A greenhouse gas (GHG) is any gas in the atmosphere that absorbs thermal energy (heat) emitted from the earth’s surface and reflects it back to the earth’s surface. Certain gases serve as a trap for this thermal radiation which warms the atmosphere. GHGs include water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3). While all these gases are naturally occurring, human activity since the advent of the Industrial Revolution has significantly added to the GHGs that are generated through various machines and industrial processes. Today, businesses and other organizations are trying to do their part to fight climate change by limiting and reducing the GHGs that are produced and released into the atmosphere.
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Topics: Sustainability Education Renewables
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This month we are taking a break from sharing our own culture corner insights to spotlight the inspiring work of James Rhee and his TED Talk about The Value of Kindness at Work.
James recently appeared on Brene Brown’s "Dare to Lead" podcast and his fresh approach to goodwill encourages us all to find out how we can build great businesses with lots of little red helicopter moments.
For the second year in a row, 5 is spotlighting one of our most innovative and iconic clients, Empire State Realty Trust. Earlier this month, ESRT announced their groundbreaking Empire Building Playbook: An Owner’s Guide to Low Carbon Retrofits. This publication, co-supported by NYSERDA and the Clinton Global Initiative, will help existing commercial buildings implement step-by-step carbon reduction processes with proven methodologies. 5 is proud to be among the core project team that helped ESRT with this game-changing playbook.
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On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the first quarter of 2022. In this issue, we continue our focus on the energy transition and the strain that this has put on the energy market. Our last letter quoted Larry Fink of Blackrock on the importance of navigating the “global energy transition.” The past quarter’s events add geopolitical risks to the navigational challenges associated with this transition.
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What is the Jones Act and how does it impact our energy markets?
In January 2018 a cold snap descended across the Northeast. And in Boston Harbor, a liquified natural gas (LNG) tanker appeared on the horizon, ready to unload its cargo at the only port terminal in the lower 48 states equipped to process imported gas. The massive ship flew a red, white, and blue flag, but not that of the United States. Instead, it was the flag of the Russian Federation. The ship is called the “Gaselys” which, in the Russian language, translates to “extinguished” and it carried natural gas sourced from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. The owner of the LNG export terminal in Russia from where this ship set sail is Novatek, Russia's largest independent producer of natural gas. This is the same company that was put under sanctions by the US Treasury Department in 2014 after Russia invaded and seized Crimea from Ukraine. And while the company was sanctioned, the natural gas that it sold to New Englanders was not.
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One of the most striking insights that I gained through the work-from-home shift of the last two years is realizing how many employees are engaged in caregiving for their loved ones on a regular basis. Even though this phenomenon existed long before the pandemic, we are now so comfortable sharing our cameras on video calls from home that we often end up sharing more about our daily struggles and needs as well.
When an employee is caring for a loved one, they often share the effects of caregiving, which include:
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A Special Opportunity for Texas Educators to Teach Sustainability
The feature-length documentary film, Beyond Zero, tells the story of Ray Anderson and his visionary leadership as the founder and CEO of Interface, a publicly-traded company in the carpet tile industry. In 1989, Ray had a conversion of heart and vowed to take Interface on a journey to become a sustainable enterprise in every way possible. He was ahead of his time in many ways and his heroic leadership is truly a model for companies that are aiming for true stakeholder impact. The best part about Beyond Zero is that it is not only inspirational and entertaining, but it also moves people into action.
Topics: Culture Sustainability Education
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Conserve Power and Prepare for Potential Outages
Topics: Markets ERCOT Demand Response Education Resiliency
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“Few things will impact capital allocation decisions – and thereby the long-term value of your company – more than how effectively you navigate the global energy transition in the years ahead.” - Larry Fink, Blackstone CEO Letter 2022
On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the fourth quarter of 2021. This letter continues our focus on the conflict between regulations that promote low carbon energy production, and the strain that this energy transition puts on utility systems that must: (i) accommodate intermittent energy sources, and (ii) ensure reliable electric supply at a reasonable cost. California and Europe have taken aggressive regulatory action to reduce carbon emissions. Perhaps because of their early mover status, these markets are also good examples of the challenge faced by regulators overseeing the energy transition.
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Natural gas, also commonly referred to by its chemical name, methane, is one of the single most controversial topics of the energy transition so far. On the one hand, natural gas is an energy commodity that is far cleaner than coal as a feedstock for power generation and it is a fuel for which there is no alternative in terms of its load-following characteristics. It can be dispatched on very short notice, ramp up and down quickly and easily, and can stay on-line for days on end, as long as the gas delivery network is functional (which, as we learned in Texas in February 2021, is not always the case).