Top Stories

April 13, 2022


Tech giants launch $925m fund to upscale carbon removal technologies

A coalition of the world’s largest tech firms have teamed up to launch a pioneering multi-billion-dollar fund aimed at bringing carbon removal start-ups to scale. The Frontier Fund, launched by financial services company Stripe, Google owner Alphabet, Shopify, McKinsey, and Facebook owner Meta, is aiming to invest $925 million over the coming nine years in companies focused on upscaling carbon sequestration technologies. The fund’s advance market commitment mechanism will enable companies to enter into offtake agreements with carbon removal suppliers for future tonnes of high-quality carbon removals. Firms will be assessed on their negative emissions offering, with the fund negotiating a price per tonne captured with successful companies and conclude with a commitment to invest in the delivery of those tonnes as offsets. (Business Green)*


Chile announces plan to ration water following 13th year drought

As a record-breaking drought enters its 13th year, Chile has announced an unprecedented plan to ration water for the capital of Santiago, a city of nearly 6 million. The plan features a four-tier alert system from green to red and starts with public service announcements, moves to restricting water pressure and ends with rotating water cuts of up to 24 hours for about 1.7 million customers. The alert system is based on the capacity of the Maipo and Mapocho rivers, which supply the capital with most of its water and have seen dwindling water levels as the drought drags on. The government estimates that the country’s water availability has dropped 10% to 37% over the last 30 years and could drop another 50% in northern and central Chile by 2060. (The Guardian)


Sunscreen chemicals accumulating in Mediterranean seagrass

Chemicals found in sunscreen lotions are accumulating in Mediterranean seagrass according to a study. Scientists discovered ultraviolet filters in the stems of Posidonia oceanica, a seagrass species found on the coast of Mallorca and endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. The researchers believe the contamination is the result of recreational activities and waste discharge. Samples found varying concentrations of sunscreen components. Researchers are concerned about potential harmful effects of such chemicals. “If we find that sunscreens affect the photosynthesis and productivity of seagrasses beyond accumulation, we will have a problem since these seagrasses play important ecological roles in the Mediterranean,” said co-author Professor Nona Agawin. Previous research found that certain UV-filtering sunscreen chemicals can have damaging effects on fish, turtles and dolphins, including disrupting their reproductive systems and harming their development. (The Guardian)


Climate crisis fuelled Africa’s back-to-back deadly cyclones in 2022

A study has found that recent extreme rainfall in southeast Africa earlier in 2022 was more intense and damaging due to the climate crisis. Scientists, part of the weather analysis World Weather Attribution initiative found that climate change made destructive showers more likely during back-to-back storms in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique at the beginning of the year. Between January and March, southeast Africa was hit by three tropical cyclones and two tropical storms in six weeks. More than a million people were affected by extreme rainfall and severe flooding, with some 230 recorded deaths. The study found that the rainfall in the scoped regions was made more intense by climate change and that episodes of extreme rainfall such as these have become more frequent as a result. (The Independent)


Consumer price index shows 8.5% increase in March, highest since 1981

Consumer prices for everyday items surged in March 2022 to their highest levels since 1981, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Published by the US Labor Department, the index saw an 8.5% increase from a year ago on an unadjusted basis, above the already elevated Dow Jones estimate for 8.4%. Excluding food and energy, so-called core CPI increased 6.5% on a 12-month basis, in line with expectations. Wages, despite rising 5.6% a year prior, have failed to keep up with the cost of living with real average hourly earnings posting a 0.8% decline for the month. Despite this, core inflation showed signs of slowing, rising by just 0.3% in March, suggesting that overall inflation was reaching its peak. Markets reacted positively as stocks rose and government bond yields declined. (CNBC)

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