News briefs: HSBC on net zero, Rivian valuation

Plus, Europe beats U.S. and China in green tech spending, and Keystone XL wants to be net zero, too

HSBC chairman: Transition financing, not divestment

HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker says transition financing is key to meeting 2050 net zero climate goals, and divestment is not the answer. Chad Bray, writing for the South China Morning Post, reports that Tucker defended the need to provide transition financing to clients to spark environmental change and reach the lender’s goal of being net zero in terms of carbon emissions by 2050. Tucker said climate change is probably “the most urgent and serious threat” faced by the global community and the lender has an obligation to tackle that, but it will not be achieved by stepping away from clients, particularly in emerging markets. The report quotes Tucker as saying, “Divestment is not the best option for the environment or for the people and the communities that rely on these traditional industries. Ninety-five per cent of energy needs are still met by fossil fuels. The renewable market is still in its infancy.”

Rivian valuation hits $27.6 billion

EV startup Rivian said today it’s received a $2.65 billion investment round led by T. Rowe Price. The company already has the backing of Amazon (AMZN) and Ford Motor (F). Reuters reports Rivian’s new valuation with this latest investment is $27.6 billion, citing a person familiar with Rivian's financials. In a statement, Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe said, "This is a critical year for us as we are launching the R1T (pickup), the R1S (SUV) and the Amazon commercial delivery vehicles. The support and confidence of our investors enables us to remain focused on these launches while simultaneously scaling our business for our next stage of growth.”

Europe whips U.S. and China in green technology spending

The world spent a record $501.3 billion in 2020 on renewable power, electric vehicles and other technologies to cut the global energy system’s dependence on fossil fuels. However, the growth wasn’t spread evenly across the globe — investment in renewable power capacity, which accounted for the biggest chunk of spending, soared 52% in Europe compared to last year, but it fell 20% in the U.S. and 12% in China, both major polluters. The investments in the transition to a low-carbon economy marked a 9% increase over 2019 and came despite disruptions from Covid, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Hedge fund honcho: Climate biggest investment opportunity since the internet

A top investor says battling climate change is the biggest investment opportunity since the birth of the World Wide Web. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian fund manager Nick Griffin, chief investment officer of Munro Partners, said he expects $21 trillion in capital to shift from old carbon intensive industries to green technologies over the next 30 years. “The one before, it was the internet. This is the next one,” said Griffin, who manages a $2.9 billion hedge fund. “The decarbonization of the planet is going to happen. Period. There are just too many stakeholders that are on board here.”

Keystone XL plans to be net zero -- if it’s built

TC Energy Corp. (TRP) has announced it plans to use renewable energy sources for its Keystone XL Project, with the objective of securing sustainable energy with lower emissions. The company stated that it will attain net-zero emissions across all Keystone XL’s operations once the pipeline becomes operational in 2023 and the project-based operations will be entirely powered by renewable energy sources by 2030. The news comes amid reports that President-elect Joe Biden will nix the planned pipeline’s permits to continue construction. Project opponents have long argued that the oil production from oil sand releases emissions, and objected to risks to the water supply and the environment.