Top Stories

September 29, 2022


Nord Stream gas leaks hard to quantify, raise climate fears

Unexplained leaks in two Russian gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea are releasing greenhouse gas emissions, raising fears that the disruption could cause a climate calamity. While neither pipeline was in operation, both contained natural gas, which is largely composed of methane. Experts said it was not yet possible to assess the size of the leak, given uncertainties around factors such as the temperature of the gas in the pipeline, how fast it is leaking, and how much gas would be absorbed in the water. Methane leaks from onshore gas leaks can be picked up by satellites, but due to the different reflection of light on water it is challenging to analyse offshore leaks. A spokesperson for Nord Stream 2 said the system held 300 million cubic metres of gas. (Reuters)


FLAG: SBTi launches new standard for land-based emissions

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has launched guidance for companies to set targets that account for land-based emission reductions and removals. With support from environmental NGO WWF, the SBTi has developed the Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) guidance, which will enable companies within those sectors to set science-based targets. It includes emissions associated with biomass and soil losses, deforestation and degradation, peatland burning and emissions from land management including fertiliser use and emissions from relevant machinery and manufacturing. The FLAG guidance will be required for companies that are linked to land-intensive activities across their value chain, such as forest and paper products, food and drink production and tobacco. Currently, nearly 25% of global emissions come from agriculture, forestry and land use sectors. (edie)


Over 1,700 environmental activists murdered in past decade

More than 1,700 murders of environmental activists were recorded over the past decade, an average of a killing nearly every two days, according to a report by NGO Global Witness. Killed by hitmen, organised crime groups and their own governments, at least 1,733 land and environmental defenders were murdered between 2012 and 2021, with Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, Mexico and Honduras the deadliest countries. Killings hit a record of 227 in 2020 despite the pandemic. The killings have disproportionately affected lower-income countries and Indigenous communities with 39% of the victims from this demographic. Mining and extractive industries, logging and agribusiness were the most common drivers for a murder when a cause was known. The report also stresses its figures are likely a significant underestimate. (The Guardian)


Betfred fined almost £2.9m over gambling safety check failings

Gambling company Betfred has been fined nearly £2.9 million for failings in its social responsibility and money-laundering controls after accepting large sums of money from gamblers without safety checks. One customer was allowed to lose £70,000 over a 10-hour period just a day after opening their account, the Gambling Commission said. Another was only subjected to controls to ensure they were gambling safely after losing £10,000. The next interaction did not occur until four months later when the customer had deposited £323,715 and lost £69,371. The regulator also identified flaws in the company’s controls to prevent money laundering. The penalty comes at a time when the gambling industry faces increasing scrutiny amid a government review of gambling laws prompting a rush among companies to demonstrate improved commitments to safer gambling. (The Guardian)


Australia’s most polluting coal plant to shut a decade early

Australia's dirtiest power plant – responsible for more than 3% of the country's emissions – is to shut a decade earlier than planned. The coal-fired Loy Yang A power station in Victoria will close in 2035, its owner AGL Energy said. AGL is the nation’s largest electricity generator and polluter and has come under increased pressure to limit fossil fuels. Loy Yang A emitted 16.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas in 2019-2020, according to recent data. It was initially scheduled to close by 2048, but that was brought forward three years in February 2022. The new 2035 deadline comes amid leadership changes at AGL with Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes becoming the company’s largest shareholder in a bid to force it to become greener. (BBC News)

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