Top Stories

June 29, 2021


US House to reinstate Obama methane rule for oil & gas wells

The US House of Representatives has voted to rescind a Trump-era rule blocking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from directly limiting oil industry emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Trump’s methane rule, backed by Royal Dutch Shell, Equinor, Cheniere Energy and Pioneer Natural Resources, ended the EPA’s methane-specific emission limits at new oil and gas wells, while removing additional curbs on leaks of smog-causing volatile organic compounds from gas transmission and storage equipment. The House vote to repeal that rule effectively reinstates prior standards imposed by the Obama administration, including mandates for periodic monitoring of some wells and leak inspections and repairs of transmission and storage equipment. Its also sets the stage for the EPA to strengthen the standards, while imposing similar requirements on nearly one million existing wells. (Bloomberg*)


New Zealand to ban most single-use plastics by 2022 to 2025

Currently one of the top 10 per-capita producers of landfill waste in the world, New Zealand has announced it will ban a swathe of single-use plastics, including cotton buds, bags, cutlery, plates and bowls, straws and fruit labels. The bans, which will be phased in between 2022 and 2025, are estimated to remove more than 2 billion single-use plastic items from the country’s landfills and environment each year. New Zealand had already banned most single-use plastic bags in 2019, but the changes will include packaging for produce, as well as a range of other items. These steps follow similar bans overseas: outlawing plastic bags is now common around the world, and the UK introduced a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in 2020. (The Guardian)


Global beef sector sets biodiversity & climate commitments

A coalition of global beef producers, including JBS, Rabobank and Cargill, have unveiled a sustainability roadmap aimed at reducing the sector's contribution to climate change, and improving biodiversity and animal welfare. The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which covers all areas of the beef value chain, has set a target to reduce the ‘net global warming impact’ of each unit of beef produced by 30% by 2030. This target is a step towards an overall goal of climate neutrality, which does  not yet have an agreed timeframe. For land use, roundtable members have committed to ensuring the value chain is a net-positive contributor to nature, by sourcing and developing new practices that will sustain and restore grazing lands, conserve forests and grasslands and increase biodiversity across the value chain. (Edie)


Southeast Asia missing from pledge to protect 30% of planet

Leaders of the G7 nations backed a coalition of about 60 countries that have promised to conserve at least 30% of their land and oceans by 2030 – dubbed 30x30 – to curb climate change and the loss of plant and animal species. Cambodia is the only Southeast Asian nation to have signed up to the goal so far, although it has been endorsed by countries in other parts of Asia-Pacific, including Japan, Pakistan and the Maldives. The growing global push to safeguard nature may fall short unless further biodiversity-rich Southeast Asian nations get behind the ambitious proposal. Southeast Asia’s land and ocean contain 35% of mangrove forests and 30% of coral reefs, and is home to about 18% of the world’s endangered species, according to US-based think tank Campaign for Nature. (Eco-Business)


Miami condo collapse highlights damage by climate change

The collapse of a 12-storey building in Miami has raised questions about whether the severe vulnerability of south Florida to rising sea-level caused by climate warming may lead to the destabilization of further buildings in the future. Experts say that while the role of rising sea-level in this collapse is still unclear, the integrity of buildings will be threatened by the advance of salty water, which can corrode the concrete and steel of the foundations, especially as older buildings were not made with materials to withstand significant saltwater intrusion. The disaster has highlighted the precarious situation of building and maintaining high-rise apartments in an area under increasing pressure from sea-level rise, with most of south Florida situated just a few feet above sea level on porous limestone foundations.  (The Guardian)

*Subscription required


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America