The Signals Brief

America’s Pledge commits world’s 3rd largest economy to Paris goals

November 11, 2017

The launch of America’s Pledge means an economy larger than all others except the US and China is now committed to the Paris Agreement goals. The We Are Still In coalition— a coalition of non-Party stakeholders (subnational governments, businesses, and other non-governmental stakeholders)—made this unprecedented commitment to support, plan, inform, and carry out the implementation of a global climate agreement.

€500 million bond to advance green mortgage refinancing

November 10, 2017

The UK-based bank Barclays has issued a €500 million green bond for mortgage refinancing. The signal sent by this issue is significant, because it opens the prospect of spreading green finance to housing in a new way and because it was significantly oversubscribed, with €2 billion before issue. UK Climate Change Minister Claire Perry said the bond issue aligns with the aim of making the UK into a clean finance hub.

HSBC commits $100 billion to fight climate change

November 6, 2017

From the Financial Times:

HSBC has promised $100bn of finance for low-carbon technology and sustainable development by 2025 as part of a package of measures to strengthen its commitment to tackling climate change and other “green” goals. The UK-based bank will also reduce support for coal-fired power generation and increase disclosure of “climate risks” in its lending book under new policies announced on Monday.

US Government Confirms Climate Change caused by Human Activity

November 4, 2017

Just days before the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, one of the most comprehensive, detailed climate science reports was released… by the Trump administration. The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), drawn from the work of 13 US cabinet agencies, lays out the new science that will inform the 4th National Climate Assessment.

Among its findings:

  • Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016).
  • This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization.
  • There is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence aside from human activities–especially emissions of greenhouse gases–for the warming over the last century.
  • Without major reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature relative to preindustrial times could reach 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century.
  • Accelerating ice melt means chronic, long-duration hydrological drought is increasingly possible before the end of this century.
  • The US has spent more than $1.1 trillion on extreme weather events since 1980, and the rate of that spending is accelerating.

The imperative for US negotiators to support speeding the global transition away from climate-forcing fuels is clear in the science of their own agencies. A wide cross-section of the diverse US economy will be in Bonn alongside the world’s negotiators, laying out strategies to help the US lead that transition.

Germany Produced So Much Wind Energy, Consumers were Paid to Use Electricity

October 31, 2017

From Bloomberg:

A stormy weekend led to free electricity in Germany as wind generation reached a record, forcing power producers to pay customers the most since Christmas 2012 to use electricity. Power prices turned negative as wind output reached 39,409 megawatts on Saturday, equivalent to the output of about 40 nuclear reactors. To keep the grid supply and demand in balance, negative prices encourage producers to either shut power stations or else pay consumers to take the extra electricity off the network.

Ending Extreme Poverty Not at Odds with Climate Action

October 26, 2017

A new study finds that the goal of ending extreme poverty does not require significant new investment in high-carbon-emitting practices. Ending extreme poverty means raising incomes and making food, water and energy more reliably available to the world’s poorest people.

Food production, transport, and refrigeration, could expand overall emissions, but this study found that global emissions can still remain below the threshold for 2°C global average temperature rise. More coordinated effort will be required to meet the more ambitious 1.5°C target.

GAO finds US must address climate change to curb mounting costs

October 25, 2017

From the Independent:

An independent US government agency has said natural disasters have cost the country $350 billion in the last decade and that it is time for Donald Trump’s administration to address climate change before it starts costing the country more. The nonpartisan auditing agency Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued the report that said the US has spent that amount just in responding to extreme weather events.

US Coal market now 40% smaller than in 2008

October 17, 2017

According a new Union of Concerned Scientists report: “The share of US electricity coming from coal fell from 51 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in 2016–an unprecedented change. New UCS analysis finds that, of the coal units that remain, roughly one in four plans to retire or convert to natural gas; another 17 percent are uneconomic and could face retirement soon.”

8-fold Increase in Businesses Pricing Carbon

October 12, 2017

There has been a rapid increase in the number of businesses pricing carbon internally. CDP reports that 1,389 companies are now pricing carbon. They are doing this to measure and to minimize future risk, and to be better positioned to maximize future return on investment. By counting the hidden costs of carbon-emitting fuels, these companies are positioning themselves to be front runners in the low-carbon future economy.

Active Climate-Aligned Bonds now total $895 billion

September 23, 2017

The Bonds and Climate Change State of the Market Report from HSBC and the Climate Bonds Initiative finds that “The climate-aligned bond universe now stands at $895bn outstanding – A jump of $201bn from the 2016 figure. This total is comprised of unlabelled climate-aligned bonds at $674bn and labelled green bonds at $221bn.”

80% drop in battery costs set to revolutionize energy markets

September 18, 2017

The cost of producing batteries has fallen by 80% as rapid expansion of production, and the resulting technology experience curve (efficiency gains from added production and innovation) means battery storage capabilities will continue to expand rapidly. As that happens, costs will fall. According to Bloomberg: “As we build more electric cars and electricity storage, the cost of batteries plummets. Prices have dropped by half just since 2014. If this learning curve continues, a widespread transformation of power grids could begin within this decade.”

Record Number of Companies Commit to 100% Clean Energy

September 17, 2017

From The Climate Group: Days before Climate Week NYC 2017 gets underway in New York City, The Climate Group, organizer of Climate Week NYC, is announcing that The Estée Lauder Companies, Kellogg Company, DBS Bank Ltd and Clif Bar & Company have today joined its RE100 campaign, run in partnership with CDP, and committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity across their global operations.

The 106 members of the campaign are now taking the total demand for renewable electricity to around 150 TWh annually – more than enough to power New York State.

Global Talks on climate-resilient infrastructure finance

September 15, 2017

The 2017 Forum of the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance convened 120 participants from around the world, including government officials, representatives of multilateral development banks and the operating entities of the Financial Mechanisms that finance climate-resilient infrastructure projects, infrastructure developers, engineers, representatives of the private sector as well as the UNFCCC NGO Constituencies.

Some of the concrete measures discussed included providing targeted support to turn the climate action plans for reducing emissions and for adapting to the consequences of climate change into fundable projects that investors can readily invest in. Participants also focused on the development of new metrics and standards for evaluating and mobilizing wider pools of climate-smart finance.

Green Bonds Issuance for 2017 near $75 billion

September 14, 2017

The Climate Bonds Initiative tracks a number of different categories of bonds that qualify as climate-smart or green. Among bonds that are labeled “green bonds” Climate Bonds finds those in three categories add up to $74.6 billion issued in 2017.

The total of green bonds issued in these three categories between 2016 and 2017 now adds up to $155.6 billion, with statistical projection of another $75 billion by the end of 2017. The acceleration of green bonds issuances is integral to scaling up low-carbon investment opportunities and to building fiscal resilience, by reducing risk and ensuring longer-term investment priorities.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma projected to cost $290 billion

September 13, 2017

AccuWeather predicts an economic impact of $290 billion from Harvey and Irma combined amid a destructive and costly hurricane season.

“We believe the damage estimate from Irma to be about $100 billion, among the costliest hurricanes of all time. This amounts to 0.5 of a percentage point of the GDP of $19 trillion,” AccuWeather Founder, President and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers said.

Carbon Pricing Progress & Coverage

September 12, 2017

  • 46 Carbon Pricing initiatives implemented or scheduled for implementation
  • 42 National Jurisdictions are covered by the initiatives selected
  • 25 Subnational Jurisdictions are covered by the initiatives selected
  • In 2017, these initiatives cover 8 GtCO2e, representing 14.6% of global GHG emissions
  • Total value (US$ Bn) of carbon pricing initiatives in 2017: $52.22 billion

Data from the Carbon Pricing Dashboard, managed by the World Bank Group and Ecofys, as part of the State and Trends of Carbon Pricing annual reports.

Signals Brief Archives


The Signals Brief tracks leadership stories, transformational innovations, and new commitments of finance to climate-smart priorities. Progress toward a climate-smart economic future is advancing more rapidly than policy progress itself.

This report will “float the top” of the Resilience Intel site. The permanent URL (without any date-specific information) is

To demonstrate levers of action for building economy-wide resilience intelligence, and to show Paris Progress, we are tracking:

  • The State and Trends of Carbon Pricing (Dashboard / CPLC)
  • New and emerging climate-smart finance in all sectors
  • Major climate impacts, including storms, droughts, and related costs
  • Need for and breakthroughs in climate-resilient infrastructure
  • Major commitments to and achievements in low-carbon energy
  • Zero carbon leadership stories
  • Local / citizen leadership on the SDGs in relation to climate
  • Cross-border policy-making involving non-national jurisdictions (cities, states, regions, and transnational political blocs)

Over the long term, in line with the participatory process and intended outcomes of the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network, the Signals Brief will support Resilience Intel, by providing a coherent, comprehensive measure of Paris Agreement implementation and climate-smart finance and innovation, according to the ACCESS standard, developed during the COP21 in 2015.

The Signals Brief is a joint program initiative of the Citizens’ Climate Education and the Geoversiv Foundation, in support of the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network and Resilience Intel. 

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