Top Stories

February 17, 2022


Google moves to make Android apps more user private

Multinational technology company Google’s plan to limit data tracking on its Chrome browser has been extended to cover apps on its Android-based smartphones. Its so-called ‘Privacy Sandbox’ project aims to curb the amount of user data that advertisers can gather. Since April 2021 its rival, consumer electronics company Apple, has forced app developers to ask permissions from users before tracking them, with data published by the company suggesting that US users are choosing to opt out of tracking 96% of the time. The news will be a blow to firms like Facebook’s parent company Meta, which rely on putting their code on apps to track consumer behaviour. Meta said this month that Apple’s changes would cost it $10 billion in 2022. (BBC News)


Standard Chartered criticised for financing Thai gas plant

UK financial services company Standard Chartered has come under fire for undermining its own climate commitment by vying for a deal to finance a new gas-fired power plant in Thailand. Standard Chartered, which specialises in emerging markets, is in line to fund a $700 million 1.4-gigawatt gas-fired power plant in Ratchaburi, a province west of Bangkok. Critics argue that the deal clashes with the firm’s October 2021 commitment to align with the Paris Agreement and achieve net-zero emissions from its financed activity by 2050. Standard Chartered’s climate policy targets a 30% reduction in the emissions intensity of oil and gas projects by 2050, with a caveat outlining that “progress won’t be linear” and the production of natural gas may rise before it falls “as it replaces more carbon-intensive alternatives”. (Eco-Business)


World spends $1.8tn on environmentally harmful grants

The world is spending at least $1.8 trillion annually on subsidies driving the annihilation of wildlife and a rise in global heating, according to new research by environmental transparency organisation Earth Track. The research finds global government support, equivalent to 2% of global GDP, is directly working against the goals of the Paris Agreement with state money subsidising water pollution, land subsidence and deforestation. Researchers found that the fossil fuel industry receives $620 billion in subsidies, with the agricultural sector earning $520 billion, water $320 billion, and forestry $155 billion. However, researchers argue the lack of transparency between governments means the true figure is likely to be higher. The report states that a significant portion of the $1.8 trillion could be repurposed to support policies that are beneficial for nature. (The Guardian)


UK Climate committee to increase private sector focus

The UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) has outlined its programme of work for 2022, promising a focus on “delivery and implementation” and the provision of additional guidance on business action, investment and finance. The CCC chief claims that the committee will turn its attention to “private sector delivery” with plans to add additional insights in its annual progress reports for the private sector from 2022. The CCC has pledged to work with businesses to garner what support they would like to see from the government, and to draw up new recommendations on the development of credible corporate climate commitments. The CCC will also draw up insights on corporate commitments for investors and the wider sector as well as end-user businesses. (edie)


IPCC to include impact of climate crisis on mental health

The United NationsIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) upcoming update report, due at the end of February, will explain how climate change is already affecting humans and the planet, and what to expect for the future, including considerations of how the climate crisis has an impact on people’s mental health. Senior officials, including the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation, argue that the IPCC report must carefully “communicate the results of our science” due to concerns around causing “too much fear among the young people” and the impact wording of a climate apocalypse could have on people’s mental well-being. The report will also address ways to adapt to an ever-warming world, including how some technological fixes may have unwanted side effects. (The Independent)



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