Top Stories

August 24, 2022


Fossil fuel advertising ban legislated into law in France

Adverts promoting fossil fuel products and services have been banned in France, after a cornerstone of President Emmanuel Macron’s green legislative agenda came into force. The move makes France the first country in Europe to implement such a ban, which means firms will no longer be able to promote any petroleum-based energy products, energy from the combustion of coal, and hydrogen-containing carbons, although fossil gas has been exempted from the ban until June 2023. Companies that breach the ban could face fines of up to €100,000. However, the ban has been criticised by some for not going far enough. Financial investments in fossil fuels and communication-related sponsorships, and advertising of decarbonised hydrogen and other fuels that include at least 50% renewable energy or biogas content are still permitted under the new marketing rules. (Business Green)*


World Bank backs carbon credit blockchain for investors

The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation division has launched a new project to use blockchain to register carbon removal projects and turn carbon credits into tokens designed to attract cryptocurrency investors to speculate with. The objective of the project is to steer crypto capital investment into verified carbon credits organisations like Verra and Gold Standard following instances of cryptocurrency enthusiasts buying unverified credits. While blockchains typically use a lot of energy, this project uses a blockchain run by a company called Chia which relies on a system called “proof of space and time” which consumes less energy than the “proof of work” system used to produce digital currency bitcoin. By tokenising the carbon credits, the project backers hope to attract investors who will be able to trade the credits. (Climate Change News)


UK & US banks biggest backers of Russian ‘carbon bombs’

US and UK financial institutions have been among the leading investors in Russian “carbon bomb” fossil fuel projects, according to new evidence by the Leave it in the Ground Initiative. Carbon bombs are fossil-fuel extraction projects that contain at least 1 billion tonnes of climate-heating CO2. Russia is a hotspot, with 40 carbon bombs, 19 of which are operated or developed by Russian companies backed by foreign finance, including Gazprom, Novatek, Lukoil, Rosneft oil company and Tatneft. The evidence found that over 400 foreign financial institutions had provided $130 billion of support to the Russian companies – $52 billion in investment and $84 billion in credit. The largest provision of capital was $10 billion – provided by JPMorgan Chase. Meanwhile, in the UK, HSBC gave the largest investment and credit total at $308 million. (The Guardian)


Grain firms report record profits amid global food crisis

The world’s top four grain traders have seen record or near-record profits or sales amid soaring food prices around the world. The companies also forecast demand to outstrip supply at least until 2024, which is likely to lead to even higher sales and profits in the next two years, raising concerns of profiteering and prompting calls for a windfall tax. Food prices have surged more than 20% in 2022, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, while around 345 million people experience acute food insecurity. The four companies –Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, known collectively as ABCD – control an estimated 70-90% of the global grain trade. Cargill reported a 23% increase in revenues to a record $165 billion, while Archer-Daniels-Midlands made the highest profits in its history during the second quarter of the year. (The Guardian)


Qatar deports migrant workers following wage protest

Qatar has deported migrant workers who protested about unpaid wages, as the country prepares for the football World Cup in November. At least 60 workers rallied outside construction and engineering company Al Bandary International Group’s Doha office – some of whom had reportedly not been paid for seven months. A number of protesters were detained, and some were deported, although its not known how many. The government said those who were deported had "breached security laws". The Qatari government said it would pay all delayed salaries and benefits to the affected workers. The government said the Al Bandary group was already under investigation for not paying its workers, and further action is being taken after a deadline to settle payments had been missed. (BBC News)

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