Top Stories

April 14, 2022


Report: hydrogen leaks twice as bad for climate as previously believed

A report published by the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has found that leaked hydrogen fuel is 11 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in causing global warming. This figure is more than twice that given in previous estimates, which do not fully account for how the gas interacts with other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The warning comes amid high interest in commercialising hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in power plants, transport and industrial systems. Hydrogen produced with renewables is seen as a low-carbon fuel. The report states that minimising “leaks needs to be a priority if hydrogen is adopted as a major energy source”. In a similar report, the government found that the biggest sources of leaks were in producing and transporting hydrogen fuel. (Eco-Business)


Canadian banks double financing of highly polluting tar to $16.8 billion

Canada’s top banks more than doubled their financing of highly polluting tar sands oil to $16.8 billion in 2021. This is despite pledges to the UN’s net zero banking alliance on greenhouse gas emissions. Lenders including Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce increased their financing to the top 30 tar sands producers and six tar sands pipeline companies by almost $9 billion in 2021. All scoped banks, including Scotiabank and Bank of Montreal, committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 across their operations and portfolios when they joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance. Five of the six largest global financiers of tar sands since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016 have also been Canadian banks. (Financial Times)*


Investigation: wealthiest Americans pay just 3.4% of income in taxes

Tax records from 2014 to 2018 analysed by investigative NGO ProPublica reveal that the wealthiest Americans collectively earned $401 billion, and paid just $13.6 billion - 3.4% - in taxes. The investigation examined the tax filings of the wealthiest 400 Americans, all of whom earn more than $110 million annually. It found that the wealthy benefit from lower tax rates on financial assets and deductions from charitable contributions to keep their taxes low. Alongside deductions, wealthier Americans accumulate capital through investments, as opposed to salary which is subject to lower tax burdens. The long-term capital gains rate has been 20% since 2013. Billionaires in tech pay the lowest tax rate, an average of 17% of their income, compared to the average single worker paying 21% on a salary of $45,000. (The Guardian)


Australia's Rio Tinto exits industry association amid climate lobbying rift

Mining conglomerate Rio Tinto has confirmed its exit from the state mining lobby group after raising concerns that its policy on expansion of coal mines failed to align with the Paris Agreement. “After careful consideration, Rio Tinto will not renew its membership with the Queensland Resources Council for the 2022-2023 financial year” the company said in a statement. The global miner’s exit comes after multinational mining company BHP suspended its membership in 2020 with the lobby group, which had at the time campaigned against the Greens political party ahead of an election in coal-rich Queensland state. Investor advisory firm Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility had filed in February a shareholder resolution to Rio Tinto to suspend its membership with the resource council. (Reuters)


IMF board approves new trust to help states deal with climate change

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved the creation of a new facility to help low-income and most middle-income countries deal with longer-term challenges such as climate change and pandemics. Called the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST), the trust will amplify the impact of 2021’s $650 billion allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights by allowing richer members to channel their emergency reserves to allow vulnerable countries to address longer-term challenges. An IMF staff paper prepared for the board stated nearly three-quarters of the IMF’s 190 members would be eligible to borrow from the RST. To qualify for lending, countries would be expected to develop “credible policy and reform measures”, have sustainable debt and adequate capacity to repay the IMF. (Reuters)

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