Top Stories

January 13, 2022


YouTube labelled a 'major conduit of online disinformation'

Some 80 global fact-checking organisations – including the Washington Post’s fact-checking team and Full Fact, have signed an openletter to video sharing giant YouTube stressing that the platform is not doing enough to prevent the spread of misinformation. The letter labels the platform a “major conduit of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide”, and urges YouTube to take firmer action against anti-vaccine videos and election disinformation. The letter calls for: a commitment to meaningful transparency about disinformation on the platform, more context and debunks rather than deleting videos, action against repeat offenders, and increased efforts to tackle disinformation beyond the English language. YouTube has claimed it is already investing in ways to promote more authoritative content and strengthen fact-checking. Last year, YouTube announced it would remove all anti-vaccine misinformation from its platform. (BBC News)


Two-thirds of finance giants continue to fund deforestation

New analysis published by non-profit environmental services company Global Canopy has shown that of 150 of the world’s largest financial firms, 93 do not have policies to prevent deforestation caused by the companies they invest in and lend to. According to the Forest 500 Annual Report, 93 firms collectively provided more than $2.6 trillion of investment in, and lending to, the 350 corporates that are the most exposed in the world to deforestation risks. Global Canopy has warned that, without change, corporates risk undermining a global commitment to end and reverse global deforestation by 2030. Banks and investors named in the report include the world’s three biggest asset managers, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, alongside banking giants such as Santander, ScotiaBank, and Wells Fargo. (edie)


Negative perception of oil firms increases despite green moves

Multinational banking giant Barclays has conducted a survey which found that over 60% of adults in the UK and US had a negative perception of the oil industry, an increase of 5% on two years ago, despite the launch of net-zero strategies and record investment in low-carbon businesses by oil firms. Barclays’ analysts state the results suggest that green messaging is not cutting through to the public despite oil and gas companies being some of the largest investors in renewable energy, with survey respondents saying that oil and gas shares would be more attractive if the companies invested more heavily into renewables and reduced their environmental impact. Perception was most negative in the UK, particularly among 18 to 24-year-olds, with 72% of UK respondents now viewing the industry negatively. (The Times)*


UK government sued over unrealistic climate strategy

The UK government is being sued over its net-zero climate strategy by environmental NGOs ClientEarth (CE) and, separately, by Friends of the Earth (FoE). Lawyers  for both CE and FoE argue that the government has illegally failed to include the policies needed to deliver its promised cuts in emissions “as soon as reasonably practicable” as instructed under the Climate Change Act. CE also claims the failure to meet legal carbon budgets would contravene the Human Rights Act by impacting on young people’s right to life and family life. Lawyers also argue that the government’s strategy to reduce emissions relies too heavily on speculative technologies such as zero-carbon aviation fuels and carbon capture, and as such “amounts to greenwashing and climate delay”. (The Guardian)


Calls grow for carbon tax at UK border to prevent undercutting

An influential right-wing think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), has backed calls for a carbon border tax to prevent UK manufacturers that invest in decarbonisation being undercut by cheap imports. The tax would be levied on goods imported from countries with lower environmental standards to account for the extra costs they would have faced if they were subject to the UK’s stricter climate policies. The CPS says that the tax on energy-intensive imports would support the government’s net-zero and levelling-up agendas by encouraging a level playing field for carbon-intensive industries in the UK. The think-tank highlights a common critique that the UK’s ambitious emissions targets create an imbalance between domestic businesses and foreign competitors, which it believes a carbon border tax could “provide a level of insurance against”. (The Times)*

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