Critical UN climate talks kick off in Poland, Arsenal leads the charge on battery power and Corona becomes the world’s first beer brand to trial non-plastic beer rings. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.
COP24 climate summit: ‘World at crossroads’ warning as critical talks begin
The latest round of UN climate change talks kicked off yesterday in the Polish coal city of Katowice – one of the most polluted sites in Europe.
Four former presidents of the UN-sponsored talks called for decisive action, warning that the planet is “at a crossroads.” In an unprecedented move, they issued a joint statement calling for urgent action that said: “Decisive action in the next two years will be crucial.”
The two-week COP24 summit comes after a succession of expert reports warning that current efforts to avoid a global warming catastrophe will fall short. Drastic cuts in emissions are now needed if the world is to reach targets set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Negotiators convened a day early amid huge political pressure to make progress in the talks.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced $200 billion (£156.5 billion) in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change.
This Conference of the Parties (COP) is the first to be held since the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C came out in October.
The IPCC stated that to keep to the 1.5C goal, governments would have to slash emissions of greenhouse gases by 45 per cent by 2030. But a recent study showed that CO2 emissions are on the rise again after stalling for four years.
Arsenal installs battery power that can last entire match
Arsenal has become the UK’s first football club to install a large-scale battery energy system in a bid to cut electricity costs and support green energy.
The system can power the 60,000-seat Emirates stadium for an entire match, or the equivalent of 2,700 homes for two hours.
The Gunners’ home is one of the biggest stadiums in the UK, with energy demand coming from refrigeration, full-time offices and lights to maintain the grass on the pitch. Consumption spikes on match days, although not as much as in the past because of energy-efficient LED floodlights.
Matt Allen, chief executive of energy firm Pivot Power, which installed the batteries, said: “Arsenal is showing how football clubs and other big power users can save money and support the UK’s climate change and clean air targets.”
Corona launches plastic-free beer can rings
Corona has become the world’s first beer brand to trial 100 per cent plastic free six pack rings. The new plant-based rings are designed to help curb plastic waste in our oceans.
Corona, owned by drinks giant AB InBev, will trial the rings in Mexico at the start of 2019. If the launch goes well, it will run another trial in the UK.
A six-pack of beer is usually held together using polyethylene plastic, which does not biodegrade. Although technically recyclable, polyethylene plastic rings are almost always littered or thrown into general waste.
Corona’s new rings are made using a mixture of by-product waste and compostable materials, which would naturally break down in the environment if littered.
Fidelity launches sustainable water and waste fund
Fidelity International has launched a new fund focusing on sustainable water and waste management.
The ‘Fidelity Funds – Sustainable Water and Waste Fund’ aims to deliver strong returns by investing globally in companies involved in the design, manufacture or sale of products and services related to water and waste. This includes companies developing new technologies to meet ever-growing demand.
With 70 per cent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, the new fund will capitalise on rapid urbanisation happening in developing markets and the updating of old infrastructure in developed regions.
Portfolio manager Bertrand Lecourt said: “The story of water and waste is as old as the story of civilisation, yet companies in this sector remain relatively unexplored by investors.”
Shell yields to investors by setting target on carbon footprint
Royal Dutch Shell is to set carbon emissions targets that are linked to executive pay.
The move goes against opposition from its chief executive and follows intense pressure from shareholders who want the fossil fuel giant to take greater responsibility for its emissions.
Investors such as the Church of England and Robeco have pushed Shell to make firm commitments to cut its carbon footprint, saying last year’s announcement of a long-term “ambition” to halve carbon emissions by 2050 did not go far enough.
Shell plans to link its targets to the long-term incentive plans of senior executives, subject to a shareholder vote in 2020.