News Roundups

House extends PPP, Texas regulator ousted, and more

Weekly news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from March 19, 2021.

Weekly news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from March 19, 2021.

The House voted to extend PPP for two months. Here's what happens next.

Small businesses got some good news on Tuesday, when the House of Representatives voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program for two months.

The bill, the PPP Extension Act of 2021, passed the House on a 415-3 vote. It would extend the program to May 31, instead of the current date of March 31, and give the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days to process loans.

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Were the airline bailouts really needed?

A year ago this week, Doug Parker, the chief executive of American Airlines, flew to Washington to begin what became a yearlong lobbying campaign for a series of taxpayer-funded bailouts during the pandemic.

He wasn’t alone. The campaign also included leaders from Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and Southwest Airlines — all with their hands extended. The flight attendant and pilot unions were also part of the lobbying.

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Oil drops as COVID-19 vaccine halt threatens demand

Oil prices fell for a third day on Tuesday, as Germany, France and other European states suspended the use of a major coronavirus vaccine, threatening the recovery of fuel demand.

Brent crude fell 49 cents to settle at $68.39 a barrel, while U.S. crude dropped 59 cents to end at $64.80 a barrel.

Earlier this month, Brent reached its highest since early 2020, while U.S. crude hit a 2018 high.

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Biden administration wants the financial sector to face up to climate risk

A growing number of federal regulators are pushing corporate America to reckon with the cost of climate change, arguing that global warming poses significant peril not only to the environment but also to the U.S. economy.

On Wednesday, Rostin Behnam, the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, announced that he is establishing a Climate Risk Unit to focus on the role of complex financial derivatives in understanding and pricing climate-related hazards. That follows a request on Monday by the Securities and Exchange Commission for public input on how to require companies to disclose “consistent, comparable, and reliable information on climate change” risks to investors.

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‘Reading the writing on the wall’: why Wall Street is acting on the climate crisis

Wildfires burned nearly 10.4m acres across the US last year. The most costly thunderstorm in US history caused $7.5bn in damage across Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. As the climate crisis swept the globe on a biblical scale it left in its wake a record number of billion-dollar disasters.

And yet out of these ashes has emerged an unlikely savior: Wall Street. After decades of backing polluters and opposing legislation to rein them in, finance says it’s going green.

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Top Texas utility regulator ousted as recording emerges of pledges to protect Wall Street

For nearly an hour last week, the state’s last surviving utility commissioner, Arthur D’Andrea, was remarkably candid about what he had gleaned from last month’s deadly outage crisis.

“I mean, the failure here was really a larger statewide failure in our gas supply,” he told Bank of America investors in a private call, a recording of which was obtained by Texas Monthly. “And I am not sure who that’s on — it’s probably on me, it’s probably on the Railroad Commission. That’s who should have been seeing that, hey, when it gets down to 9 degrees ... we’re gonna lose all this stuff.”

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Covid-19 paused climate emissions – but they're rising again

The planet had already warmed by around 1.2C since pre-industrial times when the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. This began a sudden and unprecedented drop in human activity, as much of the world went into lockdown and factories stopped operating, cars kept their engines off and planes were grounded.

There have been many monumental changes since then, but for those of us who work as climate scientists this period has also brought some entirely new and sometimes unexpected insights.

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Renewable Returns Tripled Versus Fossil Fuels in Last Decade

Investing in renewable power stocks beat a fossil fuel-focused strategy by more than threefold in the last decade.

Superior returns from green power could help push investors to provide the capital necessary to scale up low-carbon power sources in the coming years, according to the analysis by the International Energy Agency and Imperial College Business School of hundreds of publicly-listed companies globally.

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