World Bank Launches Bond Series to Raise Awareness About Water and Ocean Resources
The series was announced in conjunction with World Water Week, which took place in Stockholm from August 26 to 31 and gathered experts, business people and decision makers from around the world to discuss solutions to water issues.
"Seventy percent of the planet's surface is water, yet degraded ocean resources and lack of access to safe water negatively affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Through this bond series we will remind investors and the markets that we must protect our water and marine resources today for the generations of tomorrow," World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva said when the bond series was announced August 29.
The series intends to raise $3 billion and allow investors to demonstrate their support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Excellent to see the @WorldBank issue Sustainable Water Bond – first in series of Sustainable Development Bonds aim… https://t.co/vEeKCKX1kD— Paul Polman (@Paul Polman)1535990052.0
This series will focus specifically on goal 6: "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all" and goal 14: "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."
The first bond was priced at one billion Swedish Krona (SEK) and will last seven years.
"We are very pleased to price this SEK-denominated Sustainable Development Bond, so soon after we announced our new initiative. The demand for this bond shows that investors are aware of the critical need to protect water, our most precious resource, and to ensure a sustainable future," World Bank Vice President and Treasurer Arunma Oteh said in the pricing announcement.
Major European investors in the bond include Swedish investors AP1, SEB Företagsobligationsfond, SPP Storebrand and Swedbank Robur Fonder AB.
"The decision of the World Bank to launch an initiative to raise awareness for the health of oceans and urgent need for clean water through their Sustainable Development Bond issues, is very much welcomed by investors. We see increased interest from our investors to understand risks around water management and the need to protect oceans. Engaging with the World Bank and others around this topic is extremely helpful," Head of Climate & Sustainable Finance at SEB Christopher Flensborg said in the World Bank announcement.
The World Bank hopes to use the bonds to channel the support of investors towards two goals: sustainable use of water in order to increase access to safe and reliable water sources and sustainable use of ocean resources and marine life.
The new bond series, and World Water Week, come as the UN has reported that the world is off-track to meeting SDG 6, development media outlet Devex reported.
Eighty-percent of countries do not have enough money to meet the SDG targets and the World Water Week consensus was that more private money is essential to help them do so, according to Devex.
By Simon Montlake
For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
Stepping on the Gas<p>In July, the Department of Energy issued an export license to Jordan Cove's developer, Canada's Pembina Pipeline Corp. In a statement, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the project would provide "reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world."</p><p>As a West Coast terminal, Jordan Cove offers a faster route to Asia where its capacity of 7.8 million tons of LNG a year could serve to heat more than 15 million homes. At its peak, its construction would also create 6,000 jobs, the company says, in a stagnant corner of Oregon.</p><p>But the project still lacks multiple local and state permits, and its biggest asset – a Pacific port – has become its biggest handicap, says Ms. Blanton. "They are putting infrastructure in a state where there's no political support for the pipeline or the terminal, unlike in Louisiana or Texas," she says. </p><p>Ms. Brown, the environmental lawyer, says she wants to see Jordan Cove buried, not just mothballed until natural gas prices recover. But she knows that it's only one among many LNG projects and that others will likely get built, even if Biden is elected in November, despite growing evidence of the harm caused by methane emissions. </p>
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