Top Stories

July 10, 2020

Energy/Sustainable Investment

Amazon to buy bio jet fuel to lower air cargo emissions

Logistics and retail giant Amazon has announced that it plans to buy six million gallons of bio jet fuel via a division of oil distributor Shell and produced by biodiesel producer World Energy. The companies said the jet fuel will be made from agricultural waste fats and oils, such as used cooking oil and inedible fats from beef processing. Amazon has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and says it will make sure half of Amazon shipments are net-zero by 2030. That commitment also includes buying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles and using 100 per cent clean energy by 2025. The market for next-generation sustainable aviation fuel is just now being trialled commercially by airlines such as JetBlue and United, produced by developers such as World Energy and Finnish company Neste. Neste announced on Tuesday that it has delivered its first batch of sustainable aviation fuel via pipeline for airlines refuelling at San Francisco International airport to use. (BusinessGreen)


Environment Agency debuts new five-year plan for green post-Covid recovery

The Environment Agency (EA) has today published a new five-year plan to strengthen UK climate resilience and enhance natural habitats in pursuit of net zero goals. Dubbed EA2025, the new strategy sets out how the agency plans to promote health, equity and environmental enhancement, while delivering on its core goals to create more climate resilient places, improve air, soil, and water quality, and deliver on its target of net zero emissions by 2030. The EA2025 strategy sets out three long-term goals: “a nation resilient to climate change; healthy air, land and water; and green growth and a sustainable future”. These overarching goals are backed by a series of annual targets, such as plans to improve more than 4,000 kilometres of river during 2020/21, create nearly 1,200 hectares of habitat, and cut carbon emissions eight per cent a year, to put it on track to deliver net zero emissions by 2030. The body said that in 2019/20 a wave of floods throughout the winter meant it processed more claims and paid out more than in the first three years of operation combined, with gross costs reaching £160 million. (BusinessGreen)


Widespread air quality data gaps threaten global pollution fight, study finds

More than half of the world’s population lacks full access to timely and transparent air quality data, hindering efforts to tackle air pollution according to a new study, by American non-profit OpenAQ. This does not allow raising public awareness on the detrimental effects on the environment and human health. The study finds that at least 30 nations, including as China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, generate real-time air quality data but do not share it with their citizens in a fully open manner, affecting 4.4 billion people. Only four out of 10 governments around the globe make timely data publicly available. Worse still, in 51 per cent of the world’s countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria and Ethiopia, no government data of any pollutant type is collected. While data cannot immediately solve pollution and its impacts on people, taking measurements and making them publicly accessible are critical steps towards cleaner air. (Eco-Business)


Governments are bowing to fossil fuel lobbying in Covid-19 recovery planning, according to report

Almost two-thirds of the interventions which fossil fuel lobbyists made in policymaking between March and June were successful, new analysis has revealed. Conducted by non-profit InfluenceMap, the ‘recovery map’ analysis tracks policy lobbing across Australia, Canada, the US and the EU, to garner whether policymakers are bowing to pressure from high-carbon sectors when developing their Covid-19 recovery packages. The report reveals that the oil and gas sector made 31 policy interventions with 64 per cent successful either in full or in part. Last year, InfluenceMap’s analysis found that the largest five publicly listed oil and gas majors had spent £153m a year lobbying since 2015. Demands were fairly evenly split between rolling back existing or planned climate legislation and providing financial interventions that favour fossil fuel production over other sectors. The aviation lobby has been the most successful of these efforts. All demands related to securing bailouts with no or minimal environmental conditions. (Edie)

Reporting/ Health/Inequality

UN experts call on rich countries to end export of banned pesticides

United Nations human rights experts have called on wealthy countries to end the “deplorable” practice of exporting banned toxic chemicals and pesticides to poorer nations. A statement issued by UN special rapporteur on toxics, Baskut Tuncak, revealed that at least 30 countries last year shipped substances to Latin America, Africa and Asia that were banned from use on their own soil in order to protect human health or the environment. Concerns exist about the shipping of toxic pesticides and other banned chemicals in reports on exporting countries like Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The call comes after an investigation by environmental news group Unearthed and Swiss NGO Public Eye earlier this year revealed that the world’s five biggest pesticide manufacturers – all of which are headquartered in Europe or the United States – were making more than a third of their leading products income from the sale of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). More than half of their income from HHP sales came in low- and middle-income countries like Brazil and India. (Unearthed)

Image source: gray and white airplane by Ethan McArthur on Unsplash