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November 11, 2015

Climate Change

World Bank: Climate change could push 100 million into extreme poverty

Climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 by disrupting agriculture and fuelling the spread of malaria and other diseases, the World Bank has said. In a report released just weeks ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris, the World Bank highlights how the impact of global warming is borne unevenly, with the world’s poor woefully unprepared to deal with climate shocks such as rising seas or severe droughts. “They have fewer resources and receive less support from family, community, the financial system, and even social safety nets to prevent, cope and adapt,” the World Bank said. Campaigners said the report added emphasis to demands for billions of dollars in so-called climate finance to developing countries. “The statistics in the World Bank report are suitably shocking and I hope they force world leaders to sit up and take notice,” said Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid. (Independent)


Ford revealed as funder of climate denial group ALEC

Ford Motor Company has been quietly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group widely criticised for its promotion of climate change denial and for its opposition to the development of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. A Ford spokesperson, Christin Baker, confirmed the ALEC grant to national media group, Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), but said that the funding was not intended to be used by ALEC to block action on climate change. “Ford participates in a broad range of organisations that support our business needs, but no organisation speaks for Ford on every issue. We do not engage with ALEC on climate change,” said Baker. Since CMD first launched the ALEC Exposed investigation in 2011, revealing the extensive agenda of the corporate lobbying group, more than 100 corporations have left ALEC, including BP, Occidental, Yahoo, Visa, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Walmart and McDonalds. (Eco-Business)


New York raises minimum hourly wage to $15 for state staff

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, said he will raise the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour. The announcement came after a day of protests in 270 US cities, organised by the group Fight for 15. Opponents of the governor’s move said it was an attempt to “circumvent the legislature.” Over the summer Mr Cuomo raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. The increase applies to state workers and will come into effect gradually. A spokesman for The Business Council of New York said, “We believe the legislature should have a voice in this process. People forget we already have a wage increase to $9 an hour coming later this year that the legislature agreed to.” In his announcement the governor called New York the “progressive capital” of the US and said the state was “leading by example and creating an economy that is defined by opportunity.” (BBC)


All electricity in Austria’s largest state now produced from renewables

Austria’s largest state said that 100 percent of its electricity is now generated using renewable sources of energy. “We have invested heavily to boost energy efficiency and to expand renewables,” said Erwin Proell, governor of Lower Austria.  “Since 2002 we have invested 2.8 billion euros in eco-electricity, from solar parks to renewing (hydroelectric) stations on the Danube,” Proell told a news conference. The state in northeast Austria now gets 63 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric power, 26 percent from wind energy, nine percent from biomass and two percent from solar. In Austria as a whole, which voted against nuclear power in a 1978 referendum, 75 percent comes from renewables and the rest from fossil fuels. Lower Austria has also created 38,000 green jobs, Proell said, which the state aims to increase to 50,000 by 2030. The announcement comes ahead of a gathering of world leaders in Paris in December aimed at reaching an ambitious global deal to tackle climate change. (Guardian)


Fishermen and farmers sue World Bank lending arm over power plant in India

In the first case of its kind against the private investment arm of the World Bank, fishermen and farmers from north-western India are suing the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in a US federal court over a $450 million loan for a coal-fired power plant. The communities say the IFC has “destroyed their livelihoods” by reducing fish stocks and damaging the environment in Gujarat. But in a move decried by human rights advocates, the IFC says the complaint “must be dismissed in its entirety” because the IFC is entitled to immunity from prosecution in the US. “What are they afraid of?” asks Kristen Genovese, from the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations in Amsterdam. “Any other institution – you can sue your government, you can sue corporations. Why can’t you sue the Bank? Why is it above the law? You need to have checks and balances.” At the moment, she adds, “the entire World Bank group essentially plays by its own rules”. (Guardian)


Image source: IFC/World Bank plaque on the side of their headquarters in D.C by Addy Cameron-Huff / CC BY 2.0