 15 other countries including China, Germany, France and Norway have already “established benchmark goals.”

Oil producers in no-win scenario as prices stall

Mark Passwaters writes this week in the S&P Global Market Intelligence blog that U.S. oil producers continue to struggle from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic as crude prices continue to languish near $40 per barrel with little hope for a substantial or sustainable rally in the foreseeable future. Passwaters wrote that while oil companies would be happy to see $60/barrel oil return, there is a concern another prolonged dip in prices could be the death knell for a large number of independents. 

How global warming is fueling U.S. fires

A new article published by the World Economic Forum and the World Resources Institute says forest fires have been increasing dramatically, as global warming is leading to longer, harsher droughts and more extreme weather events. The smoke and carbon released into the atmosphere from these fires also acts to accelerate further warming and temperature rise, creating a climate feedback loop. As wildfires in the western U.S. worsen, the report says, it’s vital these fires, and the wider climate crisis is managed to avoid the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters happening around the world.

ECB to accept sustainability-linked bonds as collateral

The European Central Bank (ECB) said this week that bonds with coupon structures linked to certain sustainability performance targets will become eligible as collateral for Eurosystem credit operations and also for Eurosystem outright purchases for monetary policy purposes, provided they comply with all other eligibility criteria. The coupons must be linked to a performance target referring to one or more of the environmental objectives set out in the EU Taxonomy Regulation and/or to one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals relating to climate change or environmental degradation. This further broadens the universe of Eurosystem-eligible marketable assets and signals the Eurosystem’s support for innovation in the area of sustainable finance. Non-marketable assets with comparable coupon structures are already eligible. The decision aligns the treatment of marketable and non-marketable collateral assets with such coupon structures.

World Bank and EIB start City Climate Finance Gap Fund

On Wednesday, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank joined development partners to begin operation of a bold new fund supporting green, inclusive, resilient, and competitive cities in developing countries. Through donor support, technical assistance, and targeted finance, the City Climate Finance Gap Fund aims to unlock an estimated $4 billion to transform urban climate aspirations into finance-ready projects.

New global green bank design, expansion platform 

Three leading clean energy, finance and environmental organizations have formed a partnership to undertake a comprehensive review of the current global impact of green banks and identify the finance, technology, and policy requirements needed to expand green banks globally, allowing countries to attract private investment for low-carbon, climate-resilient solutions. The partnership between Rocky Mountain Institute, a leading global clean energy non-profit, the Green Finance Institute, a UK government-backed group, and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), an international nonprofit environmental organization, will inform the co-development of a Green Bank Design Platform, which will support governments and institutions to establish a green bank or similar green financing vehicle. ClimateWorks Foundation is providing funding to support the initial review and platform development.