Top Stories

July 24, 2018

Science Based Targets

Mastercard has ‘bold’ science-based target approved

Mastercard has become the first payments industry firm to gain approval for science-based targets, as the company aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2025. “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. This commitment highlights Mastercard’s determination to be a part of the solution” said Kristina Kloberdanz, Mastercard’s chief sustainability officer. In 2017, Mastercard achieved 100% renewable energy offset usage across all of its global offices thanks to a mixture of onsite solar generation, renewable energy purchases and credits. Commenting on the announcement, WRI’s director of private sector climate mitigation Cynthia Cummins said, “Being the first payments company to align their business strategy with the Paris Agreement, Mastercard is demonstrating its business leadership and positioning itself for success in the low-carbon economy.” (Edie)

Climate Change/ Gender

Mary Robinson launches new feminist fight against climate change

Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner, feature women globally who are leading the fight against climate damage in the hopes of building a new global movement that will create “a feminist solution for climate change”. Called Mothers of Invention, the initiative will kick off with a series of podcasts showcasing climate activists at a local level along with globally resonant initiatives such as the legal challenges under way in numerous jurisdictions to force governments to adhere to the Paris agreement goals. The series will bring in issues of colonialism, racism, poverty, migration and social justice and how these are bound up with feminism and the effects of climate change. Robinson has paired with Maeve Higgins, an Irish-born comedian, to jointly introduce their female guests through a series of informal discussions. Higgins admits, it’s an unusual way of presenting the gloomy subject of climate damage, but hopes it will reach people more effectively than the standard models of climate communication and male-dominated discourse. (Business Green)

Climate change/Lobbying

Fossil fuel industry spends ten times more on climate lobbying than clean energy

Industry sectors based on fossil fuels significantly outspent environmental groups and renewable energy companies on climate change lobbying by a ratio of approximately 10 to 1, new research has found. In a study published last week in the journal Climatic Change, Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle shows that between 2000 and 2016, lobbyists spent more than $2 billion trying to influence climate legislation in the US Congress. The study also acknowledges that the leading spenders do not necessarily take monolithic approaches and at times lobby in support of climate legislation. Brulle told DeSmog his findings partially explain the lack of forceful action on the climate crisis in the U.S., “For over 30 years, the science of climate change has been well understood,” he said. “But no meaningful action has been taken by the U.S. Lobbying by special interests has played a role in this outcome.” (DeSmog)

Human Rights

Australia called out as willing to undermine human rights for digital agenda

Global human rights, public policy, and advocacy group AccessNow has called out Australia for its lack of focus on human rights as it adapts to the challenges of the digital era. In Human Rights in the Digital Era: An International Perspective on Australia, AccessNow says that as the digital world continues to develop, and technology increasingly becomes an “intimate part” of daily lives, lawmakers face a choice between undermining privacy and security in the digital era or becoming a champion for human rights in the digital age. On the topic of data protection, AccessNow said that despite Australians highlighting their concerns over who has access to their information, Australia has “never established a legal right to privacy”. the report asks for the government to commit to building cybersecurity policies and practices around central tenets of human rights, including the right to privacy. (ZDNet)


UK MPs insist new post-Brexit green watchdog must have legal powers

MPs want issues such as air quality, waste, water, soil and to be subject to five yearly reports – similarly to the UK’s carbon budgets. The recommendations are part of a wide-ranging report published today (24th July) which outlines ways the Government can achieve the objectives set out in the 25-Year Environment Plan. Ministers have promised to create a new environmental watchdog when the UK leaves the EU, but green campaigners warn that the Government’s draft plans would leave the body without the power to adequately enforce green laws. In today’s report, MPs claim such a body such have the power to take the Government and other public bodies to court where standards are breached. MPs also insist the body must be overseen by Parliament to guarantee its independence from Government and prevent its budget being cut in future. (Edie)


Image Source: MasterCard credit card by Håkan Dahlström on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.