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Sharon Kimathi
Energy and ESG Editor, Reuters Digital


It’s been a devastating start to the week for people in Cuba, Canada, Vietnam and the Philippines as hurricanes, storms and typhoons wreak havoc across these nations – destroying lives, homes and businesses. Evacuations and recovery efforts continue. Hurricane Ian made landfall over western Cuba on Tuesday and was headed for the west coast of Florida, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. This comes as one of the worst storms Canada has ever faced left more than one-third of customers in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia without power. Meanwhile, Vietnam has urged people to evacuate as an intensifying Typhoon Noru approaches, after causing at least eight deaths and widespread flooding in the Philippines.

A life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, flash floods and possible mudslides are expected in portions of western Cuba on Tuesday, the NHC added. Cuba's government called off interprovincial train and bus travel across the western half of the island ahead of the storm. Officials said they were also monitoring aging dams, many of which were already nearing capacity.

Hurricane Ian is expected to strengthen on Tuesday after emerging over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, the NHC said, reaching Category 4 strength before it approaches the Florida west coast, where residents are stockpiling supplies and filling sandbags. The Category 3 hurricane was about five miles south of the tobacco-growing province of Pinar del Rio, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, the Miami-based forecaster said. Fertilizer, charcoal and farm animals had been moved to secure locations, and infrastructure for the region´s tobacco industry protected.

Elsewhere, powerful storm Fiona slammed into Canada's eastern fishing and farm industries over the weekend, smashing wharves, food processing plants and barns that will take months to repair. The storm left more than one-third of customers in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia without power, swept homes into the sea and left one person dead. Fiona destroyed some harbors on Prince Edward Island (PEI), a province on Canada's east coast, and scattered lobster traps for miles, leaving a long clean-up ahead, said Allan MacQuarrie, a director of the PEI Fishermen's Association.

Over in Asia, Vietnam is preparing to evacuate more people on Tuesday as Typhoon Noru intensifies. Wind speeds were seen reaching 183 kilometers per hour late on Tuesday, the country's meteorological agency said, adding that Noru was expected to make landfall in Vietnam on Wednesday before weakening and moving on to Thailand.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr conducted an aerial survey of damage brought by typhoon Noru, which left heavy flooding across several northern provinces. Five rescue workers were killed in Bulacan province, its Governor Daniel Fernando told DZMM radio, while residents there were seen wading through waist-deep waters and others stranded on rooftops.

Talking Points

Endangered Grevy's Zebras look for food during drought, in the Samburu national park, Kenya, September 20, 2022. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Kenya's worst drought in four decades has killed almost 2% of the world's rarest zebra in three months, and 25 times more elephants than normal over the same period.
Rio Tinto said an employee at one of its mines in Western Australia state was sexually assaulted and that police removed the alleged perpetrator from the site.
Eli Lilly was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which accused the drugmaker of illegally refusing to hire older workers for sales representative jobs because of their age.
Under a new government, Australia is shaping up to be the next big market for offshore wind developers, attracting interest from the likes of Shell, Denmark's Orsted and Norway's Equinor. But the industry, starting from scratch Down Under, faces a slew of challenges.
Breakingviews: The Russian invasion has prompted other countries to boost gas production and burn more coal. Climate diplomacy is on ice. But this crisis will also prompt a dash for cheaper and more secure renewable energy.

In Conversation

Mark Senkevics, head of property underwriting for Asia, Australia and New Zealand at global insurance firm Swiss Re
“Urbanization, economic growth, and changing precipitation patterns due to climate change are together contributing to heightened flood risk. In 2011-2020, economic losses from flood events averaged almost $30 billion annually in Asia.

“As the economy grows and cities expand, wealth and population accumulate and as a result, floods take a heavier toll. These factors are especially pronounced in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) due to the region’s rapid development. At the same time, while a warmer climate increases the amount and intensity of rainfall, fast-growing cities are often located on coastlines or near rivers where the development of flood infrastructures (sea walls, dams, and levees) often do not keep pace. All these factors combine to dramatically increase the loss potential from floods in APAC.

“To mitigate future flood risk, we must enhance defense infrastructure to avoid/reduce flood losses; take adaptive measures such as nature-based solutions to minimize the impact of a wetter world; increase understanding of the peril by improving flood-specific data quality and granularity; enhance risk modeling capabilities that keep abreast of ever-changing conditions, and narrow the protection gap with innovative risk transfer solutions.”

ESG Lens

Ultra-right politician Giorgia Meloni is likely to become Italy's next premier. She opposes boardroom quotas that have lifted female representation from less than 7% to 41% in a decade. Scrapping them would be a setback for a country struggling with stubbornly low female employment. (Note that this may be behind a paywall).

ESG Movers and Shakers

UK-based sustainability and ESG consultancy Simply Sustainable has expanded to Amsterdam and appointed the newly hired Sytze Dijkstr as country manager. He previously led sustainability research at Accenture. Jane Cumisky has been appointed as managing consultant for the UK and Ireland. Cumisky has worked as the UK head of sustainability at aerospace company Leonardo, communications manager at telecoms company Vodafone and sustainability manager for insurance firm Direct Line.

Simply Sustainable has also appointed RoseMarie Egglesfield who will take on the role of Group Head of Client Development. She has over 20 years of senior commercial and ESG experience including time at oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, with roles across sales, business development, marketing, customer service, supply chain and planning.
Multinational financial services firm PwC has named Eric Janson as its global private equity, real assets and sovereign funds leader. He takes over the role from Will Jackson-Moore, who has been appointed PwC's global ESG leader. Janson has been with PwC United States for more than 20 years, while Jackson-Moore has been with the firm for over 30-years, taking up various roles and responsibilities throughout his tenure.

Andy Wiley has joined UK-based green investor Just Climate as managing director, capital markets and project finance, from investment firm Macquarie Capital, where he was in the advisory and principal investing team for infrastructure and energy. He worked at Macquarie for nearly eight years and Tomorrow Partners for eight months, and before that he was in the infrastructure finance team at Canadian-based bank RBC for seven years.

Quote of the Day

“Across Europe, residents are at risk of experiencing blackouts as a result of exorbitant electricity bills, while energy providers are raking in unprecedented profits. Cities are already doing everything in their power to provide energy bill support and deliver swift home energy saving measures. Intervention from the European Union is long overdue.”
Mayor Ada Colau of Barcelona and vice-chair of the cities climate leadership group C40

Looking Ahead

The chief executive of Eni, Enel and the top executives of several other utilities and energy groups will gather in Milan on Sept. 28 for the start of a two-day business conference to discuss ways to reduce the country's dependence from Russian gas and to survive spiraling fuel prices.
Japan will host the second International virtual conference on Sept. 28 to discuss the use of ammonia as a fuel, which does not emit CO2 when burned.
The Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (GLAMOS) will release its annual data on Swiss glacier melting on Sept. 28 after two major summer heatwaves.
The EU Competitive Council ministers will meet on Sept. 29 to discuss a proposed single market emergency instrument that would give Brussels powers to tackle supply chain crises.
The auto industry's drive to a greener and cleaner future is a treacherous road for companies in its beleaguered supply chain.

Only the strong and the shrewd may survive.
Many auto suppliers, already squeezed by rampant inflation and energy prices, say they have little choice but to shoulder the extra costs of making their components sustainable to meet carmakers' environmental targets.

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