Top Stories

August 15, 2022


UN member states meet in New York to build high seas treaty

UN member states will gather in New York from today to establish a treaty that, if agreed, will provide governance for the planet’s unregulated high seas. Two hundred nautical miles beyond jurisdiction, the high seas have been subject to environmental degradation, according to environmental groups. The high seas, which lie beyond exclusive economic zones of nations, make up two-thirds of the ocean, and play a vital role in supporting habitats and fisheries. Yet, just 1% of the high seas are currently protected. Fifty nations pledged to protect 30% of the planet’s land and seas by 2030, but without a treaty, these pledges have no legal basis in the high seas. Talks in New York represent the second attempt in 2022 to reach an agreement on the high seas. (The Guardian)


Uniper drops coal case against Netherlands over bail-out terms

German energy company Uniper has been forced by its government to drop a lawsuit against the Netherlands over the proposed closure of coal power plants. Uniper was among five groups that launched cases against four European governments for almost €4 billion over the stymying of coal, oil and gas projects under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). However, following financial difficulties at Uniper because of the energy crisis, it had to abandon its claim over the early closure of its plants in the Netherlands by 2030 as part of the terms of its bail out by the German government. The ECT, conceived in the 1990s, was designed to encourage cross-border cooperation in the energy sector, giving coal, oil and gas projects protected rights. (Financial Times)*


Amazon expected to avoid UK corporation tax for two more years

E-commerce giant Amazon could avoid tax in the UK for at least two more years, after benefitting from reliefs brought in by the Conservative government during the pandemic, a report suggests. Research from the Fair Tax Foundation indicates that Amazon claimed more than £800 million in capital allowances – expenses that can be offset against profits – in 2021, £500 million more than in 2020. The value of these allowances was boosted due to the ‘super-deduction’ scheme for businesses that invest in infrastructure. The Foundation found that Amazon has set aside £66 million against its tax bill for 2023 based on estimated trading losses from 2021. The Foundation added that even before the super-deductions, Amazon paid little corporation tax in the UK, as the bulk of their UK income is still booked in Luxembourg. (The Guardian)


Malaysia to launch voluntary carbon market by year-end 2022

Malaysia's stock exchange said it will launch a voluntary carbon market (VCM) by the year's end, with the aim of increasing transparency and enabling companies to buy carbon credits to offset their emissions. According to capital markets company Bursa Malaysia, the exchange will encourage investments in high-quality offsetting projects, including projects such as planting trees or switching to less-polluting fuels. Bursa Malaysia said it will adopt the ‘Verified Carbon Standard’, also known as Verra, to ensure the integrity of the credits. The company plans to offer standardised carbon credit products for trading via a rules-based VCM exchange, with distinct product categories for carbon credits derived from nature-based solutions and technologies that reduce or sequester carbon. It plans to auction a supply of carbon credits by year-end to enable price discovery. (Reuters)


New Instagram feature lets users censor weight loss & control ads

Social media platform Instagram has updated its ‘Sensitive Content Control’, feature enabling users to filter out weight loss related ads on the ‘news feeds’ of their accounts. The topic of body weight control is the latest to be included on the list of topics that can be filtered out of users’ daily feeds. Other social media apps have made similar decisions in recent years. Video sharing app TikTok banned fasting app ads and restricted advertisements from promoting ‘negative body image’ in 2020. It is unclear if Instagram was following TikTok’s lead or made its changes as a result of a petition calling for a feature to filter weight loss ads that reached 30,000 signatures in 2021. (CNBC) 

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