Negotiators from almost 20 countries meet this week for crucial COP25 climate talks as the World Bank and Credit Suisse team up on a ‘blue bond’ to help protect the world’s waters. Meanwhile, recycling rates tumble despite attempts to make it simpler, a ‘Cosmic Crisp’ apple that can stay fresh for up to a year goes on sale in the US and a new report by Investec reveals Brits want their pensions to be invested ethically.
COP25: Negotiators meet in Madrid for crunch climate talks
A critical 12 months in the battle against climate change begins in Madrid today, as UN delegates gather for crunch talks.
Negotiators from almost 20 countries will attend the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25). The summit was meant to take place in Santiago, Chile, this year but was moved to Spain at the last minute following civil unrest in the Chilean capital.
UN secretary general António Guterres has warned that the world is at the point of no return, calling the global response to date “utterly inadequate”. The conference takes place amid a raft of bad news on climate change in recent days. The World Meteorological Organisation announced that greenhouse gas concentrations reached their highest recorded level in 2018.
The UN Environment Programme showed that there’s a huge gap between the plans that governments currently have on the table to cut emissions and what’s needed to keep under 1.5C. Keeping to that guardrail will need a five-fold increase in the carbon cutting ambitions of countries.
It comes as UK Prime Minister Boris shunned the first ever live TV climate debate for party leaders ahead of the general election. Channel 4 replaced him with a melting ice sculpture.
World Bank and Credit Suisse team up for ‘blue bond’
Swiss finance giant Credit Suisse and the World Bank have issued a $28.6 million (£22.2 million) ‘blue bond’ aimed at financing the protection and restoration of water resources and habitats.
All bonds issued by the World Bank support projects that deliver progress against one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The new bond, which has a five-year maturity period, aims to touch on the majority of the 17 goals. Projects to benefit include those working to establish coastal and marine protected areas; those which improve waste management in ways which reduce pollution in waterways and oceans; those which promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; and those working to implement strong environmental governance in coastal nations and regions.
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Recycling rates down despite pledge to make it simpler
Recycling rates are worse than they were five years ago despite pledges to make the system simpler for households.
Latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) show that the amount of household rubbish being recycled dropped from 45.2 per cent in 2017 to 44.7 per cent in 2018. It is the lowest since 2015, when rates were 44.3 per cent and also lower than in 2014 when councils achieved 44.9 per cent.
The new results mean the government will almost certainly fail to reach its target of recycling half of household waste by 2020, with critics claiming the process is too difficult, even though public support has increased.
Meanwhile, a shocking new report reveals the UK throws away enough carpet to cover the whole of Birmingham every year.
The ‘Cosmic Crisp’ apple that lasts for a year
A new type of apple that took 20 years to develop and can last for up to a year in the fridge goes on sale in the US this week.
The apple – Cosmic Crisp – is a cross-breed of the Honeycrisp and Enterprise and was first cultivated by Washington State University in 1997. The launch of the “firm, crisp, and juicy apple” cost $10 million (£7.9 million).
Farmers in the state of Washington are exclusively allowed to grow the fruit for the next decade. “It’s an ultra-crisp apple, it’s relatively firm, it has a good balance of sweet and tart and it’s very juicy,” said Kate Evans, who co-led the apple’s breeding programme at Washington State University. She said the flesh is slow to brown and the fruit “maintains excellent eating quality in refrigerated storage – easily for 10 to 12 months”.
More than 12 million Cosmic Crisp trees have been planted and a strict licensing system does not permit farmers to grow the apples in other parts of the country. The variety was originally known as WA38 and the name Cosmic Crisp was inspired by the scattering of tiny white spots on its dark red skin, resembling the night sky.
Brits want pensions to be invested ethically, reveals new report
The majority of British adults want to see their green intentions translate into environmentally-focussed investments, according to a new report.
The study of 2,000 people, who all pay into a pension, by Investec Asset Management‘s Planetary Pulse showed 61 per cent would put some of their default workplace pension into environmental investments.
A massive 85 per cent of respondents said they are concerned about the environment, with 94 per cent saying they have changed their daily lives to benefit the planet. Changes include reducing plastic use, recycling more, eating less or no meat and avoiding carbon intensive travel.
However, people’s actions with money doesn’t yet match up with their intentions.
Asked about their current pension allocations, only three in 10 people (31 per cent) already have some allocation to environmentally-focused funds or companies. Of these though, 59 per cent plan to increase their allocation within the next three years. Just a handful of people (four per cent) say they have no intention to invest environmentally in the next two years.
Find out how to make your pension work for Good in our Good Guide to Pensions