Climate change & renewable energy
It’s all over news sites and is part of almost every political conversation; Climate change is a global issue at the front of many social and political discussions these days. With talk of time running out to reverse these effects, renewable energy is as important as ever before.
Investing in the fight against climate change
The funds below hold investments that touch on the theme of renewable energy and/or the fight against climate change. These funds still hold a diverse range of companies meaning that there may be some crossover within the responsible investing themes.
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What is climate change?
Climate change refers to a broad range of changes to our planet’s overall climate system. Whilst the planet’s climate changes naturally over time, there has been a rapid human-induced warming of the planet’s average temperature which has sped up the effects of climate change.
The term global warming refers to this human-induced warming of the planet, with climate change encompassing global warming whilst also referring to the overall effects to the planet due to the shift in climate.
Causes of climate change and global warming
The main cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. This releases heat-trapping gases into the air, such as carbon dioxide and methane, creating the ‘greenhouse effect’ in which more heat from the sun is trapped inside the earth’s atmosphere.
If global warming continues as currently predicted, scientists have warned of much more severe consequences, such as plant and animal extinctions, increased frequency of extreme weather events and sweeping changes in food production conditions.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy that is created from sources that will naturally be replenished, such as sunlight, wind and water. You may also have heard it referred to as clean energy or green energy; it’s all the same thing.
Devices such as solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric dams all turn natural resources into electricity.
What is being done to reduce climate change?
With climate change being such a global crisis, there are multiple initiatives currently working to reduce the causes, aid the effects and prevent further change.
A big disruption within the automobile industry has been the development and growth of electric cars. Electric vehicles have been in production almost as long as gasoline-powered cars, but they really began to take-off in the mainstream in the 2000s thanks to Tesla. The ultimate aim with electric cars is to replace hydrocarbon-fuelled vehicles in order to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. Industry experts even predict that by 2040 we will all be driving electric cars, even if some of them are hybrids.
For this reason, many companies are well underway with their electric vehicle offerings, with just about 1 out of every 250 motor vehicles on the world's roads being electric, as of the end of 2018.
Another initiative that has been adopted by many energy providers is the use of technology that enables energy efficiency, most commonly within the home. This can include a variety of technologies from solar panels that produce the energy to smart meters that monitor your energy usage and smart devices such as Hive and Nest that give you more control over your energy use.
By educating the public on their energy use and helping them to reduce it, energy providers are helping to reduce consumers’ energy bills as well as their overall carbon footprint caused by excess energy use.
The Great Green Wall
An African-led movement, The Great Green Wall is an initiative that aims to grow an 8,000km ‘wall of trees’ across the entire width of Africa. The project is currently 15% complete and, once finished, will not only provide major benefits to millions living along its path, but will aid in the fight against climate change, drought, famine and a number of other global issues.
Growing the green wall also supports the majority of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by aiding resilience to climate change, creating jobs, helping to fight poverty and hunger, and much more.