News briefs: Do millennials love ESG?

Plus, record-breaking ocean heat wave, electric oil tankers, and how CFOs are judged.

Are millennials loving ESG investing?

The escalating coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new era of stock market volatility, as investors come to terms with consecutive history-making daily swings. But it has also shone a spotlight on a promising investment opportunity — one that’s been winning the hearts of millennials, Karen Gilchrist writes on CNBC.com

We’re in hot water now

Two new studies led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego highlight the significance of long-term observations for understanding ocean climate trends and events, including record-shattering marine heatwaves. Both studies, which appear in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, utilize more than a century of ocean temperature data collected by the Scripps Shore Stations Program in their analysis.

Electric oil tanker? Japanese companies form consortium

Seven Japan-based companies, including Asahi Tanker Co., Ltd., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp., have formed the e5 Consortium, with the goal of establishing new ocean shipping infrastructure services through various initiatives to develop and commercialize zero-emission electric vessels. As the first phrase of the project, the consortium plans to launch the world’s first zero-emission electric tanker, powered by large-capacity lithium ion batteries, in March 2022. In March, consortium member Asahi Tanker announced it had decided to build two electric tankers using the e5 tanker planned and designed by e5 Lab. The consortium says it aims to bring digital solutions and digital transformation to the ocean shipping industry, not only with electric vessels, but also hydrogen fuel batteries, onboard automated equipment, onboard broadband, remote control vessels, and development of a common integrated OS for ocean vessels.

Greencarcongress.com

CFOs are measured on two metrics: EPS and ESG

In the S&P 100 proxy letters filed so far this year, 70% included a letter to shareholders that highlighted ESG metrics, according to a Nasdaq article, writes Forbes contributor Suzy Taherian from CFO Network. CFOs and companies had historically been measured on their EPS (earnings per share growth). Dividend yield and ROCE (return on capital employed) are also important financial measures. Investors added another key metric: ESG (environmental, social, and governance). While ESG metrics have been around for a while, mostly for mission-driven nonprofits, now they’re adopted by mainstream institutional investors as a litmus test of management credibility, for all companies, Taherian writes.

Forbes

Hot topic: ESG disclosure issues 

T. Rowe Price reported recently that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure issues became the No. 1 topic in its engagements with the managements of companies around the world in 2019, according to a report in environmentalleader.com. According to the report, the company said that the rising risks associated with climate change will impact virtually its entire universe of portfolio holdings to varying degrees. Because of this, climate change alongside other ESG factors is being increasingly factored into analysts’ evaluation of company fundamentals.

Climate change could dramatically reduce U.S. snowstorms

A new study led by Northern Illinois University scientists suggests American winters late this century could experience significant decreases in the frequency, intensity and size of snowstorms. Under an unabated greenhouse gas emissions scenario, the study projects 28% fewer snowstorms on average per year over central and eastern portions of North America by the century’s last decade, with one-third the amount of snow or frozen precipitation and a 38% loss in average snowstorm size.

Northern Illinois University

Attenborough: ‘Survival depends on co-operation’

Sir David Attenborough has said the coronavirus pandemic has swept the problem of climate change from the front pages, The Telegraph reported this week. According to the story, citing the So Hot Right Now podcast, Attenborough, who turned 94 this month, said the outbreak has made the issue feel as if it is in the distant future and he suggested the virus could make the world's nations see that “survival depends on co-operation.”

Big Oil loses bid to move California climate case

A federal appellate court this week ruled that California cities and counties can pursue their cases against major oil companies, including BP (BP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), and Chevron (CVX) at the state level, Bloomberg Law reported. San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo County, and other jurisdictions are suing to get the companies to pay billions of dollars to address climate change.

Because of rising CO2, trees might be warming the Arctic

Less water loss from plants causes the surrounding air to warm, and currents can transport that heat towards the poles. Now, scientists think they may have discovered an additional piece of the puzzle. Plants, it turns out, may have an unexpected influence on global warming, according to this report from Scientific American.

Stanford University creating new school for climate and sustainability

Stanford is designing a school focused on climate and sustainability that will draw on the considerable expertise that exists across academic units, aligning those efforts around research, education and impact, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced in a presentation to the Academic Council. Amy Adams writes in Stanford News that the school will leverage Stanford’s excellence in climate and sustainability research areas including foundational science, low-carbon sustainable energy, human behavior, economics, food security, environmental law and policy, global health and more. It will include faculty in core departments addressing cross-cutting themes and run degree-granting programs for undergraduate and graduate students.