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While scepticism is high some areas have enjoyed strong gains ahead of the summit
Thursday 04 Nov 2021 Author: Martin Gamble

Politicians are known for expressing well intentioned platitudes regarding climate change but failing to deliver action as climate change activist Greta Thunberg has so often highlighted.

Ahead of the 26th climate conference in Glasgow which got underway on 31 October, investors seem as sceptical as ever over real change and appear instead to have placed bets on increased demand for uranium (to fuel nuclear power) and more funding for energy efficiency.

In other words, governments might need to fall back on traditional technologies as a backstop to support their long-term emissions targets. This implies a greater role for nuclear energy and could explain why share prices of uranium stocks and exchange traded funds have been so strong ahead of the conference.

For example, shares in uranium fund Geiger Counter (GCL) have surged 77% since the middle of August while Uranium trader Yellow Cake (YCA:AIM) shares are up 40%. Meanwhile the US-listed ETF (exchange-traded fund) Global X Uranium Fund is around 65% higher.

A more diversified green energy ETF option is Legal and General Battery Value Chain (BATG) which is up around 18% year-to-date.

Popular actively managed funds in this space include Guinness Sustainable Energy (B3CCJ63) and the Pictet Clean Energy (B516829) with both holding shares in US nuclear plants operator Nextera Energy.

Despite past disasters like Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011, it looks like the UK government will embrace nuclear energy as part of its net zero roadmap.

In the recent Autumn budget, the chancellor confirmed he had targeted £1.7 billion of investment in the Sizewell C power plant, with the taxpayer shouldering the burden through a levy on energy bills.

Investors may be sceptical of big break throughs emanating from COP26 but there are expectations of possibly big spending plans to upgrade infrastructure and make our homes and offices more energy efficient.

Building insulation specialist Kingspan (KGP) has seen its shares gain 61% so far this year while shares in US integrated infrastructure and energy efficiency solutions group Johnson Controls have surged nearly 80%.

Meanwhile shares in plumbing and heating distributor Ferguson (FERG) are up by around a third.

Energy storage technology is likely to play an increasing role in energy efficiency and one way to play the theme is through the largest investor in energy storage battery systems the Gresham House Energy Storage Fund (GRID).

Wind energy plays a big role as a renewable resource in the UK and one way to get exposure to the growing demand is via Danish-based wind energy systems company Vestas Wind Systems, whose shares are around 7% lower year-to-date.

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