Too much is expected from the financial sector in terms of the fight against climate change, the director for investment strategy at €238bn Dutch pension investor PGGM has suggested.Speaking at an Edhec climate finance conference in Paris this week, Jaap van Dam said: ”Sometimes it feels that the whole of society is looking at the financial sector to solve the climate change problem.”“I think that’s a much overrated thing,” he said. “Climate change is actually produced in the real world, so it’s about capital owners, it’s about capital investments, it’s about consumers, and I think the government has a very large role to play.”“If we all play our part then we can move in the right direction and at the same time deliver a good pension.” Olivier Rousseau, executive director at €33bn French public investor Fonds de reserve pour les retraites (FRR), said it was “mostly for the governments to do the job of forcing the private sector to do the right things for the climate,” whereby the private sector was broader than just investors. Palais Brongniart, where the Edhec conference was heldSuccessfully fighting climate change required investment in nuclear energy and disruptive technologies, according to Rousseau, although this was not necessarily something pension funds would be able to provide, at least not at the scale that was needed.He celebrated as “tremendous” a recent move by the European Commission to approve €3.2bn in state aid from seven European Union countries to support research and innovation in battery technology.“It’s a change in approach, a public response to a public emergency and that’s [a] very good avenue,” he said.Last week the European Commission unveiled its plan for a European Green Deal, a wide-ranging growth strategy that has been welcomed for going beyond the financial sector in the bid to drive a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In a discussion in the Dutch parliament this week PGGM and APG were due to call for an expansion of the current European carbon emissions trading system, and for the government to create investment opportunities that contribute to the energy transition.Supply-side issuesVan Dam said that after several years of “harvesting the low hanging fruit”, PGGM now had difficulty finding climate solution investments at scale that would meet its required rate of return.“Sometimes this frustrates our board and our participants,” he said. “If you look at the world as a whole probably 15% is sustainable and 85% not, so this is a very gradual moving thing and we’re part of the system.”He gave the recent example of PGGM and Shell being outbid in their attempt to acquire Dutch energy supplier Eneco. At the time a spokesperson described the outcome as “a real pity as this kind of large investments in local energy transition were scarce”.Andreas Stang, head of ESG at Denmark’s PFA Pension, said the renewable energy market was getting “really crowded”.Unless new projects appeared, return compression meant the pension fund would have to enter deals during an earlier phase if it wanted to continue investing in this area, or look elsewhere.Stang indicated that government green bonds were not really an attractive option given low yields, and said that PFA Pension had therefore been looking at the real estate sector to see if it could “push the envelope” on sustainability.He explained that PFA was challenging regulators to allow it to build a 10-storey office compound entirely out of wood, arguing that in Norway it was possible to build many more stories than the two-storey maximum the Danish regulators were stating.
Brian Ji | Daily TrojanThe USC men’s basketball team impressed in its season opener Friday night, defeating the University of San Diego Toreros 83-45 at the Galen Center.Sophomore guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart paced the Trojans in the blowout win. McLaughlin led the way with a game-high 20 points, while Stewart recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.“I thought our team played a very up-tempo game tonight,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “We pressed and pushed the ball. I thought they were smart. I thought they played within themselves.”The Trojans pulled away early in the first half with an 11-0 run to take a 19-6 lead at the 12:17 mark. A three by McLaughlin with 28 seconds remaining in the half sent the Trojans into halftime with a 42-19 advantage. “We were playing well as a team,” Enfield said on the first half run. “We were rebounding, defending, pushing the tempo and made some shots. I thought that was the key to the entire first half. We just have to play, not think a whole lot and give great effort.”USC did not let off the gas pedal in the second half, outscoring USD 41-26 to finish off the victory. Freshmen Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu played well in their first career collegiate games. Boatwright, who started for USC, scored the game’s first points with a three-pointer from the top, showcasing his skill as a big man who can score from inside and out.Boatwright finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes of play, while Metu’s athleticism was on full display as he recorded five blocks to go along with five points and five rebounds.Boatwright and Metu played together for a stretch in the second half, and combined to score seven straight at one point for the Trojans, who appear to have struck gold with their recruits.“[Boatwright] had three fouls early, and he settled down in the second half,” Enfield said. “Played great in the second half. [Metu] was active all game. He had five blocked shots and made a couple of nice moves. I’m happy with them. They got their feet wet in Division I basketball.”Several of Metu’s blocks ignited fastbreaks – USC finished with 16 fastbreak points to just four for USD. One play in particular in the first half saw Metu block a layup attempt, which led to a fastbreak layup on the other end by Katin Reinhardt set up by McLaughlin to put the Trojans ahead 28-11.“We played fast like we did last year, but we played smarter,” McLaughlin said.McLaughlin, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, looked fresh and improved in the season opener, shooting 8-of-12 from the field.“It felt great,” McLaughlin said. “While I was out this offseason, I watched a lot of film and figured out where I could play fast and play smart. I had to learn where I could slow my game down. This offseason I got into the gym a lot, and it showed tonight.”Stewart also seemed much-improved with a year of experience under his belt. He chalked the win up to team chemistry.“We’ve been playing together for about a year now,” Stewart said. “It’s just knowing what each other can do. Coach told us if we make more than three passes, we’re 75 percent efficient. So we just tried to build up on that stat and pass the ball for the open shot.”Defensively, the Trojans held USD to 24.6 percent shooting, and the 38-point win represents the largest in Enfield’s coaching career at USC.It was a stark contrast from last season’s opener, which saw the Trojans get upset by Portland State at home.“It felt differently because we’re a better basketball team,” Enfield said. “We have more talent. We’re playing better as a team.”Enfield’s job was made easy Friday night, as the Trojans never trailed and never had their lead threatened.“They work extremely hard,” Enfield said. “They’re confident in the way they work in the weight room, and on the court. They’re just excited to play. I didn’t have to raise my voice at all tonight, and I don’t plan on doing that.”USC has won 17 of its last 21 home openers and is 4-0 all-time against USD. The Trojans next play on Wednesday at home against Monmouth, which defeated UCLA earlier on Friday.