In less than a decade, the world will have burned through what’s left of its entire carbon budget, soaring past the critical threshold and unleashing catastrophic climate events, according to two new studies from the world’s premier scientists.
This is no longer a myth. It’s an investment theme that must–and is–kicking into overdrive.
While much of the focus is on the fossil fuels industry, which appears to be the only near-term savior of an energy crisis brought about by Russia’s war on Ukraine and the West’s sanctions response, other industries, too, must bear the burden of lowering global emissions urgently.
The construction industry, responsible for some 40% of global emissions, is among the biggest concerns, according to Deloitte. And because this industry will play what Deloitte describes as a “key role” in shifting towards climate change mitigation, innovators in this area are now emerging, front and center.
It’s all about building materials, infrastructure and how new construction is heated, cooled and electrified.
“We’ve got to be smarter,” says Rick Fox, co-founder of Partanna, the creators of a green building material that actually absorbs CO2. “Our buildings need to breathe with us, and that means using materials that not only stop contributing to emissions, but work to reduce emissions at the same time.”
Fox, a former NBA player of Los Angeles Lakers fame, is building up to 1,000 hurricane-resistant homes in The Bahamas, in partnership with the Bahamian government, using proprietary building materials that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
He hopes to change how the world builds with this new technology, and he’s not alone.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos–the fourth-wealthiest person in the world–has his eye on construction’s role in climate change, as well. Last year, Bezos committed $10 billion over 10 years to his Earth Fund, which heavily focuses on greening the construction industry. In mid-November, Bezos took his commitment to fighting climate change to another level, telling CNN in an exclusive interview that he would be giving away most of his $124 billion in net worth to charity, with climate change expected to be his key focus.
Changing How the World Builds And Breathes
Global CO2 emissions hit a record high last year, and it’s already having a major impact on the environment, warns NASA. “Glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking, river and lake ice is breaking up earlier, plant and animal geographic ranges are shifting, and plants and trees are blooming sooner”.
“Effects that scientists had long predicted would result from global climate change are now occurring, such as sea ice loss, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves,” NASA warns.
Some changes, including droughts, wildfires and extreme rainfall, “are happening faster than scientists previously assessed”, according to NASA.
One of the direst predictions is that by the year 2100, rising sea levels could turn 2 billion people into refugees …
The construction industry plays an outsized role in what happens next.
Released at the latest round of climate talks in Egypt, COP27, the 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction finds that the sector accounted for more than 34% of energy demand and about 37% of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021–slightly lower than Deloitte’s estimate.
Those numbers indicate that the construction industry, in a single year, has seen a 5% increase in its operational energy-related CO2 emissions.
This is an urgent item on the UN’s climate conference (COP27) agenda this month in Egypt.
"Years of warnings about the impacts of climate change have become a reality," said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). "If we do not rapidly cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, we will be in deeper trouble."
"The buildings sector represents 40% of Europe's energy demand, 80% of it from fossil fuels. This makes the sector an area for immediate action, investment, and policies to promote short and long-term energy security,” he added.
The only way forward is improving building energy performance, decreasing the carbon footprint of building materials and boosting investment in energy efficiency globally.
Led by Fox and co-founder Sam Marshall, Partanna is hoping to help turn the tide through technological solutions that change how the world builds.
So how does it work?
There are three “color verticals” when it comes to carbon. Our oceans and ecosystems absorb “blue carbon”. The biosphere stores our “green carbon” delivered into the atmosphere by plants. What we’re concerned with here is “gray carbon”, the carbon captured from our atmosphere via sustainable building materials.
Sustainable building materials are the solution to delinking development and pollution. Creating “gray carbon vertical” is what Partanna hopes can help turn the tide.
What Partanna has developed creates this gray carbon vertical, and it is the first sustainable building material in the world that not only avoids carbon emissions, but also removes carbon from the atmosphere, according to the company.
Because it is replacing materials in a carbon intensive industry, Partanna can obtain avoidance offset credits. Why? Because the production of its materials are not heat-intensive, unlike cement, and they do not release CO2 as they chemically cure–again, unlike cement. Existing “low-carbon” cements aren’t good enough. They only avoid a small amount of CO2 emissions and don’t absorb any, much like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.
Partanna’s building materials are made from brine and recycled steel byproducts.
Partanna’s recycling is also one of the elements of its compounded positive contribution to the environment.
The brine it recycles is a threat that Partanna mitigates. The energy-intensive and inefficient process of desalination creates toxic brine that is difficult to disperse. In fact, dispersing of the brine leads to even more energy inefficiency. The high salt content of this brine is destructive to the ocean. Partanna recycles that brine into sustainable building products, removing the negative impact from the oceans and simultaneously creating climate-friendly cement.
This isn’t just Partanna’s answer to a CO2-heavy construction industry …
It’s Partanna’s answer to desalination’s toll on the environment.
Every liter of fresh water created by the fast-growing desalination industry creates 1.5 cubic meters of brine. On a daily basis, the industry is challenged with disposing of 150 cubic meters of toxic brine. Over the next two decades, that volume will triple.
Not only is Partanna providing a solution to the desalination industry’s brine problem and the construction industry’s CO2-emitting building materials challenge, but it’s doing so cost-effectively.
Partanna’s production process does not require calcining—a heat-intensive process of reducing or oxidizing. That means that not only does it virtually eliminate any harmful CO2 emissions, but it does so at a very low energy cost.
Finally, a breathable building material that makes sense economically—and has a compounded climate change mitigation effect.
The Human Side of Housing
For Rick Fox, the idea for environmentally-friendly building materials hit home in a very real way.Fox is a citizen of the Bahamas, where he watched Hurricane Dorian kill dozens of people and devastate homes and businesses in 2019. The Government of The Bahamas has vowed to tackle climate change head-on, and it has gone all in with Partanna to do something that’s never been done before: make the world’s first carbon-negative housing community.
And while the underlying th eme here is carbon-negative, not just carbon-free, the bigger picture is a very human one. It’s about contributing to human health. It’s about giving people homes that can withstand hurricanes and resist corrosion. And it’s about providing affordable housing.
Outdoor fine particulate emissions coming from fossil fuel combustion in the cement-making process is a serious threat to human health. Partanna’s building materials are processed at room temperature and result in no particular emissions, which are believed to cause the death of more than 10 million people every year.
Furthermore, traditionally constructed homes—as the Bahamas learned tragically in 2019—cannot withstand hurricanes. Homes built with Partanna’s materials can because their materials are made with saltwater (recycled brine). Constructions only become stronger when exposed to more saltwater.
Finally, Partanna is thinking of affordable homes and has a very unique strategy for making that happen. Partanna homes generate carbon credits, which the business is considering using to support low-income individuals meet the total cost of their down payment.
It’s all happening right now.
The technology is being tested inTthe Bahamas, and Partanna is partnering with the government to build 1,000 hurricane-resistant homes. The first 30 will be delivered next year in the Abaco Islands, which bore the brunt of Hurricane Dorian.
And Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis presented the new Partanna Bahamas technology at COP27 in Egypt on November 7th.
This agreement between the government and Partanna Bahamas has seen Partanna invest $50 million so far in an arrangement the prime minister said would “provide affordable, sustainable housing in The Bahamas” and “meet the carbon priorities of the country”.
“The government also wishes to create a new, carbon-negative building industry, which will generate new job opportunities and training for Bahamians. I am personally pleased that Mr. Rick Fox, a Bahamian, accepted my invitation to bring his industry home to The Bahamas,” Davis added during the COP27.
With the world on the brink of a climate change disaster that can no longer be ignored, Partanna seems to be showing us what can be done in one of the industries that has emerged front and center in the fight to mitigate risk. And it’s a very human solution that has none of the hallmarks of greenwashing.
Three years ago, a hurricane devastated the Bahamas, claiming dozens of lives. Today, the country is building what it claims to be the world’s first carbon-negative housing community to reduce the likelihood of future climate disasters and to ease the shortage of homes caused by the storm.
Rick Fox, a former Los Angeles Lakers player, is the lynchpin of the new housing project. The former basketball player and Bahamian citizen were spurred into action after he witnessed the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Fox teamed up with architect Sam Marshall, whose Malibu home was severely damaged by wildfires in 2018, to develop Partanna, a building material that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The technology is being put to the test in the Bahamas, where Fox’s company, Partanna Bahamas, is partnering with the government to build up to 1,000 hurricane-resistant homes, including single-family houses and apartments. The first 30 units will be delivered next year in the Abaco Islands, which were hardest hit by Dorian.
“Innovation and new technology will play a crucial role in avoiding the worst climate scenarios,” Philip Davis, prime minister of the Bahamas, said in a statement. He announced the partnership between the Bahamian government and Partanna Bahamas on Monday 07th November at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
As a country on the frontline of the climate crisis, the Bahamas understands that it’s “out of time,” Fox told CNN Business. “They don’t have time to wait for someone to save them,” he added.
“Technology can turn the tide, and at Partanna we have developed a solution that can change how the world builds,” Fox said.
Partanna consists of natural and recycled ingredients, including steel slag, a by-product of steel manufacturing, and brine from desalination. It contains no resins and plastics and avoids the pollution associated with cement production, which accounts for around 4%-8% of global carbon emissions from human activities.
The use of brine, meanwhile, helps solve the desalination industry’s growing waste problem by preventing the toxic solution from being discarded back into the ocean.
Almost all buildings naturally absorb carbon dioxide through a process called carbonation — which is where CO2 in the air reacts with minerals in the concrete — but Partanna says its homes remove carbon from the atmosphere at a much faster rate because of the density of the material.
The material also emits almost no carbon during manufacturing.
A 1,250-square-foot Partanna home will contribute a “negligible amount” of CO2 during manufacturing, while removing 22.5 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere after production, making it “fully carbon-negative within the product’s lifecycle,” according to the company.
By comparison, a standard cement home of the same size typically generates 70.2 tons of CO2 during production.
The use of salt water means that Partanna homes are also resistant to corrosion from seawater, making them ideal for residents of small island countries such as the Bahamas. That could make it easier for homeowners to get insurance.
The carbon credits generated from each home will be traded and could used to fund various social impact initiatives, including promoting homeownership among low-income families.
Other companies to watch:
NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) is one of the world's largest producers and distributors of wind and solar energy. The company announced its Real Zero plan in 2022 to eliminate carbon emissions from its operations by 2045 through increased production or distribution as well as replacing natural gas with green hydrogen.
NextEra has been a leading provider of clean energy for over two decades. It's rapid growth can be attributed to its investments in renewable technologies, which have produced massive returns - returning almost 1,000% over the past 15 years.
Next Era also does well on an adjusted basis, increasing earnings per share by more than 8% since 2005. And with 25 consecutive years' worth of increases delivered through dividends alone (not including other benefits), there is no doubt about why they're considered royalty among companies today
The world-renowned Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP) is a US-based renewable energy company with a global presence. It has been providing sustainable and clean power solutions for over four decades, annually preventing 11 million metric tonnes of emissions from being released into our environment!
Brookfield has been able to diversify its energy sources by adding hydroelectric dams, wind power and solar panels. The company is in a perfect position because of this diversity for both generating clean, renewable resources as well solving any problems that arise with these technologies on a 24/7 basis.
Brookfield is a multinational company with extensive experience in renewable energy. They have 18,100 megawatts of generating capacity – 7 830 coming from US sources alone! Alongside these investments come quality assurance measures such as keeping employees happy and healthy by focusing on their well-being, health & safety practices; they also provide significant funding for community projects through philanthropy initiatives or transparency campaigns designed to promote ethical governance at all levels within business organizations
Clearway Energy (NYSE:CWEN.A )is a renewable energy company with assets around the world. It has investments in both wind and solar power plants, which it complements through highly efficient natural gas-powered facilities to produce clean, reliable electricity for its customers at any time of day or night on their behalf.
Additionally, Clearways also sells these surplus amounts under fixed price agreements ensuring steady cash flow from this business venture while maintaining complete control over where those funds go - inside out!
The company has been steadily putting money to work by acquiring renewable energy assets. The deals are providing it with increasing visibility on its ability to increase dividends for investors who have come looking at this traditionally stable firm's stock because they want a piece of what’s being offered here.
You might not expect a company that produces wood for construction to be on the list, but Weyerhaeuser (NYSE:WY) is actually committed to sustainable forestry and has planted more than one billion trees over ten years. They also maintain responsibility in development while ensuring clean energy sources through their investments.
The firm's sustainability strategy is built on achieving set targets over 10 years which are adjusted annually. The plan has been successful in that it reduced emissions by 57% compared to levels from 2000, and exceeded the original greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020 by more than 30%.
Sticking with the basic principles of stock diversification is still a good idea for those looking to invest their money ethically. A lot of stocks in this sector are categorized as growth-oriented, which means they have significant long-term returns but also face high volatility on shorter time frames; Weyerhaeuser offers access to environmentally aware investing while smoothing out some portfolio bumps alongside it all.
Clean Harbors (NYSE:CLH) is dedicated not only to social responsibility within its core operations but also frequently called in for clean-up services. These include emergency spill response and end-to end hazardous waste management, which are two of many examples they offer that show how committed this business really practices what it stands for!
Clean Harbors was founded over 40 years ago, and it is one of the highest-profile firms within its sector. The clients they work with are largely made up of Fortune 500 companies. Clean Harbor led efforts after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill of 2010, where it helped clean up oilfield sites coastwide
Clean Harbors is the largest re-refiner and recycler of used oil in North America. They have a comprehensive sustainability program that revolves around energy usage, health & safety customer solutions,and engagement.
Clean Harbor's subsidiary SafetyKleen operates throughout US, Canada, Mexico Puerto Rico laying down roots across all four locations with their business ventures being profitable while maintaining sustainable practices
Enphase (NASDAQ:ENPH) is a renewable energy company that offers battery storage systems for houses with solar panels. These products help homeowners store excess power during bad weather or when there's not enough sun available, reducing consumption rates significantly while also helping maintain stability in an emergency situation where traditional sources like coal-fired plants might go down due to regulators cutting off their operating license
With installations across commercial enterprises, Enphase offers solutions for the same scale of energy resilience at homes. The company also supplies more than 45 million microinverters on over 2 million properties with its products that convert direct current into alternating ones—a system highly sought after in today's market where demand is high and stable renewable power sources are difficult to come by due primarily because they don't work well when there isn’t enough infrastructure around already storing up electricity from solar panels or other forms
ENPH stock is one of the best clean energy stocks to buy for its financial stability. For instance, its Altman Z-score (a measure off bankruptcy risk) falls well into safe zone which shows that it has strong corporate governance practices in place with independent directors on each board committee tasked specifically towards ensuring this target company maintains an excellent standard when investing money into projects like solar or wind farms as well hiring employees who will work hard at making sure these investments turn out successful even if they don't generate any revenue right away because there's always hope down
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is another major force in the clean energy world. Not only are its cars an example for what electric vehicles could be, the company is also rolling out solar roofs and powerwall batteries.
The Powerwall is a rechargeable home battery system that stores energy from solar panels and enables homeowners to use it at any time, without relying on power outlets. With the introduction of new features like integrated revenue-grade metering for accurate monitoring of your production levels in relation to both consumption patterns within one's own property as well as those across homes nearby; you'll be able not only take advantage clean, renewable resources but also join forces with other users around town who do too!
The Powerwall is a great way to cut prices and eliminate the stress of relying on utility companies. When you're using your electricity, it'll be able to charge up so that even if there's an outage at home or elsewhere in town-the system will know how much power people need based off what they've told us before hand about their needs.
Stem Inc.’s (NYSE:STEM) AI-enabled smart energy storage systems are the future of clean, renewable power. With access to solar panels or other sources like electric vehicles; Stem can help you store excess levels of production for later use at night when there is less demand on our resources
The company recently announced record quarterly revenues. The report claims Stem will start recording positive EBITDA figures in the second half of next year when they are expected to be around US$100 million according their CFO---a ridiculous number considering how much money this small startup has made so far!
In 2021, Stem Inc acquired a solar power monitoring and controls software company called Alsoenergy. This deal gave them access to 25 GW worth of assets which were previously managed by other firms.
You might know Suncor (SX:SU) for its oil business, but it’s diving deep into the renewable energy race as well. In fact, it has pioneered a number of high-tech solutions for finding, pumping, storing, and delivering its resources. When the rebound in crude prices finally materializes, giants like Suncor are sure to do well out of it. While many of the oil majors have given up on oil sands production – those who focus on technological advancements in the area have a great long-term outlook. And that upside is further amplified by the fact that it is currently looking particularly under-valued compared to its peers.
As Canada continues to diversify away from oil, Suncor is well positioned to take advantage of another one of the country’s resource reserves; Lithium. The best part? It doesn’t even have to move very far. In fact, Alberta’s oil sands are a major hotspot for lithium and other resources. This is especially important as North America scrambles to reduce its dependence on Chinese rare earths.
Celestica (TSX:CLS) is an especially important company in the renewable boom due to is role as one of the top manufacturers of electronics in the Americas. Celestica’s wide range of products includes but is not limited to communications solutions, enterprise and cloud services, aerospace and defense products, and renewable energy.
Largely thanks to its exposure to the renewable energy market, Celestica’s future is tied hand-in-hand with the green energy boom that’s sweeping the world at the moment. It helps build smart and efficient products that integrate the latest in power generation, conversion and management technology to deliver smarter, more efficient grid and off-grid applications for the world’s leading energy equipment manufacturers and developers.
By. Josh Owens