Top Stories

January 19, 2023


More than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets are ‘phantom credits’

The forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider Verra and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse. The research into Verra, the world’s leading carbon standard for the offsets market, has found that more than 90% of its rainforest offset credits – among the most commonly used by companies – are likely to be “phantom credits” and do not represent genuine carbon reductions. The analysis raises questions over the credits bought by a number of internationally renowned companies – some of whom have labelled their products “carbon neutral”, or have told their consumers they can fly, buy new clothes or eat certain foods without making the climate crisis worse. Only a handful of Verra’s rainforest projects showed evidence of deforestation reductions. (The Guardian)


NASA awards $425mn to Boeing for fuel-efficient airline project

US federal space agency NASA has awarded $425 million to aircraft manufacturer Boeing for the agency's "Sustainable Flight Demonstrator" project as the Biden administration works to cut aviation sector emissions. Boeing will work with NASA to "build, test, and fly a full-scale demonstrator aircraft and validate technologies aimed at lowering emissions," the agency said. Over 7 years, NASA will invest $425 million, while Boeing and its partners will contribute the remainder of the agreement funding, estimated at about $725 million. The "Transonic Truss-Braced Wing" demonstrator single-aisle aeroplane aims to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30%. The concept involves an aircraft with extra-long, ultrathin wings stabilized by diagonal struts and higher-aspect ratios that could eventually accommodate advanced propulsion systems. NASA plans to complete testing by the late 2020s. (Reuters)


Spoof billboards take aim at BMW & Toyota over ‘green’ claims

Guerrilla “subvertisers” have taken aim at BMW and Toyota with a campaign of spoof adverts that they say reveals the truth behind the carmakers’ claims to be going green. As the European Motor Show opened its doors in Brussels for its 100th anniversary, climate activists hijacked more than 400 advertising billboards and bus stops in Belgium, France, Germany and England. Satirising the manufacturers’ advertising messages, the billboards highlighted what activists describe as the misleading adverts and aggressive lobbying tactics used by Toyota and BMW. The posters were installed on advertising hoardings over the past few days in a series of guerrilla actions by activists from Subvertisers International, Brandalism and Extinction Rebellion. Responding to criticism, Toyota said it had been working for decades to reduce its environmental impact. (The Guardian)


BlackRock says ESG inflows outpace ESG outflows by 100 times

The CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink, has suggested that the firm’s political backlash over climate and ESG issues has not impacted the company, with inflows outpacing ESG-related outflows by around 100 times. Asked about the impact of the anti-ESG political movement, Larry Fink said: “We lost about $4 billion of flows from various states, but in long-term flows last year we were awarded $400 billion.” Fink said that he is trying to address the misconceptions that have been raised about ESG investing, noting the continued importance of the issues to investment decisions, particularly in light of recent announcements like the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ to promote green energy. Larry Fink added that the firm is actively working with major energy companies on their pathway to decarbonisation in response to claims that BlackRock boycotts energy companies. (ESG Today)


Brazilian meat giant under fire for allegedly misleading investors

Activist group Mighty Earth is taking on Brazilian meat giant JBS over whether its “green” bonds deserve their ‘Earth-friendly’ connotation. In 2021, JBS sold $3.2 billion worth of “green bonds” linked to the company’s sustainability goals. If JBS fails to reach its targets for greenhouse gas emissions, it will be penalised and will pay bondholders a “step up amount or premium payment,” the company says. Mighty Earth filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that JBS is already failing to meet its emissions targets. Mighty Earth wants the agency to impose penalties and injunctions on the company, which it says has contributed to or ignored deforestation carried out by its suppliers. JBS disputes the allegations, stating that $7 billion would be channelled into sustainability. (Washington Post)












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