Top Stories

August 08, 2022


US Senate passes landmark $430bn climate change, tax bill

The US Senate has approved a sweeping package that supporters say will slash climate heating carbon emissions, lower drug prices and increase higher taxes for corporates and the wealthy. The legislation is less ambitious than President Joe Biden’s original domestic goals, but still offers a major victory for the Democrats. The ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ (IRA) seeks to tackle global heating, slash prescription drug costs and tax big business – with almost $400 billion of the total funds earmarked for climate and energy measures. It would give the US the power to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. As the measure pays for itself and reduces the federal deficit over time, Democrats add that it will bring down inflation. (Sky News)


EU set to clamp down on human rights abuses in supply chains

The EU has developed a new proposal legislation on corporate accountability that will require large companies to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights and environmental violations throughout their value chain. Existing due diligence rules are enforced in only a few EU countries. However, the EU proposal would apply to all companies based or operating in the bloc with more than 500 employees and a net €150 million in annual turnover. Smaller companies in high-risk sectors, such as textiles, agriculture and mineral extraction, will also need to comply with the proposed human rights reporting requirements. The proposal will be negotiated by the EU Parliament, which will likely push to strengthen the requirements for companies and the scope of the regulation. (edie)


Warmer oceans could downsize sea life, impact carbon sequestration

Ocean warming may cause a reduction in the body sizes of marine species according to a new scientific model. Influenced by warming oceanic conditions, microbes and megafauna may not grow as large as they do now. According to the study, the shrinking effect could have wide repercussions including reduced food mass at the bottom of the food chain, affecting fisheries and leaving less food for people. It could also result in less carbon sequestered in the sea, potentially exacerbating climate change. Researchers used a mathematical model explaining size reductions as a response to lower levels of oxygen in the ocean. Coupled with rising temperatures, forecasts showed that zooplankton and other microscopic species could be up to 30% smaller. Researchers added that evidence from fossil records supported the model’s predictions, with previous extinction events showing patterns of species downsizing. (Eco-Business)


City workers get double-digit wage rises against 1% for lowest-paid

In the last year, City workers received double-digit wage rises while people on the lowest incomes were paid annual increases of just 1%, according to a study. Business management consultancy the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said lawyers, accountants, and professional services staff as well as workers in the banking and insurance sector mainly working in London’s financial district had secured “inflation-busting” increases last year. Its research shows that the highest earners enjoyed annual pay growth of 10%, while the lowest percentile of earners saw their pay rise by just 1%. The findings found that the lowest 10% of workers were falling well behind the general inflation rate of 9.4%. The CEBR found that City banking staff were paid salary and bonus increases totalling almost 20% compared with the previous year. (The Guardian)


Royal Mail orders another 2,000 electric vehicles with 5,500 target

Postal service company Royal Mail has celebrated the deployment of its 3,000th electric van and confirmed an order for 2,000 more electric vehicles (EVs). In 2021, the company announced an ambition to add 3,000 more EVs to its fleet as soon as possible, up from around 300 EVs it was operating at the time. The firm has posted strong progress with a new target to reach 5,500 EVs in its fleet by spring 2023. The additional order for 2,000 vans is from automaker Peugeot. Royal Mail is also exploring alternative fuels. In May 2021, it added 29 40-tonne biogas-powered trucks to its fleet. The firm is aiming to convert its road fleets entirely to EVs and alternative fuels, phasing out petrol and diesel entirely, but has not set a target date. (edie)








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