Top Stories

September 13, 2022


UN ILO: modern slavery increases as poverty & migration rises

The number of people forced into modern forms of slavery has risen by a fifth in recent years to around 50 million, according to the UN International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO stated that more than half of those trapped in modern forms of slavery had been forced to work against their will and others forced into marriage. The situation had been exacerbated by crises such as Covid-19, armed conflicts and climate change, which have left more people in extreme poverty and forced to migrate. The ILO found that over half of all forced labour occurred in upper-middle income or high-income countries, with migrant workers more than 3 times as likely as locals to be affected. Since the last count for the year 2016, modern slavery cases have risen by 9.3 million. (Reuters)


UK banks face stress tests on impact of energy crisis defaults

The UK’s largest banks will be tested on their ability to withstand a rise in defaults linked to high energy prices, as part of the Bank of England’s (BoE) delayed health check of the financial industry. The BoE has crafted a crisis scenario that will feature a deep economic recession, punctuated by soaring energy bills that could make it harder for some borrowers – particularly businesses – to afford loan repayments. The stress-test scenario will feature a drop in asset prices, a further jump in interest rates and soaring costs to cover misconduct. Any lenders deemed too weak to cover these eventualities could be forced to raise billions of pounds. This will be the first time that banks will be forced to prove they can withstand the effects of an energy crisis. (The Guardian)


Businesses urged to prepare for complex carbon tax landscape

A new report has argued that the global reach of carbon pricing and tax regimes is likely to be extended in the coming years, creating a complex tax landscape. Tax specialists at consultancy giant KPMG argue that carbon taxes could result in a complex patchwork of different approaches in different jurisdictions, even if they do help accelerate the transition to net-zero. The report argues that carbon prices will continue to rise, and the reach of carbon taxation regimes will continue to expand. It notes that carbon prices are at record highs in many jurisdictions, with the price of allowances in the EU’s carbon market standing at €66. The report concludes that carbon markets in emerging markets and China are likely to accelerate pressure for more countries to adopt their own carbon pricing. (Business Green)*


Low-carbon chemical industry ‘could create 29 million jobs’

Adopting more efficient and low-carbon technology could create 29 million new jobs and double the turnover of the chemicals industry, according to a new report. Chemicals manufacturing currently accounts for around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By adopting techniques readily available, such as recycling plastic and using fertiliser in a more targeted way, and investing in emerging technologies such as hydrogen, the study believes the industry could reduce its emissions rapidly. By 2050, it could be a net absorber of carbon dioxide, according to the report. The investment needed would amount to around $100 billion annually by 2050, but could lead to doubling the industry’s annual revenues from revenues of $4.7 trillion at present. The transition could create around 11 million new jobs in chemical manufacture and 18 million in related industries. (The Guardian)


Indonesia, Brazil leading tropical forest loss linked to mining

Industrial-scale mining for materials such as coal, gold, and iron ore is spurring tropical deforestation, with forests being cleared for mines and access roads, research shows. Scientists found that just four countries are largely culpable: Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana and Suriname. Together, the four forest-rich nations accounted for roughly 80% of tropical deforestation caused by large-scale mining operations from 2000 to 2019. While at least 70% of deforestation is done to clear land for agriculture, the scientists called out industrial mining as an emerging concern due to the growing global appetite for minerals used in clean-energy technologies to combat climate change. The biggest losses were in Indonesia, where coal mines on the island of Borneo have expanded to meet fuel demand from China and India. (Reuters)

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