Top Stories

March 01, 2022


Half of global population 'highly vulnerable' to climate crisis, warns IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its Sixth Assessment Report on the likely future impacts of the climate crisis, providing starker warnings than ever before on risks to the economy, nature, and health. The report warns that historic failures to cut emissions and slow progress on adaptation efforts have left over 3.3 billion people – half the world’s population – “highly vulnerable” to the impacts of the climate crisis. It predicts that the world is likely to exceed 1.5°C of warming in the “near-term” on the current trajectory, and that the temperature rises can only be reduced in the future if “transformational” action is taken. The report warns that even a temporary breach of 1.5°C would be fatal for millions and wipe billions off the global economy due to extreme weather events. According to the IPCC, in a heated world, long-term trends will include: greater levels of migration, a widespread mental health crisis, increased transmission risks for food-borne and water-borne disease, water scarcity and irreversible biodiversity loss. (edie)


Number of Western companies pulling out of Russia is accelerating

More Western companies are expected to pull out of Russia, deepening the country’s isolation as its invasion of Ukraine sparks an exodus of Western companies. Following the lead of energy giants BP and Shell abandoning Russian assets, shipping giant Maersk will temporarily halt all container shipping to and from Russia. Financial services companies Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their payment network. Norway’s government has also announced its $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund – the largest in the world – will divest from Russia. Investment banking company JP Morgan is also set to remove Russia from ESG versions of its emerging market bond indexes, as it continues to review the impact of existing Russian sanctions on its main emerging market bond indexes. (ReutersA; ReutersB)


'Unverified' social media accounts could be filtered out under new UK bill

As part of the UK government’s proposed online safety bill, social media networks may be expected to allow users to hide posts and messages from unverified accounts. Social networks will be able to create their own verification processes, which could include submitting government ID or linking to a registered phone number. The government states the plan is to reduce anonymous trolling. While the law would not remove unverified accounts, it would give users the option to “opt out” of seeing posts from unverified accounts. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport acknowledged that people use anonymous accounts for valid reasons, such as whistleblowing, exploring their sexuality or sharing their experience in an authoritarian regime. However, it said that users should be given tools to “control who can interact with them”. (BBC News)


Plastic packaging boosts fresh food waste and doesn’t impact shelf-life

An 18-month study by waste and circular economy charity Wrap has found that fresh produce sold in plastic packaging does not make fruit and vegetables last longer and instead contributes to pollution and food waste. The study, which examined the sales of apples, bananas, broccoli, cucumbers and potatoes, debunks the idea that single-use plastic wrappers help prevent food waste. Instead, Wrap found that this packaging often forces people to buy more produce than they need, increasing food waste. Researchers found that plastic packaging made little or no difference to vegetable and fruit shelf-life. The study calculated that if these five products were sold loose, and the best-before dates removed, it could save more than 10,300 tonnes of plastic and prevent 100,000 tonnes of food waste annually. (The Guardian)


Germany aims to get 100% of energy from renewable sources by 2035

Germany plans to rapidly accelerate the expansion of wind and solar power, bringing forward a target to generate almost all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 15 years to 2035. The Economy Ministry has proposed new legislation which aims to almost triple the annual additions from onshore wind and solar facilities, under which offshore wind capacity is expected to more than double. The measures will also help Germany to diversify its energy sources away from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Germany currently relies on Russia for more than half its natural gas, and a decision to phase out nuclear power leaves it vulnerable to disruption. However, to bridge the gap until there’s sufficient renewable power capacity, Germany is considering prolonging the use of coal beyond 2030. (Bloomberg)*

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