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What You Can Do For Earth Day: Take One More Step to Fight Climate Change

Mar 29, 2016 09:32PM

by William Bruno

As Earth Day approaches, more and more of us are realizing that climate change isn’t simply a future danger. The severity of extreme weather already is impacting the lives of people around the globe and in our own communities.

To combat this threat much more needs to be done, not just by governments but by each one of us. We all impact climate change through the decisions we make in our personal lives every day.

Many individuals have made substantial lifestyle changes, such as using lower carbon transportation options or using solar power in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Another area of concern and action is the sustainability, chemical additives and sourcing of our food.

Now, many environmentally conscious individuals are extending these important changes to their financial lives as well. Thus, individuals who wish to have a more holistic lifestyle can align their financial lives, including their investments with their personal beliefs. In this way, each one of us can take a stand to help foster the transition to a more sustainable and low carbon future.

Many of these individuals are seeking out sustainable and low carbon investments for their investments and in their workplace retirement plans. Sustainable investing gives positive consideration to companies that are leaders in fields such as energy efficiency, pollution reduction, renewable energy and effective water utilization.

More broadly, sustainable investing integrates many previously underestimated factors into the investment analysis. For instance, does the company’s environmental record or workplace safety record pose a liability to its reputation and ultimately its financial position? In this way, sustainable investing is designed to help identify promising companies well positioned for the economy of the future.

Let’s look at how climate change could impact fossil fuel companies. Governments across the globe have agreed that global warming must be kept below 2°C in order to avoid an environmental, economic and human catastrophe. For this reason many experts estimate that between 60 and 80 percent of coal, oil and gas reserves are ‘unburnable’ if the planet’s temperatures are to remain within safe levels, according to CarbonTracker.org. Given these figures, many individuals are interested in learning more about green and fossil-fuel-free investing.

More and more Americans are leading a sustainable lifestyle and taking greater environmental responsibility in their lives. These same individuals are finding that sustainable and low carbon investing offers meaningful opportunities to combat climate change while still providing the opportunity to achieve one’s financial goals.

Bad News and Good News: Climate Change Facts & Figures

·      Estimate of G20 developed countries’ 2014 spending on climate change adaption assistance for poor nations: $4.5 billion.

·      Amount G20 nations spent in 2014 on direct subsidies to fossil fuel producers: $77 billion.

·      Market value the four biggest coal companies lost in 2015: 90 percent. Iowa’s 2014 energy demand satisfied by wind power: 29 percent

Sources: Harper’s Magazine, Harper’s Index, Goldman Sachs

William Bruno is president of Green Eagle Financial Services, in Falls Church, VA.  On April 24, with Phil Aroneanu, a co-founder of 350.org, Bruno will be giving an Earth Day talk, “We have the power to help combat climate change” at St. Columbas Episcopal Church in Upper NW Washington, D.C. This talk is open to the public. For more information about the talk or Bruno’s upcoming webinars on green and low-carbon investing, visit GreenEagleFinancialServices.com.

William B. Bruno is a registered representative who offers securities through AXA Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212.314.4600), member FINRA, SIPC. Green Eagle Financial Services is not owned or operated by AXA Advisors.

 

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