Top Stories

February 14, 2022


Big banks fund fossil fuels despite net-zero pledge

A report published by sustainable investor group ShareAction has found that 25 banks which signed up to the UN’s Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) in 2021 have provided $33 billion in loans and other financing to 50 companies with large oil and gas expansion plans. HSBC, Barclays, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank – which all signed up to the NZBA – have contributed more than half, $19 billion, of the financing. Benefactor companies include ExxonMobil, Aramco, Shell and BP. A spokesperson for the NZBA secretariat said that members who joined the alliance were due to set their first 2030 carbon reduction targets in the autumn of 2022, to focus on the biggest polluters including oil and gas companies. (The Guardian)


Coca-Cola to increase the use of reusable bottles

Multinational beverage corporation Coca-Cola has announced plans to increase the share of beverages that come in returnable or refillable containers from 16% to 25% by 2030. The company made the pledge in response to a pending shareholder proposal, asking the company to set stronger refillable goals. Around 50% of the company’s packaging consists of single-use PET bottles which generates an estimated three million tonnes of plastic waste annually. Recent analysis from conservation NGO Oceana found that boosting refillable bottles by 10% across all coastal countries could reduce marine plastic pollution by 22%. Refillable containers, which can be reused between 20-40 times, have an average 90% collection rate. Coca-Cola has also set a broader target to collect a bottle or can, regardless of brand, for each one it produces by 2025. (edie)


Renewables to provide grid stability services in UK

UK utility contractor National Grid ESO has announced that it will be able to procure grid stability services from renewable generators for the first time, following modifications to the GB Grid Code. The Grid Code reforms will enable renewable generators across the UK and interconnectors to compete to provide stability services which ensure voltages do not fluctuate. This means that wind, solar, and marine energy generators will be able to bid to offer the kind of stability services typically provided by fossil fuel power plants. Renewable energy generators were previously locked out of stability services due to concerns around intermittent electricity generation. But renewables operators have long argued that new technologies mean the power they generate is more predictable, reliable and responsive. (Business Green)*


UK university pension fund tracks emissions goals

The UK universities’ pension scheme Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has set new interim targets for reductions in carbon pollution to spur progress towards achieving a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its portfolio by 2050. The USS is the UK’s largest private pension fund by assets, managing £82 billion within its portfolio, and plans to measure the carbon intensity of its portfolio relative to a 2019 benchmark to assess net-zero progress. However, it will not target reductions in absolute emissions as its future assets are expected to grow. Managed by law firm Legal & General, the portfolio will overweight companies that can demonstrate they are on a path to reducing GHG emissions while eliminating companies that do not meet the UN’s SDGs. (Financial Times)*


Green fuels to replace diesel use in Indian farms

The Indian government has announced plans to reach zero diesel use in agriculture industry by 2024. India’s agricultural sector is the second-largest consumer of diesel as farmers use the fuel to pump water, run harvesters and threshers, and transport harvests. India is aiming to set up plants having a capacity to produce 500 gigawatts of power from non-fossil sources by 2030 and is laying dedicated lines to distribute electricity from renewable plants. Diesel currently makes up around 40% of India’s petroleum sales, and the government hopes that a reduction in its consumption will help the country shift away from its dependence on imports, which account for 85% of its needs as the third-largest crude oil buyer. (Bloomberg)*

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