Instant Karma Newsletter 8.17.20
  • The spectacle of this week’s Democratic National Convention may grab the most attention, but the ambitious details of the party’s plans to fight climate change and encourage sustainability may interest impact investors more. 

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The biggest names at this week’s Democratic National Convention — former Presidents Obama and Clinton, a cavalcade of senators and former presidential candidates, and, of course, the nominee Joe Biden and his historic running mate choice Kamala Harris — will most certainly make the biggest headlines.

However, for impact investors, the nitty-gritty details and policy meetings may prove to be more important.

The Democratic platform, which is expected to be ratified this week as it currently stands, is jam-packed with details about how a Biden administration plans to attack climate change and foster sustainability.

It would immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization. By 2026, the Democrats want to install 500 million solar panels, including 8 million solar roofs and community solar energy systems, and 60,000 wind turbines. They also want the nation’s fleet of 500,000 school buses to be “American-made, zero-emission alternatives” and have 4 million hospitals, schools and other municipal buildings be retrofitted to be more environmentally friendly by then.

By 2030, they want all new buildings to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. By 2035, they want to eliminate all carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants.

“Democrats reject the false choice between growing our economy and combating climate change,” the platform reads. “We can and must do both at the same time.”

The convention also hopes to generate new ideas by opening some of its virtual meetings and briefings to the public. The Democrats’ Council on the Environmental and Climate Crisis meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday will be open to the public, as will briefings on “Investing in a Sustainable Future,” “Building a Modern Sustainable Infrastructure” and “Meeting the Climate Crisis Challenge.”

“Every American has the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live without fear of exposure to toxic waste,” the Democrats write in their platform. “And all Americans should benefit from the clean energy economy — especially those who have been left out and left behind for generations.”

Here’s what else we’re watching this week:

KODAK DEADLINE (Tuesday): Questions about the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s proposed $765 million loan — for the photography pioneer to retrofit its factories so it could produce pharmaceuticals, which President Trump hailed as a “momentous step” in July — are coming into focus. According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC is now investigating the loan and its announcement, which caused the company’s stock price to surge. Now, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is investigating and the subcommittee’s chairman Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) has set Tuesday for Eastman Kodak Co. to turn over documents about the loan, currently on hold, or any discussions about securing it.

GRAPE DEPRESSION (Tuesday): Champagne sales are down nearly $2 billion this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the CIVC, basically the OPEC of the bubbly, will meet Tuesday to limit supply. Experts expect a production cut so serious that a record number of champagne grapes will have to be destroyed or sold to distilleries.

LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS (Thursday): The Conference Board’s index of economic results for July arrives this week and will likely indicate whether the soaring stock market or new orders for manufacturers and housing units will move the pandemic-strained economy more.

In case you missed it

Investments in ESG funds broke the $1 trillion mark for the first time, driven by a 72% surge in new investments in 2Q. U.S. looks to reduce its reliance on China for rare earths by contracting with Lynas, which has more sustainable mining practices. How closely will New York State monitor the potentially “hazardous” material from Pennsylvania fracking that goes into its landfills? 

Levity break

Is “My Home Office” playset cute? Or depressing?