Top Stories

October 22, 2021


Few countries prepared to tackle worsening climate-related health risks

The 2021 Lancet Countdown report has warned the impacts of climate change pose increasing health risks and are exacerbating existing health and social inequalities. The report tracks 44 health indicators that are linked to climate change across 84 countries that are responsible for around 92% of global CO2 emissions. It reveals climate change is increasing the chances of infectious disease, extreme weather impacts, and food insecurity. As such, outbreaks of dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika are more likely to occur in high human development index countries, while malaria is increasing in countries with a low human development index. The report also warns coasts around northern Europe and the US are becoming more conducive to bacteria that produce gastroenteritis, wound infections, and sepsis. (Business Green)


British supermarkets and Young’s Seafood call for action on overfishing

The UK’s largest seafood processor Young’s Seafood has joined Tesco, Co-op, Princes, Aldi, Asda, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and other retailers and suppliers in calling for urgent action from ministers to manage populations of mackerel, herring and blue whiting more sustainably. For over a decade, states fishing in the north-east Atlantic have been unable to agree quotas in line with sustainable limits set by scientists. Catches having exceeded sustainable limits by 4.8 million tonnes since 2015, leading to a decline of all three populations and loss of the fisheries’ sustainable certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. Young’s has written to mackerel-fishing countries, which are meeting this week to agree shared stock management for the three species, urging them to follow scientific advice, adopting long-term management plans and employing dispute-resolution mechanisms. (The Guardian)


New Zealand passes climate disclosure laws for financial firms in world first

New Zealand has become the first country to pass laws requiring banks, insurers and investment managers to report the impacts of climate change on their business. Reporting standards will be based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and the disclosures will become mandatory for financial years beginning in 2023. About 200 of the largest financial firms in New Zealand, including banks with total assets of more than NZ$1 billion ($718.90 million), large insurers and equity and debt issuers listed on the country's stock exchange will have to make disclosures. Several foreign firms that meet the NZ$1 billion threshold –  including Australia's four largest banks: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Westpac Corp and National Australia Bank – will also come under the legislation. (Reuters)


Bupa and BBC target net-zero emissions by 2040 and 2030 respectively

Private healthcare company Bupa has unveiled new commitments that are aligned to climate science that will help the company reach net-zero emissions by 2040 at the latest. The company will strive to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 46.2% by 2030 against a 2019 baseline and reducing Scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services, insurance underwriting, business travel, downstream transportation and distribution by 63% by 2034. In related news, broadcaster the BBC has announced plans to cut direct emissions by 46% and indirect emissions by 28% by 2030, before offsetting emissions to reach net-zero against a 2020 baseline. In addition, by 2030 Scope 3 emissions will be reduced by 28%. The targets have been approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). (Edie 1; Edie 2)


Protesters and Netflix workers stage walk-out over anti-trans comments

About 100 people have joined in protest near the headquarters of streaming giant Netflix over its decision to release a new “special” by comedian Dave Chappelle's, which they say ridicules transgender people. Netflix staff members, transgender rights advocates and public officials gathered on outside a Netflix office blocks away from the company's main building in Los Angeles. While such demonstrations have become commonplace in Silicon Valley, where employees of Facebook and Google have engaged in open protest to draw attention to corporate policies, this is believed to be a first for the pioneer streaming video company. Netflix’s Chief Content Officer acknowledged in interviews before the walkout, "I screwed up", after previously defending the decision to air the show, saying Chappelle's language did not cross the line into inciting violence. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)


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