Top Stories

September 30, 2022


Bank branch openings in US neglect minority neighbourhoods

The opening of new US bank branches is leaving behind minority communities despite racial equality pledges from lenders, according to a study by advocacy group the Committee for Better Banks. The 14 largest US consumer banks opened 4,130 new branches from January 2010 to December 2021, the group wrote, citing data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Of the new locations, 61% were located in upper- or middle-income, predominantly white neighbourhoods, while only 15% of new branches were opened in low- to moderate-income minority communities. Upper-income minority communities accounted for only 6% of the new sites. The study also mapped out openings in major US cities. It found New York had the most openings over the 11-year period, with only 15% in minority or low- to moderate-income areas. (Reuters)


Federal Reserve to pilot climate analysis in 2023 with big banks

The Federal Reserve announced that six of the nation's largest banks would participate in a pilot climate scenario analysis exercise in 2023. Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo will undergo the exercise. The exercise will mark the first public effort by the Federal Reserve to gauge the level and management of risks for banks when it comes to climate change and could begin a process that informs how banks lend and manage risk in the future. The announcement was met with mixed responses. While the Bank Policy Institute said climate risk did not pose a severe threat to bank stability, advocates of tougher rules called on the Federal Reserve to accelerate its efforts. The Federal Reserve emphasised its pilot exercise will be strictly for information-gathering purposes. (Reuters)


Investors call for upscaling of climate-related blended finance

The UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA) has called on policymakers to help scale “blended” finance structures that combine public and private finance towards climate solutions. NZAOA consists of more than 70 institutional investors and collectively manages more than $10 trillion of assets. Blended finance is a finance structure that leverages public and philanthropic capital to improve the risk profiles of investment opportunities in order to catalyse private sector funding. The group believes these structures will help mobilise climate-related capital to target emerging markets and developing economies, an area that investors worry is lacking in adequate capital. Investors are also calling for governance and operating models of businesses and banks to be restructured to better align with the UN SDGs. (edie)


Big oil companies fail to declare toxic emissions from flaring

Major oil companies are not declaring a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, a new BBC News investigation has revealed. The BBC found millions of tonnes of undeclared emissions from gas flaring at oil fields where oil companies BP, Eni, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell work. Flaring of natural gas is the burning of excess gas released during oil production. The companies said their reporting method was standard industry practice. Flared gases emit a potent mix of carbon dioxide, methane and black soot which pollute the air and accelerate global warming. The BBC also found high levels of potentially cancer-causing chemicals in Iraqi communities near oil fields where there is gas flaring. The companies said it was the responsibility of the firm they had contracted to run the day-to-day operations. (BBC News)


Data shows 5,000 empty ‘ghost flights’ in UK since 2019

More than 5,000 completely empty passenger flights have flown to or from UK airports since 2019, according to analysis from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). A further 35,000 commercial flights have operated almost empty since 2019, with fewer than 10% of seats filled. This makes a total of about 40,000 “ghost flights”. Air travel results in more carbon emissions an hour than any other consumer activity. Ghost flights may run to fulfil “use-it-or-lose-it” airport slot rules, though these were suspended during the pandemic. Other reasons may include repatriation flights or repositioning of aircraft. However, these cannot be verified, and campaigners say more transparency is needed. A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said it would work with the CAA to monitor aircraft occupancy and seek greater transparency. (The Guardian)







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