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December 09, 2015


Climate Change

114 companies commit to set ambitious science-based emissions reduction targets

The Science Based Targets initiative announced yesterday that 114 companies have now committed to set emissions reduction targets in line with what scientists say is necessary to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees Celsius. The announcement was made at the COP21 climate conference in Paris. The companies participating have combined annual emissions of at least 476 million tonnes CO₂ – equivalent to the annual emissions of South Africa or 125 coal-fired power plants. Their commitment to make ambitious reductions shows how significantly business action can contribute to the global effort to mitigate climate change. The Science Based Targets initiative, a joint effort of CDP, WRI, WWF and UN Global Compact, works with companies to set science-based emissions targets and only approves corporate targets that meet its strict criteria. Ten companies have already had their targets approved including: Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dell, Enel, General Mills, Kellogg, NRG Energy, Procter & Gamble, Sony, and Thalys. (Science Based Targets)


Philips vows to go carbon neutral by 2020

Philips has become the latest global company to announce plans to accelerate its emissions reductions efforts, declaring it will become carbon neutral by 2020. The company made the announcement on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit, confirming it also plans to source 100 percent of its power from renewable sources and accelerate the roll out of its ultra-efficient LED lighting technologies. Philips said it has reduced its carbon emissions by 40 percent since 2007 and increased its share of renewable energy to 55 percent, and now wants to accelerate progress. A spokesperson confirmed that the company would need to purchase carbon offsets to cover on-site fuel combustion, business travel and logistics, but that it plans to significantly reduce these via renewables and less carbon intensive solutions. Meanwhile, Eric Rondolat, chief executive at Philips Lighting, urged governments to step up efforts to deliver an ambitious international climate change deal that can help accelerate the deployment of clean technologies, such as LEDs. (Business Green)


England plastic bag charge cuts usage by almost 80 percent

England’s new 5p plastic bag levy has resulted in an almost 80 percent drop in the number of bags taken home by supermarket shoppers in England, the first data since the introduction of the charge suggests. Early figures from Britain’s biggest retailer, Tesco, suggest the levy is succeeding in its aim of drastically reducing usage of single-use carrier bags, 7.6 billion of which were handed out by major English supermarkets last year alone. In the month after the Government introduced the 5p charge, customers at Tesco stores used 78 percent fewer single-use carrier bags, the retail giant said. The reduction is even greater than the supermarket itself had expected and in line with the top-end of the Government’s estimates of the impact of the levy, the proceeds of which – less VAT – are to be given to good causes. Rory Stewart, the environment minister, said he was “delighted” by the figures which showed “the 5p plastic bag charge is starting to have a real impact and is raising thousands for good causes”. A spokesman for the company said it was on track for its 5p bag sales to deliver £30 million to charity over the year. (Telegraph)


Teen who worked in shop for 10 weeks told he was on unpaid work experience

A teenager who spent 10 weeks before and after school working in a shop to save up for Christmas has been told he won’t be getting paid. UK 15-year-old Jay El-Leboudy had been working mornings and evenings in his local Londis store, but when he asked for his wages was told he was on an unpaid work experience. Furious mother Zoe Buckwell said the store’s owners – who were family friends – had arranged an internship with the view of taking him on part time. She says he had been working two days a week at the shop in Canterbury, Kent, since. One of the store owners told the paper he had never agreed a wage. He said: “I said to her [Jay’s mother] that he’s only 15. The law says he’s not allowed to work and because we sell alcohol, he’s not allowed in lots of areas, but he is allowed to follow people around.” A fundraising website has since been set up for the 15-year-old, raising over £2,000. (Yahoo; Huffington Post)


Paris climate talks: Deadlines, ratcheting and stock-taking

One issue that remains unresolved in the Paris climate talks is “stock-taking.” As part of proposed transparency measures, developed countries want to include a provision that would require countries to convene every five years for a “stock-take” – a public demonstration of whether they are meeting their pledges to reduce growth of emissions. This is different from “ratcheting,” which also remains unresolved. At ratchet meetings, countries would be required to put forth tougher emission-cutting plans. It remains unclear whether the United States can compel all countries to accept ratchet meetings at five-year intervals. What looks more likely is that countries would meet every five years to take stock and voluntarily put forth tougher plans, with mandatory ratchet meetings scheduled every 10 years. The stock-takes are another part of the effort to create global peer pressure to cut emissions with the hopes of the public pushing countries to do more to make up for the lack of legally binding emissions target. The first such stock-taking would probably come in 2020, the year the Paris accord would come into force. (NY Times)

Image Source: Siège de Philips France by Copyleft / CC BY SA 3.0