There Is a Way Out of This
By Rob Uek and Bill Page
Co-Portfolio Managers, Essex Environmental Opportunities Fund
The alarm bells that have been sounding for years are finally being heard. The media and many others seem to be expressing shock at both the urgency and the magnitude of the climate problems outlined in the recently published report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The full report can be found at www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/, but a few key passages from the report:
- It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.
- Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.
- Many changes in the climate system become larger in direct relation to increasing global warming. They include increases in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, and heavy precipitation, agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions, and proportion of intense tropical cyclones, as well as reductions in Arctic sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.
- From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions. Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality.
In a nutshell, the IPCC report has concluded that man’s impact on the globe has disrupted our environment, these disruptions are causing many adverse developments and events, and these impacts are worsening at an accelerating rate. While deniers will continue to dispute these conclusions and the underlying science-based facts, there is a greater and growing global acceptance that we have a problem. The good news is that we can solve this problem with effort, diligence and a focus on solutions.
To us, this latest report from the IPCC is not a shock. We have long known about this issue, we understand the urgency of the problem, and we fully grasp the magnitude of the challenge ahead of us. Indeed, we have spent the past 16 years of our professional lives doing something about it. We have created an investment strategy specifically designed and aimed at allocating capital to companies that have solutions for these climate challenges. Essex’s Global Environmental Opportunities Strategy (“GEOS”) invests across nine specifically defined environmental investment themes that each are designed to potentially provide solutions to our problems ranging from renewable energy to clean tech and efficiency to efficient transport. We believe that the problem at hand is large and therefore we need a multi-pronged approach – there is no silver bullet.
Many are tempted to look to the future for breakthrough technologies to save the day, but we believe that technologies exist today that can be implemented in aggressive fashion to put a major dent in our carbon output. We are focused on identifying the companies offering these technologies. A few such technologies:
- Decentralized energy production based on renewable sources that limits carbon output, reduces energy loss in long distance transmission, and increases efficiency and reliability;
- Transitioning our passenger car, delivery trucks, heavy duty trucks, ship fleets and eventually aircraft to low carbon fuels, including electric batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and other technologies;
- Improvements in commercial building energy usage though high-efficiency insulation, improved HVAC systems, renewable energy sources, smart glass, LED lighting, etc.;
- Reduction of the carbon footprint of energy intensive industries like cement manufacturing and steel or aluminum manufacturing though the use of green hydrogen energy sources and carbon capture technology; and
- Production of renewable natural gas by repurposing the dangerous methane gas emanating from waste landfills.
GEOS was created to invest in solutions to our environmental challenges, addressing many of the issues highlighted by the IPCC. We have been informed by its work and findings and believe the challenges ahead, while daunting, are solvable. Our steadfast focus continues to be growth of capital through investment in companies providing environmental solutions. We continue to move the needle by investing in what we believe to be true climate solutions. For more information please visit www.essexinvest.com/strategies/global-environmental-opportunities/
This commentary is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. The opinions and analyses expressed in this commentary are based on Essex Investment Management LLC’s (“Essex”) research and professional experience and are expressed as of the date of its release. Certain information expressed represents an assessment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast or guarantee of future results, nor is intended to speak to any future periods. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties.
This does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase any security or investment product, nor does it constitute a recommendation to invest in any particular security. An investment in securities is speculative and involves a high degree of risk and could result in the loss of all or a substantial portion of the amount invested. There can be no assurance that the strategy described herein will meet its objectives generally, or avoid losses. Essex makes no warranty or representation, expressed or implied; nor does Essex accept any liability, with respect to the information and data set forth herein, and Essex specifically disclaims any duty to update any of the information and data contained in the commentary. This information and data does not constitute legal, tax, account, investment or other professional advice. Essex being registered by the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.
You should carefully consider the Funds investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses before investing. This and other important information is contained in the Fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus, which should be read carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus or summary prospectus call (800) 700-9929. The Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. Essex Environmental Opportunities Fund and Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC are not affiliated.
The Fund does not own any positions in securities mentioned.
Top ten Fund holdings as of 6/30/2021: Raven Industries Inc. (5.00% of portfolio), Aspen Aerogels Inc. (4.46%), Sunrun Inc. (3.51%), Generac Holdings Inc. (3.29%), Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Inc. (3.27%), Enphase Energy Inc. (3.07%), Amyris Inc. (3.04%), Cree Inc. (3.03%), Kingspan Group plc (2.98%), and Kornit Digital Ltd. (2.88%). Current and future portfolio holdings are subject to risk.
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