Top Stories

November 03, 2022


Blue whales could be eating 10 million pieces of plastic every day

Blue whales could be eating 10 million pieces of microplastic every day, according to new research in scientific journal Nature that suggests filter-feeding whales could be the most vulnerable marine species to plastic pollution. Like other filter-feeding whales, blue whales use bristly baleen plates to sift, sieve or trap krill, plankton and small fish from ocean waters. Researchers from Stanford University combined feeding data from almost 200 tagged blue, fin and humpback whales. They discovered that the highest concentrations of microplastics are found at depths of 50 to 250 metres, which is also where filter-feeding whales mainly eat due to high availability of krill. Blue whales, which have a high krill-rich diet, could ingest up to 10 million plastic particles a day, while humpback whales could consume up to 4 million particles. (New Scientist)*


Australia asks miners to back referendum on Indigenous rights

Australia has urged its multi-billion-dollar mining industry to support the government’s plans for a referendum to give the country’s Indigenous people a voice in parliament. The Labor government is seeking a referendum on recognising Indigenous people in the constitution and requiring consultation with them on decisions that affect their lives. More than 60% of Australia’s resources projects operate on land covered by a claim or determination for the rights and interests of First Nations traditional owners. Australia’s resources sector accounts for about 10% of the country’s gross domestic product and the mining sector directly employs about a quarter of a million people. A successful referendum would bring Australia in line with Canada, New Zealand and the United States in formally recognising Indigenous populations. (Reuters)


Google profits $24m from ‘greenwash’ ad revenues, study finds

Technology giant Google is selling oil firms valuable digital real estate that they use to downplay their role in climate change, a report shows. This comes despite Google pledging it would stop taking money for ads that counter the scientific consensus on global warming. Nonprofit the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) examined more than 32,000 search ads on Google’s US site, paid for by fossil fuel companies over the past two years. It found that firms were purchasing ads on Google’s front page to display to users searching terms like “net zero” and “eco-friendly”, filling the space with ads that disassembled the companies’ track records on planet-heating emissions. Researchers found Google had accepted nearly $24 million in search ad buys from oil and gas firms over the last two years. (Eco-Business)


UK government failing net-zero emissions reporting & measuring

The UK Government is failing to lead by example on the road to net-zero emissions by 2050, with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticising how emissions are reported for the public sector. The PAC issued the findings of its inquiry into the Government’s pledge to “lead by example” in reaching net-zero. Under the net-zero target, the Government is aiming to reduce emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037, against a 2017 baseline. However, the PAC has found that responsibility for reporting and measuring emissions is split across different departments that utilise “vague” guidance and different reporting standards. The PAC warns that reporting standards are “too slow” across central government, finding that fewer than half of government departments are complying with mandatory reporting requirements. (edie)


Big agri warns farming must change or risk ‘destroying the planet’

Some of the largest food and farming businesses have sponsored a report which urges food companies and governments to collaborate immediately to transform global agricultural practices. The report, from a taskforce within business network the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), finds that the pace of regenerative farming practices must triple by 2030 for the world to have a chance of keeping temperature rises under 1.5°C. The report is signed by Bayer, Mars, McCain Foods, McDonald’s, Mondelez, Olam, PepsiCo, Waitrose and others. At present, regenerative farming practices cover 15% of global croplands. Food production is responsible for a third of all planet-heating gases emitted by human activity with pasture and cropland occupying around 50% of the world’s habitable land. The industry also uses about 70% of the planet’s freshwater supplies. (The Guardian)

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