Top Stories

October 04, 2016


UN airline emissions accord depends on massive scale-up of biofuels

The airline industry’s plan to ease its impact on global warming hinges on fuels made from vegetable oil, corn and household garbage. But producers of such fuels currently lack capacity, and the pace of investment is slowing. The aviation industry is being pushed to act this week by delegates from 190 nations, who are debating a United Nations accord in Montreal that would cap emissions from international flights. With electric planes still experimental, airlines and aerospace companies say biofuels are their best bet. Advocates for renewable jet fuel say the industry will develop after the UN accord takes effect. “Airlines are stepping up and creating demand,’’ said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability. “It is hard for me to envision a long-term situation where the biofuel industry does not mature and develop.” (Bloomberg)

Policy & Research

Canada to impose carbon tax from 2018 in bid to hit Paris goals

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed his government will impose a mandatory carbon tax from 2018 onwards on all provinces that fail to implement their own carbon levy or emissions cap-and-trade systems. The announcement was made by Trudeau at the start of a debate on the ratification of the Paris Agreement, which Canada is expected to approve tomorrow. Under the plans, from 2018 carbon pollution will cost $10 per tonne, rising by $10 a year until it hits $50 per tonne in 2022. Trudeau insisted any revenues from the scheme will remain in the province where they are generated, claiming the scheme will help generate hundreds of thousands of clean technology jobs and boost regional economies. (Business Green)


Study: Trade unions a blunt tool in reducing inequality

A new study from the London School of Economics has found that the strong presence of trade unions in companies does not lead to a reduction in CEO pay. In many cases during the period studied, highly unionised companies saw CEO pay increase more rapidly than non-union competitors. This finding contradicts research which suggests that higher labour costs and lower profitability – often a feature of highly unionised companies – can act as a constraint on CEO pay. While trade unions may bring a number of benefits to their members, the study shows that incentivising trade union membership is unlikely to reduce income inequality. (London School of Economics)

Community Investment

British Gas helps more than one million people fight fuel poverty

Thousands of UK households have been helped by an innovative community scheme to tackle fuel poverty, according to a report published by British Gas and the charity National Energy Action. The Community Action Partnership launched in 2014 as the first nationwide grassroots initiative to support people struggling to heat their homes, and to provide specialist training to frontline workers. The report estimates that the scheme will reach around a million people this year, rising to more than three million people by 2020. 80 percent of people helped said they would use the information to save energy and keep warm, while 75 percent said they would be better able to control how much gas and electricity they use at home. (British Gas)

Human Rights

Amnesty urges compassionate overhaul of refugee response

Amnesty International is urging UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd to rethink key aspects of the UK’s refugee response. The call comes as Amnesty publishes an assessment that documents the precarious situation faced by many of the world’s 21 million refugees. Just 10 countries have taken in 56 percent of the global refugee population, with the UK hosting less than one percent. The report says a basic common-sense system for assessing countries’ capacity to host refugees, based on criteria like wealth, population and unemployment, would make it clear which countries are failing to do their fair share. The report cites Canada, which has resettled nearly 30,000 Syrian refugees since November 2015, as an example of leadership. (Amnesty)


Image source: Plane by ionutscripcaru / Public Domain