Top Stories

January 23, 2023


World Economic Forum publishes biggest risks facing the world

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its 2023 ‘Global Risks Report’ detailing the top 10 risks facing the planet in a 2-year and 10-year timeframe. Informed by the WEF’s ‘Global Risks Perception Survey’, the report collects insights from over 1,200 experts across academia, business, government, the international community and civil society. The survey asked respondents to predict global volatility of the global risk landscape, assess against severity, recognise consequences of risks, account for risk preparedness and governance, and also consider qualitative questions on risks. Respondents rated the cost-of-living crisis, natural disasters and extreme weather events, and geoeconomic confrontation, as the three most impactful issues over the next 2 years. For the 10-year timeframe, failure to mitigate climate, failure of climate change adaptation, and natural disasters and extreme weather events were found to be the three most impactful issues. (World Economic Forum)


Energy firms threatened legal action over prepayment meters

Energy firms in the UK are to be investigated by the industry regulator following a sharp rise in the number of households being forced onto prepayment meters. UK regulator Ofgem is also warning firms it will take legal action if they are not taking proper due care of vulnerable households. Ofgem is also considering cheaper social tariffs for some on low incomes, stating that discounted energy bills could be a long-term option to tackle unaffordable bills. Citizens Advice estimates that 3.2 million people in the UK ran out of credit on their prepayment meter in 2022. Ofgem is calling for suppliers to stop forced installations of prepayment meters on those who are struggling to pay their bills unless all options have been exhausted. (BBC News)


Long-tenured & newly promoted Google staff hit by 12,000 layoffs

Employees at technology giant Google are demanding answers from leadership and colleagues as the company undergoes a massive layoff. Google announced it was cutting 12,000 employees, roughly 6% of its full-time workforce. While employees had been bracing for a potential layoff, they are questioning leadership about the criteria for layoffs which surprised some employees, who woke up to find access to company properties removed. Some laid-off staff had been long-tenured or recently promoted. While the company provided an FAQ for layoffs, employees complained it lacked detail on many answers. Further confrontations are possible as the company said it plans to lay off international employees, but has yet to determine which ones. Some employees have organised ad hoc groups to try get answers. (CNBC)


UK’s deposit return scheme for drinks set to exclude glass bottles

The UK Government has touted plans to delay the introduction of a nationwide ‘Deposit Return Scheme’ (DRS), designed to boost drinks packaging recycling, to 2025. However, in a move unpopular with environmental groups, the DRS  is set to exclude glass bottles in England. A UK-wide DRS has been considered since late 2018, when the government launched its Resource and Waste Strategy. Under the scheme, customers pay a deposit when purchasing drinks, which can be refunded when recycling through a verified channel. The strategy suffered a string of delays amid Covid-19 with the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs publishing its overdue response to the latest round of consultations in January 2023. The consultation confirmed widespread support for a DRS, with 83% of respondents in favour of the scheme. (edie)


Carbon credit firms preying on Amazon’s Indigenous communities

A number of Indigenous communities in the Amazon say that “carbon pirates” have become a threat to their way of life as western companies seek to secure deals in their territories for offsetting projects. Across the world’s largest rainforest, Indigenous leaders say they are being approached by carbon offsetting firms promising significant financial benefits from the sale of carbon credits if they establish new projects on their lands. Proponents of carbon markets, especially those that aim to protect rainforests, say that carbon credits are a good way to fund the new areas and pay Indigenous communities for the stewardship of their lands. However, many Indigenous leaders are concerned communities are being taken advantage of in the unregulated sector, with opaque deals for carbon rights that can last up to a century. (The Guardian)












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