Evidence of the increasing effects of climate change is building, as are the investing opportunities and changes in consumer habits linked to environmental concerns and resource use. Here are select dispatches about the companies responding to customer demands and climate risk, the ESG investors and their advisers, and the enterprising individuals and scientists preparing for tomorrow.
Guilt works? Campaigning by filmmaker David Attenborough and viral teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg — who said she’d sail, not fly, to upcoming conference-speaking engagements — is persuading more air travelers to sign up for carbon-offset programs . Myclimate, a Swiss nonprofit whose clients include Deutsche Lufthansa AG /zigman2/quotes/201210530/delayed XE:LHA -5.06% , saw a five-fold jump in credit purchases meant to mitigate the environmental impact of flights in a year, Bloomberg News reported. And at Ryanair Holdings Plc. /zigman2/quotes/202800376/delayed MX:RYAN -13.61% , Europe’s largest discount carrier, the number of customers making voluntary offset payments has almost doubled in 18 months, the report said. This summer’s heat wave in many of Europe’s capitals helped to make the case for increased sign-ups as well.
Carbon offsets are paid for with an optional tack-on fee to a ticket price that might go to fund low-carbon or clean-energy projects such as planting trees, installing solar panels or handing out cleaner cooking stoves. Prices vary widely, too, ranging from 10 cents per ton of carbon dioxide to more than $70, depending on the offset provider and the project, Bloomberg said, citing Forest Trends Association, which provides data on voluntary carbon markets.
Window seat for Ms. Green. Frontier Airlines is offering free flights for people with the last name “Green” or “Greene” as it wraps up an environmental push called “Green Week.” Passengers have to book online, must depart on Aug.13 and return by Aug. 20, and must prove their legal last name is Green or Greene (it wasn’t clear if non-English spellings of the name counted). The low-cost airline has gotten national publicity around the campaign, in USA Today and elsewhere. But glitches in the promotion also made headlines: Cancer patient Ira Green couldn’t cash in on the promo as he had to keep his Tuesday chemotherapy appointment, the only day the free tickets could be used.
The Colorado-based airline last week flew what it called “America’s Greenest Flight,” a route from Denver to Greenville, S.C., that included compostable cups and napkins made from recyclable materials, bamboo stirring sticks and snacks and drinks in earth-friendly packaging. The carrier’s President and CEO Barry Biffle claimed in a press release that his fleet’s “fuel efficiency is unmatched by other U.S. airlines.” Fuel savings is based on Frontier Airlines’ 2018 fuel consumption per seat-mile compared to the weighted average of major U.S. airlines; the carrier exclusively flies the Airbus /zigman2/quotes/204455808/composite AIR -1.97% 320 family of aircraft.
Gore on climate: One of top two 2020 issues. Former Vice President Al Gore warned in his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” that by 2016 it would be a point of no return when it came to climate change. With that year come and gone, the Democrat was asked on ABC’s Sunday news program, “This Week with George Stephanopolous,” if it was, in fact, already too late? Some changes, Gore said, have been “locked in place... so, the warnings of the scientists 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, unfortunately, were accurate.”
But, he said, “here’s the good news... In the Democratic contest for the presidential nomination this year, virtually all of the candidates are agreed that this is either the top issue or one of the top two issues.”
Invasive Asian carp gets close to Lake Michigan — the world’s fifth-largest lake. As this interloper expands its habitat, many fishery managers are warning that bighead and silver carp, the two most-feared species of invasive Asian carp, may never be eradicated from Illinois waterways, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing newly published research in Freshwater Science . A single female can lay over 1 million eggs each year, while these insatiable fish have proved capable of eating 120% of their body weight in a day, mostly plankton, destroying the aquatic food chain from the bottom up. Waterway defenses are being built, but “this study shows that Lake Michigan would not be the end of the road for Asian carp. Rather, the lake would be a way for them to spread to tributaries and surrounding states to access other Great Lakes,” Molly Flanagan, vice president of policy at Alliance for the Great Lakes, told the Tribune.