TEN ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTS
1. Big banks and big fossil fuel industries continue to expand in global south
Action Aid, HOW THE FINANCE FLOWS: THE BANKS FUELLING THE CLIMATE CRISIS (4 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3LdtpnN
See also, Dharna Noor, “Banks pouring trillions to fossil fuel expansion in global south, report finds,” The Guardian bit.ly/44xA436
“Banks are pouring trillions of dollars into the expansion of the world’s most emitting industries in the global south, according to a new report… Developing countries are often on the frontlines of the climate crisis yet lack the resources to enact climate action plans.
But financial firms are helping to push such countries in the opposite direction, the Monday analysis from international non-governmental organization ActionAid argues.
For the report, ActionAid worked with the international trade consulting company Profundo to compile data on major international banks’ loans and underwriting to fossil fuel and agribusiness corporations.
They found that between 2016 and 2022, those banks have provided some $3.2tn to the fossil fuel industry to expand operations in the global south.”
2. Serious risks from fracking in Australia
Natasha May, “Fracking projects in NT risk exposing people to cancer and birth defects, report finds,” The Guardian bit.ly/3Z4QLBD
“Fracking projects fast-tracked by the Australian government risk exposing people to cancer, birth defects, asthma, cardiovascular disease and other harms, a new report published on Monday has found.
Drawing on evidence from projects overseas, the report synthesises more than 300 recent peer-reviewed scientific papers on the risks posed by oil and gas operations to biodiversity, water and food security, contributions to the climate emergency, potentially harmful chemicals involved, contamination of air and water, as well as wider health risks associated with the disruption of life near oil and gas fields.”
See also, Samatha Dick, “Paediatricians sign joint letter urging NT government to withdraw Beetaloo Basin fracking support,” ABC NEWS (6 June 2023). ab.co/3Er4KZk
3. Five global north countries responsible for over half of all planned expansion for fossil fuel expansions
Planet Wreckers: How 20 Countries’ Oil and Gas Extraction Plans Risk Locking in Climate Chaos, Oil Change Internaitonal (12 Sept 2023). bit.ly/48aTFce
See also, Fiona Harvey, “US behind more than a third of global oil and gas expansion plans, report finds,” The Guardian (12 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3Pij9vA
“The US accounts for more than a third of the expansion of global oil and gas production planned by mid-century… Canada and Russia have the next biggest expansion plans, calculated based on how much carbon dioxide is likely to be produced from new developments, followed by Iran, China and Brazil.
The data also showed that five “global north countries” – the US, Canada, Australia, Norway and the UK – will be responsible for just over half of all the planned expansion from new oil and gas fields to 2050.
Greenhouse gas emissions from all of the oil and gas expansion that is planned in the next three decades would be more than enough to drive global temperatures well beyond the limit of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels that countries agreed in 2021 at Cop26 in Glasgow.”
4. Small increase in global temperatures may lead to sharp increase in deaths from heat
Carter M. Powis, “Observational and model evidence together support wide-spread exposure to noncompensable heat under continued global warming,” Science Advances (8 Dept 2023). bit.ly/3PiYEz0
See also, Damian Carrington, “Deadly humid heatwaves to spread rapidly as climate warms – study,” The Guardian (8 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3Ziqznw
“Life-threatening periods of high heat and humidity will spread rapidly across the world with only a small increase in global temperatures, a study has found, which could cause a sharp acceleration in the number of deaths resulting from the climate crisis.
The extremes, which can be fatal to healthy people within six hours, could affect hundreds of millions of people unused to such conditions. As a result, heat deaths could rise quickly unless serious efforts to prepare populations were undertaken urgently, the researcher said.”
5. Current carbon credit projects likely generate credits that represent a small fraction of their claimed climate benefits
UC Berkeley Carbon Trading Project, Quality Assessment of REDD+ Carbon Credit Projects (15 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3PkDZKT
“This study brings together an interdisciplinary team of political and natural ecologists and ecosystem modelers to comprehensively assess the quality of these credits. We assess their effectiveness at reducing deforestation, generating high-quality carbon credits, and protecting forest communities focusing on five key program elements: baselines, leakage, forest carbon accounting, durability, and safeguards.
As with other major offset project types, we found that current REDD+ methodologies likely generate credits that represent a small fraction of their claimed climate benefit. Estimates of emissions reductions were exaggerated across all quantification factors we reviewed when compared to the published literature and our independent quantitative assessment. Safeguard policies, presented as ensuring “no net harm” to forest communities, in practice have been treated as voluntary guidance.
When considering all evidence together, our overall conclusion is that REDD+ is ill-suited to the generation of carbon credits for use as offsets. We suggest a number of other measures that private actors can take or support that together can help to reduce tropical deforestation.”
See also, Patrick Greenfield, “Rainforest carbon credit schemes misleading and ineffective, finds report,” The Guardian (15 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3ZnBhci
6. PFAS linked to higher cancer odds in women
Amber L. Cathey,“Exploratory profiles of phenols, parabens, and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances among NHANES study participants in association with previous cancer diagnoses,” Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology (18 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3PFR1UQ
See also, Carey Gillam, “‘Forever chemical’ exposure linked to higher cancer odds in women,” The Guardian (18 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3riTEm4
“Women exposed to several widely used chemicals appear to face increased odds for ovarian and other certain types of cancers, including a doubling of odds for melanoma, according to new research funded by the US government.
Using data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a team of academic researchers found evidence that women diagnosed with some “hormonally driven” cancers had exposures to certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are used in thousands of household and industrial products, including in stain- and heat-resistant items.
They found similar links between women diagnosed with cancer and high exposures to phenols, which are commonly used in food packaging, dyes and personal care products.”
7. X (f/k/a Twitter) is the worst for climate change disinformation
Climate of Misinformation: Ranking Big Tech by Climate Action Against Disinformation Coalition (Sept 2023). bit.ly/3ZsIWG6
See also, Nick Robins-Early, “Twitter ranks worst in climate change misinformation report,” The Guardian (20 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3LytqD3
A report ranking climate change misinformation gave Twitter (recently rebranded as X) only a single point out of a 21-point scorecard when assessing policies aimed at reducing inaccurate information – the worst out of five major tech platforms.
8. Environmental defenders killed at a rate of one every other day in 2022
Global Witness, Standing Firm: The Land and Environmental Defenders on the Frontline of the Climate Crisis (Sept 2023). bit.ly/46q4568
See also, Patrick Greenfield, “Environmental activists killed at a rate of one every other day in 2022 – report,” The Guardian (12 Sept 2023). bit.ly/3LC5BtX via @guardian
At least 177 people were killed last year for defending the environment, according to new figures, with a fifth of killings taking place in the Amazon rainforest.
Murdered by organised crime groups and land invaders, environmental defenders were killed at a rate of one every other day in 2022, figures from the NGO Global Witness show. Colombia was the most deadly country, recording 60 murders.
Indigenous communities were disproportionately represented in the figures, making up 34% of all murders, despite representing about 5% of the world’s population. The new figures mean that at least 1,910 environmental defenders have been killed between 2012 and 2022, according to Global Witness, with most of the murders going unpunished.
9. The IEA roadmap for keeping 1.5 °C Goal in Reach.
International Energy Agency (IEA), Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5 °C Goal in Reach (2023). bit.ly/3ZzSIqj
“In 2021, the IEA published its landmark report, Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector. Since then, the energy sector has seen major shifts. Based on the latest data on technologies, markets and policies, this report presents an updated version of the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) Scenario; a pathway, but not the only one, for the energy sector to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and play its part, as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, in achieving the 1.5 °C goal.
The case for transforming the global energy system in line with the 1.5 °C goal has never been stronger. August 2023 was the hottest on record by a large margin, and the hottest month ever after July 2023. The impacts of climate change are increasingly frequent and severe, and scientific warnings about the dangers of the current pathway have become stronger than ever.
Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the energy sector reached a new record high of 37 billion tonnes (Gt) in 2022, 1% above their pre-pandemic level, but are set to peak this decade. The speed of the roll-out of key clean energy technologies means that the IEA now projects that demand for coal, oil and natural gas will all peak this decade even without any new climate policies. This is encouraging, but not nearly enough for the 1.5 °C goal.
Positive developments over the past two years include solar PV installations and electric car sales tracking in line with the milestones set out for them in our 2021 Net Zero by 2050 report. In response to the pandemic and the global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, governments around the world announced a raft of measures designed to promote the uptake of a range of clean energy technologies. Industry is ramping up quickly to supply many of them. If fully implemented, currently announced manufacturing capacity expansions for solar PV and batteries would be sufficient to meet demand by 2030 in this update of the NZE Scenario.”
10. Vegan diets cut environmental damage
Peter Scarborough, et al., “Vegans, vegetarians, fish-eaters and meat-eaters in the UK show discrepant environmental impacts,” Nature Food (20 July 2023). bit.ly/466xwup
See also, Damian Carrington, “Vegan diet massively cuts environmental damage, study shows,” The Guardian (20 July 2023). bit.ly/3PwSYl9
“The research showed that vegan diets resulted in 75% less climate-heating emissions, water pollution and land use than diets in which more than 100g of meat a day was eaten. Vegan diets also cut the destruction of wildlife by 66% and water use by 54%, the study found.
The heavy impact of meat and dairy on the planet is well known, and people in rich nations will have to slash their meat consumption in order to end the climate crisis…the new study analysed the real diets of 55,000 people in the UK. It also used data from 38,000 farms in 119 countries to account for differences in the impact of particular foods that are produced in different ways and places. This significantly strengthens confidence in the conclusions.”