FtF News #166 – 19th October 2022
Droughts, the electric future of trucking and the choice ‘between Armageddon and awesome’
Somehow we’re already halfway through October – this year is racing away, it almost feels like life is on fast-forward of late! Of course, some of that may be UK politics, which continues to be quite a ride. Whilst the government is now being forced to backtrack on the majority of its most disastrous recent policies, it remains to be seen how environmental policy will fare in the maelstrom, with the PM (for how long?) branding green campaigners as ‘anti-growth’ (whatever that means), whilst ripping up long-standing environmental rules and managing to rile up almost everyone in the process.
Once again, this week’s issue was ably assisted by Syuan Ruei Chang, who contributed a number of the articles and stories featured this week. If you spot any stories you’d like to share, you can submit them here.
Mother nature’s reactions to the ever-warming world
Sydney has had its wettest year in 164 years, with yet more rain still to come and 3 months left in the year.
California’s drought has become its driest ever period on record, with no sign of lifting any time soon.
Droughts across the northern hemisphere this summer were made at least 20 times more likely by climate change, according to a new rapid attribution study.
Greenland saw unprecedented high temperatures and ice melt through much of September, with surface melting on over a third of the ice sheet on Sept 3rd.
The latest from in climate research and analysis
New research estimates that US emissions from 1990-2014 alone cost Pakistan $32.5bn in GDP losses, putting calls for climate reparations in a new light.
According to the Red Cross and the UN, by 2100 extreme heat events could make parts of Asia and Africa uninhabitable for up to 600m people.
The IMF has published its World Economic Outlook, where it stresses that the costs of climate policy are small, but the costs of delaying will seriously impact the economy.
The Climate Risk Index for Biodiversity shows that of nearly 25,000 surveyed marine species, almost 90% are at risk under high emissions scenarios.
A similar analysis compiling the ‘Living Planet Index’ found that wildlife populations have fallen on average by 69% in less than 50 years.
Research has reconfirmed that airlines are using the cheapest, least reliable offsets to mislead customers and portray themselves as greener than they are.
A new report suggests that eliminating waste could reduce global emissions by 1.4bn tonnes per year, mostly by managing or stopping methane emissions.
A study of more than 37,000 TV and movie scripts found that barely any touch on climate change, and those that do avoid linking it to fossil fuels.
Research has found that banks with more gender-diverse boards lend less to environmentally harmful companies.
Party Political Broadcast
Climate politics are a special creature indeed
Kenya has lifted a ban on GM crops in response to the devastating drought affecting the region. See also: the new Kenyan president on how Africa can and must become a leader in clean energy.
The US Supreme Court is soon to weigh in on another important piece of legislation – the Clean Water Act – in what could be another major environmental decision.
Austria has filed suit against the European Commission for its classification of gas and nuclear as climate friendly.
New Zealand is to become the first country in the world to place a levy on agricultural emissions, including methane, CO2 and nitrous oxide.
A look at how the Russian invasion of Ukraine has accelerated the EU’s moves away from fossil fuels.
A look at how the Brazilian election could affect Indigenous land defenders both in Brazil and across the Amazon region, who are key to preserving the ecosystem.
California’s governor has signed off on two bills banning PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ from clothes and cosmetics from 2025.
German transport ministers have agreed to a €49/month public transport ticket, following the success of a trial €9 ticket scheme this summer.
Money makes the world go around
The machinations of climate finance
A new report estimates that the 60 largest global banks have around $1.35tn in credit exposure to fossil fuels, with at least $150bn in associated potential climate-related losses.
The UN is now seeking $816m for flood relief efforts in Pakistan as the crisis continues to escalate, with food and sanitation issues becoming more severe.
Barbados is one of the first recipients of funding from the IMF’s new Resilience Trust, and will receive around $183m, with Costa Rica also receiving around $700m.
Rwanda has also received a $310m credit line from the IMF for climate-related funding and projects.
EU finance ministers have reached a deal to raise €20bn from the EU carbon market to help support the transition away from Russian fossil fuels.
President Biden has pledged over $60m in aid to help Puerto Rico after the passage of Hurricane Fiona, in stark contrast to his predecessor.
Climate happenings in the corporate world
Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, has announced that it will no longer invest in or insure oil and gas projects from April 2023.
US coal companies have been systematically shedding obligations to manage both environmental and health impacts of their mining, leaving the government and the public picking up the pieces whilst they walk away with the profits.
Exxon Mobil is shedding employees at a growing rate, and many say it’s due to a toxic internal culture that is increasingly at odds with the world around it.
A look at how oil companies in the US court Black leaders to support pipeline projects that result in massively negative effects on their communities.
Companies are increasingly turning to Sustainability-Linked Bonds for cheap credit, but they’re a mess of murky targets and corporate greenwashing.
British Cycling has faced backlash after announcing a partnership with Shell to help the cycling group ‘take important steps towards net zero’.
The Future is Electric
Renewables, EVs and all things electrification
BNEF’s latest Power Transition Trend report is out, highlighting both the continuing growth in renewables, but also a concerning spike in coal generation.
China has the world’s largest commercial vehicle market, and is pushing hard on decarbonisation, so offers some interesting insights into the future of trucking.
Greece ran fully on renewable energy for 5 hours in early October – the first time in the country’s history.
Lebanon is an ideal market for rooftop solar, given its poor energy supply, but unfortunately, scammers are rife, burning many on the prospect of solar.
An exploration of the potential of agri-voltaics, which allow solar and agriculture to coexist, and if designed well, benefit both.
Efforts in activism and awareness
Following the UK government’s ‘attack on nature’, the head of the RSPB refused to rule out direct action as the charity mobilises the public against the planned changes.
Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed paint on an Aston Martin showroom as a move to defy new rules explicitly designed to punish climate activists and protesters.
Interesting deep-dives into climate-related topics
An opinion piece positing that the climate crisis presents a choice ‘between Armageddon and awesome’.
A look at how London’s congestion charge and ULEZ have massively cut air pollution and pushed many in the UK capital to shift to EVs.
The impacts of the most extreme drought in living memory are causing many Somalis to flee across the country in search of relief, but there is little respite anywhere.
An exploration of why so many climate stories cover apocalypse rather than the complexity and ‘messiness’ of real climate action, with all its compromise and nuance.