Top Stories

July 01, 2022


US Supreme Court deals major blow to federal climate action

The US Supreme Court has ruled the federal government and its agencies do not have the authority to regulate carbon emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, in a landmark opinion that experts warn could have major ramifications for government-led climate action. In a 6-3 ruling, the constitutional court's conservative majority sided with fossil fuel firms and the Republican-leaning state of West Virginia. The case concerned the President Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have instructed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose CO2 limits on power stations by exercising federal regulatory powers under the existing Clean Air Act. The decision spells major implications for climate policy in the US, with experts warning that it could curb the powers of the federal government to regulate carbon emissions. (Business Green)*


Tesla sued for alleged racial abuse against its Black workers

Fifteen Black former or current employees at Tesla have filed a lawsuit against the electric car maker, alleging they were subjected to racial abuse and harassment at its factories. The workers said they were subjected to offensive racist comments and behaviours by colleagues, managers, and human resources employees on a regular basis, according to the lawsuit filed in a California state court. Prosecutors allege harassment included assigning Black employees to the most physically demanding posts or passing them over for promotion, as well as use of the terms the ‘N-word’,  "slavery" or "plantation" as well as sexual comments. The plaintiffs allege the automaker's "standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination". The automaker is facing at least 10 lawsuits alleging widespread race discrimination or sexual harassment. (Reuters)


Halifax says pronoun badge critics can close bank accounts

A row has broken out on social media platform Twitter over high street bank Halifax’s decision to add pronouns to employee name badges, with the bank saying customers who object to its stance can close their accounts. The row was triggered by a Twitter post from Halifax saying, "Pronouns matter" with a picture of a name badge saying "Gemma (she/her/hers)". Staff at the bank can choose to wear a name badge displaying preferred personal pronouns if they wish. Some Twitter users responded saying the post was "woke virtue signalling" and others said they would close their bank accounts. Halifax responded to critics, saying: "We strive for inclusion, equality and quite simply, in doing what's right. If you disagree with our values, you're welcome to close your account." (BBC News)


Ben & Jerry's criticises restart of sales in Israeli settlements

Ben & Jerry's has said it does "not agree" with a deal by its parent company Unilever that allows its ice cream to continue being sold in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The firm believes it is "inconsistent with Ben & Jerry's values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory". Unilever's decision came after legal action from its Israeli licensee American Quality Products (AQP) as well as shareholder pressure from investors and US politicians. At least 35 US states have anti-boycott divestment and sanctions legislation. Ben & Jerry's ice cream will be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names throughout Israel and the West Bank. Vacation rental company Airbnb is amongst the other companies which have reversed their policies over Israeli settlements after facing lawsuits in the US. (BBC News)


UK government to scrap EU law protecting special habitats

UK Environment secretary George Eustice is to potentially scrap the Habitats Directive, a piece of European law that environmentalists say protects habitats in the UK. The directive, in place since 1992, supports a network of areas – known as Natura 2000 sites – where special habitats are protected. There are over 320 Natura 2000 sites in England, and nearly 900 in the UK. Natura 2000 sites offer more protection than domestic designations, sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs). The European regulations have been used in numerous cases to provide more protection for habitats and species. Eustice argues the directive is bureaucratic and “fundamentally flawed”, including it in a list of laws he wants to amend in the forthcoming Brexit freedoms bill. (The Guardian)

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