Daily Media Briefing 25th July

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Policy & Research, Sustainable Investment, Technology & Innovation

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July 25, 2013

Policy

GSK probe intensifies calls for global cooperation during investigations

The UK has called on China to accelerate plans to share information in a sign of a growing drive for cooperation between countries in global investigations.  The call comes as GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, confirmed that the company had been in contact with prosecutors in the UK and US following the Chinese investigation of GSK for bribery.  A legal assistance treaty, which facilitates requests between countries for evidence, documents or individuals, has been agreed between China and the UK, but is reportedly not yet signed.  It is reported that this agreement would affect global investigations with several companies. (Financial Times*)

Responsible Investment

EIB to stop financing coal-fired power plants

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced yesterday that it will stop financing coal-fired power stations unless they emit less than 550 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour.  The EIB has adopted new guidelines to reinforce support for investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy grids.  Following a review to ensure that its energy lending criteria reflects EU energy and climate policy, as well as current investment trends, the EIB will focus on financing energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy networks, as well as related research and innovation.  The new criteria include streamlined lending guidelines for energy efficiency projects which are designed to enhance co-financing of national energy efficiency programmes, enable increased support for near-zero energy buildings, help the EU to meet its climate objectives and create employment across Europe.  (Edie; The Guardian)

Environment

Arctic melt is an ‘economic time bomb’

The rapid melting of Arctic sea ice and permafrost is an “economic time bomb” which is likely to cost the world at least $60 trillion, according to scientific researchers at the UK’s University of Cambridge and Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.  According to the researchers, the Arctic ice’s central role in regulating ocean currents and climate means that as it melts, it is likely to cause changes that will damage crops, flood properties and damage infrastructure around the world.  “It’s not just important for polar bears, it’s important for societies and global economies,” said Professor Gail Whiteman of Erasmus, adding “that’s an economic time bomb that at this stage has not been recognised on the world stage.” (Financial Times*; The Guardian)

 

Tepco admits Fukushima leaking radioactive waste

Japanese researchers say the cost of cleaning up from the Fukushima nuclear disaster could be more than $50 billion.  The figure does not include compensation for those affected by the explosion, the subsequent fallout, or the de-commissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi plant which the Japanese Government and regulators said will take at least 40 years to complete.  On Monday 22nd of July, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the operator of the plant, admitted for the first time that radiation is leaking into the Pacific, contradicting its earlier claims that contaminated groundwater had been contained before it had reached the ocean.  Tepco has received an estimated 3.5 trillion yen in public money since the disaster began, but has yet to pay over 100,000 people full compensation for the loss of their homes and other assets.  (The Independent)

Technology and Innovation

The next wave of sustainable fish farming?

The US aquaculture company Hawaii Oceanic Technology has developed an open ocean farming system called the Oceansphere.  The company hopes to expand the patented technology to Europe, Asia and Australia, to show how open ocean seafood farming can be sustainable. Currently, farmed fish provides half of all seafood consumed globally.  However, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an additional 62 million metric tons of seafood will need to be produced annually by 2030, to meet the growing demand without depleting wild ocean stocks.  The Oceansphere is an automated positioning and submersible open ocean platform.  The company envisage moving fish farming into deep ocean, where the farming system could be isolated and submerged, so it would be unaffected by the weather.  (Eco Business)

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