Top Stories

November 12, 2021


Updated COP26 draft plan waters down language on fossil fuels and NDCs

With negotiations scheduled to finish today at COP26, a new draft plan has been unveiled with criticisms of “watering down” the language published in the first version of the document. In the updated version of the COP decision draft, language on submitting new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by November 2022 has been changed from “urges” to “requests”, which the UN argues is a weaker choice of words. Additionally, while the first version of the draft called upon nations “to accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”, the updated version only calls for the phase-out of “unabated” coal power and “inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”. It comes after nations such as Saudi Arabia lobbied for the reference of fossil fuels to be removed from the documents altogether. (edie)


UKGBC unveils tool for businesses to reduce building lifecycle carbon

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has unveiled its Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, a tool to help businesses across the built environment sector measure and cut carbon from materials, processes, operation and demolition. The tool provides details for measuring, reporting and reducing embodied carbon, which the roadmap states account for one-quarter of the built environment sector’s emissions. The roadmap plots a pathway to net-zero by 2050 for the UK’s entire built environment sector, predicting a sharp decrease in operational and embodied carbon through to 2035 and a more gradual decrease between 2035 and 2050. By mid-century, the roadmap sees the sector generate less than 20 Mt of CO2e, down from almost 180 Mt of CO2e in 2018. The UKGBC states these residual emissions could be addressed using insetting or offsetting. (edie)


Governments form coalition to phase out oil and gas production

Wales, France, Ireland, Denmark, Costa Rica, Quebec, Sweden, and Greenland are among a group of national and subnational governments to launch a world-first alliance to end oil and gas exploration and extraction. Core members of the ‘Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance’ group are committed to ending all new concessions, licensing, and leasing rounds and have also pledged to set a Paris-aligned date for ending oil and gas production and exploration. California and New Zealand are also joining the initiative as associate members, committing to taking “significant concrete steps that contribute to the reduction of oil and gas production", for instance through subsidy reform or ending international public financial support for oil and gas exploration and production abroad. (Business Green)


HelloFresh employees aim to unionise amid poor working conditions

Workers at HelloFresh, the largest meal-kit delivery service in the world, say they are facing an aggressive anti-union campaign led by the company after they tried to organise amid claims of safety issues and poor treatment of workers. At its California facility, the union Unite Here Local 2850 has filed several unfair labour practice charges against HelloFresh, alleging the company has retaliated, intimidated, and bullied union supporting workers over the last several months. The union campaign was allegedly started in response to safety issues, treatment of workers by management, and working conditions. Workers at HelloFresh also said they were consistently forced into meetings during work hours with paid union avoidance consultants who would try to dissuade workers from voting in favour of the union. (The Guardian)


Working from home may hurt women’s careers, says Bank of England’s Mann

Bank of England policymaker Catherine Mann has said women who work mostly from home may risk seeing their careers suffer now that significant numbers of workers are returning to the office. Difficulty accessing childcare and COVID-related disruption to schooling meant many women were continuing to work from home, while men returned to the office. Mann notes that online communication has struggled to replicate the spontaneous office conversations, which were important for recognition and advancement in many workplaces. In related news, as part of its bid to close the gender pay gap, the Finnish government is planning a new law allowing workers to check what their colleagues are earning if they suspect they are being discriminated against. The bill is to be passed in parliament before elections in April 2023.  (Reuters 1; Reuters 2)



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