Top Stories

September 29, 2015


End fossil fuel subsidies, say leading corporates

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), whose members include Coca-Cola Enterprises, Johnson & Johnson and Kingfisher, has backed international calls for the reform, and eventual elimination, of fossil fuel subsidies. The group, which is based at Cambridge University, yesterday revealed its support for the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFFSR) Communiqué, which calls on the international community to increase efforts to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels ahead of the UN climate summit taking place in Paris in December. The Communiqué, which has already gathered support from a number of countries including the UK, US and France, calls on governments to take action to cut subsidies based on three key strategies: improving transparency and communication about subsidy levels, developing ambition for the scope and timeframe for reforms and providing targeted support to ensure reforms are implemented in a manner that protects the world’s poorest citizens. (Business Green)

International Development

Leaders pledge $25 billion to improve health of women, children and adolescents

The UN has launched a revised global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescent health. The strategy offers a roadmap for countries to meet the sustainable development goals by 2030, particularly goal three, which calls for governments to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all. Governments have pledged more than $25 billion over the next five years to improve the health of women, children and adolescents. The strategy builds on one launched in 2010, which spawned the Every Woman Every Child movement to mobilise resources and accelerate efforts by governments, multilateral organisations, civil society and the private sector to address the major health challenges facing women and children. “All Guatemalan girls and girls around the world are asking you to help us improve the world for all adolescents and girls … [They] are not only the future of the world, but also the present,” Jimena, 12, from Let Girls Lead in Guatemala, told UN delegates last week. (Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Tesla boss Musk calls for ‘random emission’ testing

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk on Friday called for fossil fuel-powered cars “to be tested at random,” as German giant Volkswagen’s worldwide pollution cheating scandal continues to reverberate around the globe. “The obvious move is to pick cars at random and then test the emission in transit,” said Musk, “Clearly emissions-testing needs to be more rigorous.” The shock of the discovery has thrown the focus on electrical cars and their environmental advantages. The scandal broke a week ago when US officials publicly accused Volkswagen of cheating and launched a probe into the scam. The US has since been joined by a growing list of countries launching similar investigations. “What we’re seeing with diesel is that we’ve hit the limit,” said Musk. He said he believed the German car giant “was under a lot of pressure to make improvements” in emission levels “and ran into a physical wall.” Musk’s call comes as the Environmental Protection Agency said it will test all diesel car models for pollution “defeat devices”, as well as testing cars under actual road conditions rather than just newly produced cars in the lab. (Yahoo News)


China and US ban ivory imports

China and the US have agreed to impose almost total bans on the import and export of ivory as part of an attempt to end the illegal poaching of elephants. The deal was announced in a White House statement at the end of a visit by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. “The United States and China commit to enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies, and to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory,” it said. Statistics collected by the Tusk Trust show 100,000 elephants were slaughtered in the past three years, leaving a population of about 400,000 – half what it was 25 years ago. China is the world’s biggest market for ivory, a trade that has swollen with the country’s growing wealth. Wildlife campaigners believe the US is the second largest market. (Telegraph)


New Zealand’s new ocean sanctuary will be one of world’s largest protected areas

The Kermadec ocean sanctuary will be one of the world’s most significant fully protected ecosystems, the prime minister of New Zealand, John Key, told the UN general assembly in New York last week. The sanctuary is in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1000 kilometres north-east of New Zealand, and expands a marine reserve that surrounds a clutch of small islands. The area is considered crucial in terms of biodiversity, featuring nearly 35 species of whales and dolphins, 150 types of fish and three of the world’s seven sea turtle species. It is also geologically significant, encompassing the world’s longest chain of submerged volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench, plunging to 10 kilometres underwater – deeper than Mount Everest is tall. The scale of the sanctuary will dwarf any previous New Zealand protected area, spanning twice the size of the country’s landmass. Commercial and recreational fishing will be completely banned, as will oil, gas and mineral prospecting, exploration and mining. (Guardian)

Image Source: New England Aquarium by Dr Randi Rotjan / CC BY-SA 3.0