Top Stories

November 27, 2018

Climate Change

Trump on own administration’s climate report: ‘I don’t believe it’

Donald Trump has told reporters he doesn’t believe his own government’s climate change findings that the US economy will suffer substantially with continued warming from greenhouse gas pollution. The Trump administration has tried to downplay the dire findings of the analysis. The report, called the National Climate Assessment, concludes that if greenhouse gas pollution from power plants and cars continues to rise through the 21st century, the US could then see $155 billion a year in damages to labour and $118 billion a year in damages to coastal property. Lives lost to extreme heat and cold could cost another $141 billion a year and the consequences from worsened air quality could equal $26 billion a year. “I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump said outside the White House on Monday. “I don’t believe it.” (Guardian)


European consumer groups want regulators to act against Google tracking

Consumer agencies in the Netherlands, Poland and five other European Union countries asked privacy regulators on Tuesday to take action against Google for allegedly tracking the movements of millions of users in breach of the bloc’s new privacy law. Google is already facing a lawsuit in the United States for allegedly tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings. The consumer groups, which included those in the Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden, filed complaints with their respective national data protection authorities, based on research by their Norwegian counterpart. Consumer lobby the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) alleges that Google uses various methods to encourage users to enable the settings ‘location history’ and ‘web and app activity’ which are integrated into all Google user accounts. “These unfair practices leave consumers in the dark about the use of their personal data,” BEUC said. (Reuters)


Singaporean Government urges employers to maintain health programmes for workers

To address the growing health problem of diabetes, authorities need to target public initiatives in settings such as the local community and workplaces, Senior Minister of State for Health in Singapore, Amy Khor, said on Monday. Speaking at the Ministerial Conference on Diabetes, Dr Khor said: “Be it by preference or due to circumstances, employees may compromise on their health by consuming fast foods or sleeping late at night. For those who work in the office, they could remain sedentary for long periods of time.” The cost of lost productivity due to ill health is more than 10 times the cost of its prevention, according to a study cited by Dr Khor. By keeping their staff healthy, employers will benefit from a more productive workforce, she added. (Business & Human Rights; Straits Times)

Supply chain

High-street fashion giants urged to bolster viscose supply chain sustainability

A group of big-name UK fashion retailers including H&M, ASOS and Marks & Spencer (M&S) urged their suppliers to take ambitious action to make their viscose supply chains more sustainable, after a new report found that many were dumping toxic wastewater in waterways and fisheries. Published today by the Changing Markets Foundation (CMF), the report accuses suppliers to have signed up to the Collaboration for Sustainable Development of Viscose (CV) initiative of allowing their China-based manufacturers to “pick and choose” between standards. The report claims companies to have used CV member factories – including Next, Esprit and Inditex – are allowing their manufacturers to deliver viscose-based products with little information on their origin or environmental impact. “It is a weak attempt to clean up the Chinese viscose industry and much more needs to be done to ensure that Chinese producers are aiming for the same level of ambition as other industry players,” said CMF’s campaign advisor Urska Trunk. (Edie)

Sustainable Investment

Principles for Responsible Banking launched with backing of 28 banks

The launch of a set of six principles seeking to commit banks to align with both the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been hailed as a ‘global benchmark for sustainable banking’. The voluntary initiative has been modelled on the six UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and four Principles for Sustainable Insurance. A six-month public consultation for the Principles for Responsible Banking was launched on 26 November in Paris by 28 banks, which jointly represent more than $17 trillion in assets, and the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which developed the Principles in partnership. They will be officially launched in September 2019. The Principles represent “a serious commitment”, according to UNEP FI, because banks that fail to meet transparency requirements, set adequate targets and demonstrate progress will be stripped of their status as signatories. (Environmental Finance)*

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Image source: Raining colour bMike Cartmell on FlickrCC BY 2.0.