Top Stories

November 27, 2020


Illegal tampering by diesel pickup owners is worsening pollution, EPA says

The owners and operators of more than half a million diesel pickup trucks in the US have been illegally disabling their vehicles’ emissions control technology over the past decade, allowing excess emissions equivalent to 9 million extra trucks on the road, a new federal report has concluded. The practice, described in the report by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Enforcement, finds that “diesel tuners” allow the trucks to release more than 570,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant linked to heart and lung disease and premature death, over the lifetime of the vehicles. It also found that the altered pickup trucks emit about 5,000 excess tons of industrial soot, also known as particulate matter, which is linked to respiratory diseases. (NY Times) 

Human Rights 

WWF vows to ‘do more’ after human rights abuse reports

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has vowed to “do more” after an internal investigation prompted by human rights abuse reports. The probe comes after a series of articles published last year by BuzzFeed News accusing the WWF of funding and working with anti-poaching guards who allegedly tortured and killed people in national parks in Asia and Africa. A supporting 160-page report acknowledged that the charity “should have been more transparent” and needed to “more firmly engage governments to uphold human rights”. But some accused the WWF of a “lack of contrition” after the report’s publication and have demanded apologies and a change in how the charity is run. (BBC) 


Yanis Varoufakis calls for Black Friday boycott of Amazon

The economist Yanis Varoufakis has called for a one-day boycott of Amazon on Black Friday as trade unionists, environmental activists, privacy campaigners and tax justice advocates plan coordinated actions against the company’s sites and supply chain. In an online video, Varoufakis asks viewers “not even to visit” Amazon’s website on Black Friday – the retail industry’s most profitable day of the year. Under a banner of “make Amazon pay”, a campaign co-convened by Progressive International, Friday’s actions are intended as the start of a campaign against the retailer’s record on workers’ rights, environmental impact, tax avoidance, work with police and immigration authorities, and what activists say are invasions of privacy via its growing range of internet-connected devices. (The Guardian) 

Climate Change 

Food giants are greenwashing and not addressing their climate impact, according to CDP

While many major food brands are launching “green” or plant-based products, less than two in ten are measuring and disclosing emissions from their supply chains, which are likely to be the most-emitting parts of their business, according to a report from environmental disclosure non-profit CDP. While seven in ten businesses which CDP asked for data provided disclosure in some form, just 16 percent provided information on the indirect (Scope 3) emissions in their supply chains. CDP estimates that Scope 3 sources account for 90 percent of the emissions from the agri-food sector, which scientists have repeatedly linked to climate change and biodiversity loss. CDP is calling for collaboration on increasing agricultural productivity; protecting farmers; restoring nature; adopting nature-based solution and reducing food loss and waste. (edie) 

Climate Change 

Rein in advertising to help tackle climate crisis, report urges

Advertising needs to be controlled and changed to reduce its impact on the climate, according to a report released as consumers prepare to spend billions on Black Friday. The report by the New Weather Institute thinktank and the charity We are Possible examines how advertising indirectly contributes to climate change and the ecological emergency. Researchers say the promotion of consumerism, materialism and a work-and-spend cycle, and the industry’s role in pushing sales of beef, tobacco, high-polluting SUVs and flights, are all part of that indirect role. The report called out evidence to show that in order to make progress in addressing and reversing climate and ecological degradation, it would be prudent to rein in and change the practices of the advertising industry. (The Guardian)