Ransomware hackers agenda tilts green; plus climate shame at the G7 meeting

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The MV X-Press Pearl cargo ship, carrying plastics and chemicals, burned and sank while being towed out to sea off the coast of Sri Lanka June 2, 2021. See our editor’s picks below. Photo: Sri Lanka air force.

Can’t help noticing that the two biggest cyber attacks this spring — Colonial Pipeline and now JBS, the Brazilian meat giant — have targeted the black hats of the greenhouse gas emitters world.

Both hacks caused massive disruptions in service — Colonial being the largest oil and gas provider on the East Coast and JBS the owner of nine meat plants in the U.S. — with corresponding gains in gas prices and expected gains in meat prices this week.

Perhaps it’s just coincidence that two different hacking groups chose an oil and gas company and a meat conglomerate. Speculation from the White House that both attacks came from inside Russia adds the threat of tighter coordination, though.

It’s no secret that U.S. vulnerabilities lie in our antiquated energy grids and our opaque food distribution systems. So on their own, each target makes sense from the point of view of causing chaos, and thereby extracting ransom. Together though, they are an intriguing potential blueprint for where the next attack could target.

Think transportation. Broadband. Medical supply chains. Water.

In the media world, we say three is a trend. In the international intelligence world, it may be one too many.

More insights below. . . .

Don’t forget to contact me directly if you have suggestions or ideas at dcallaway@callawayclimateinsights.com.

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Wednesday’s subscriber insights: Engine No. 1’s climate ETF; and G7 meets amid damning fossil fuel report

The GustoMSC NG-16000X-SJ offshore wind turbine installation jack-up vessel, depicted above, will be built for Dominion Energy by Keppel AmFELS. It is the first Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind. Image: GustoMSC.

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. . . . It was somewhat inevitable that hedge fund climate activist Engine No. 1 would try to build on its underdog proxy success against ExxonMobil last week. But reports it is considering an ETF to raise money for more proxy campaigns should give investors pause. Read more here. . . .

. . . . Climate change will be high on the agenda of the G7 finance ministers meeting in London later this week, with corporate disclosure mechanisms and carbon offset schemes a priority ahead of Britain’s hosting of COP26 in November in Glasgow. But a new report shames all seven members for spending more on fossil fuels last year than renewables. Read more here. . . .

. . . . While governments dither about what constitutes clean energy, private enterprise is leading the charge, with brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev topping a list of global players taking dramatic climate steps this week. Read more here. . . .

. . . . Just when we thought SPACs were dead, especially electric vehicle SPACs, comes EVgo, the charging station company, which announced this morning it would go public via a special purpose acquisition company. The $600 million deal will be a boon to the struggling EV public market, which has been beset by short-selling and scandal. Unlike some of the car makers, however, EVgo already has a product, some 800 charging stations across 34 states, and a deal with General Motors (GM) to triple that figure. Watch this space. . . .

Editor’s picks: Methane leaks, Sri Lanka shipping disaster, and TPG’s Rise Fund backs Climavision

A month-long airborne study of the Permian Basin, the largest oilfield in the U.S., found high levels of methane may be coming from leaky or malfunctioning equipment. Fixing just the most persistent leaks could cut methane emissions by 55 tons an hour, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.

Chemical-laden ship burns and sinks off Sri Lanka

Flaming containers of chemicals fell into the sea as a burning cargo ship sank off Sri Lanka’s west coast Wednesday, and tons of plastic pellets have contaminated rich fishing waters, according to the Sri Lankan navy. The government suspended fishing in the area, affecting a reported 5,000 fishing boats. Reuters reports hundreds of soldiers are attempting to clean affected beaches. The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid along with other chemicals and cosmetics, was anchored off Sri Lanka’s west coast when a fire erupted onboard after an explosion on May 20. As the vessel began to sink, salvage crews tried unsuccessfully to tow it away from the coastline.

TPG’s Rise Fund backs Climavision

TPG’s global impact investing arm, The Rise Fund, is putting $100 million into a new weather services platform called Climavision, Axios reports. According to the report, Climavision is spinning out of Enterprise Electronics Corporation (EEC), a firm that manufactures weather radar systems used by 95 countries. Axios quoted Climavision CEO Chris Goode as saying the company will deploy its own network of proprietary radars to plug the gaps that exist in the National Weather Service’s network of Doppler radars to better manage climate change risk.

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Data driven: Water, water everywhere

. . . . 1.8 million megaliters: The amount of water we have used so far this year around the world (A megaliter is a million liters).

Withdrawals for irrigation are nearly 70% of the total water withdrawn for human uses, those for industry 20%, and those for municipal use about 10%, according to the Global Water Outlook and the World Water Council, via Worldometers.info. For comparison, a standard Olympic-size swimming pool contains 2.5 million liters of water. . . .

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