Copenhagen Set to Divest Funds Out of Coal, Oil and Gas Holdings
The city of Copenhagen is set to become the latest recruit to the unstoppable divestment movement, with its plan to sell off the coal, oil and gas assets of its 6.9 billion Krone (€1.29 bn) investment fund.
The Danish capital will join a movement worth more than $3.4 trillion worldwide, following Norway's capital Oslo and non-European cities such as Newcastle, Australia, as well as more than 500 institutions, universities, banks, companies and thousands of people, who have already pulled their money out of dirty energy.
With fossil fuels recognized as high-risk, volatile, toxic investments, the Paris Agreement signaling global recognition of the inevitable transition to clean energy and renewables booming and boosting economies worldwide worldwide, Copenhagen may be the latest ambassador for the divestment movement, but it will not be the last.
- The divestment movement is growing across the world. What started with a few U.S. universities has grown to become the fastest growing divestment movement in history, representing $3.4 trillion in assets. Yet the fossil fuel sector is still being funnelled vast amounts of public money. The faster governments move to end their association with fossil fuels and phase out subsidies, the sooner the final nail will be in the coffin of polluting and harmful coal, oil and gas.
- Divesting from fossil fuels makes economic sense and is a “moral imperative." Experts like the Bank of England's Mark Carney have warned of the risks of tying money up in coal, oil and gas, and the G20's Financial Stability Board is putting together a new global task force to track climate-related financial risk. Finances aside, keeping polluting, harmful fossil fuel behemoths afloat is simply not compatible with a safe, healthy future.
- To reap the rewards of renewables, ambitious and steady EU policy is crucial. As investors flee fossil fuels, renewables are booming in much of the world: at the Paris climate summit major projects were announced from India's "solar alliance" to Africa's plan to reach 300GW of renewables by 2030. Europe, the former clean energy front-runner, risks missing out on huge investments unless it ensures it has stable and ambitious climate and energy policies.
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Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
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A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
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