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September 21, 2020

Climate Change

World’s richest 1% cause double CO2 emissions of poorest 50%, says Oxfam

The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research. The report, compiled by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute, warned that rampant overconsumption and the rich world’s addiction to high-carbon transport are exhausting the world’s “carbon budget”. The richest 10% of the global population, comprising about 630 million people, were responsible for about 52% of global emissions over the 25-year period, the study showed. Globally, the richest 10% are those with incomes above about $35,000 (£27,000) a year, and the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000. Oxfam has argued for more taxes on high-carbon luxuries, such as a frequent-flyer levy, to funnel investment into low-carbon alternatives and improving the lot of the poor. (The Guardian)


Global net zero commitments double in less than a year

New York ‘Climate Week’ kicks off today with confirmation the number of corporates and governments pledging to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest has more than doubled in the past year. The news comes as the UK government also marks the opening of the annual climate summit by unveiling a series of new climate initiatives in support of its role as host of the crucial COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow next year. The number of regional governments with net zero goals has climbed from 11 to 101 so far in 2020 and the number of city-wide net zero commitments has risen eight-fold from 100 to 823. With a growing number of countries also setting net zero goals, the latest signatories to the Race to Zero programme mean that a sizeable chunk of global GDP is covered by sweeping decarbonisation goals in line with the targets set out in the Paris Agreement. (Business Green)


US alleges bribery scheme to boost Amazon marketplace sellers

US prosecutors have charged six people in connection with an alleged scheme to bribe Amazon employees and contractors in order to increase sales of third-party sellers on its marketplace, generating more than $100m in revenue over three years. The US Department of Justice on Friday said the six defendants indicted in Washington state had conspired to pay more than $100,000 in bribes to “at least” 10 Amazon workers, who would then reinstate merchant accounts that had sold banned substances, dangerous electronics or general counterfeit goods. Amazon has come in for widespread criticism over its increasingly unruly third-party marketplace platform, which makes up more than 60 per cent of its total retail sales. The indictments raise fresh questions about the potential for manipulation and exploitation of consumers who buy products on Amazon. Earlier this month the company deleted 20,000 customer reviews after the Financial Times found evidence of widespread fraud. (Financial Times)


World’s top companies urge action on nature loss ahead of UN talks

More than 560 companieswith combined revenues of $4 trillion, including Walmart, Citigroup and Microsoft, have signed up to a statement calling for action on nature loss over the next decade. The call comes as the United Nations prepares to host a biodiversity summit later this month, aiming to build momentum towards forging a new global pact to ward off threats to nature exemplified by recent fires in the Amazon and California. Business for Nature, the coalition which organised the statement, said it was the first time so many companies had issued a joint call emphasising the crucial role healthy ecosystems play in human well-being. Last year the IPBES international panel of scientists said a million species were at risk of extinction. About two-thirds of the world’s animals – mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles – have vanished over the last 50 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund. (Reuters)


New Zealand makes climate reporting compulsory

New Zealand has become the first country in the world to make climate risk reporting mandatory for banks, asset managers and insurers. Under newly announced legislation, large financial institutions would be required to report annually on governance, risk management and strategies for mitigating climate change impacts. The requirement will apply to around 200 institutions, including banks and institutional investors with more than $NZ1 billion ($920 million) in assets, and insurers with either $1 billion in assets or annual premium income of more than $NZ250 million. The new regime requires parliamentary approval and would not come into force until 2023. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made climate change one of her government’s policy priorities, last year passing the Zero Carbon Bill, which provides a legal framework to push the nation to its goal of net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. (Australian Financial Review)