“Last chance” for Earth warns Attenborough as gas goes green

Written by Lori Campbell on 20th Apr 2020

Sir David Attenborough issues a grave warning that humanity faces its “last chance” to curb climate change and save the Earth as gas networks unveil plans for the world’s first zero carbon gas grid. Meanwhile, a report reveals that British aid money is being used to fund fossil fuel projects in Africa and south east Asia, and five major industries are branded as “coronavirus climate profiteers” in a new study by environmental campaign group Mighty Earth. It’s the Good With Money news brief. 

This is our last chance to save the planet, warns Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough has issued a grave warning that humanity faces its “last chance” to curb climate change and save the Earth.

Failing to reduce emissions would push the world through a “one-way door”, said the veteran broadcaster, with irreversible consequences for life on Earth caused by the melting of Arctic ice.

“This is the very last moment we have in which we can hope to stem some of these disasters,” he said in an interview on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.

When asked what he would say to the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, the broadcaster urged: “This is the last chance. There are short-term problems and long-term problems, a politician is tempted to deal with short term problems.

“But [climate change] is not only a long-term problem, this is the biggest problem humanity has faced ever. Please examine it and please respond.” The 93-year-old urged people to “stop waste of any kind”, including energy, food and plastic.

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Gas Goes Green: networks unveil plan for world’s first zero carbon gas grid

The UK’s major gas network operators have committed to delivering the world’s first zero carbon gas grid, as part of a project dubbed ‘Gas Goes Green‘.

Led by the Energy Networks Association (ENA), the new programme brings together National Grid, Wales & West, Northern Gas Networks, Cadent and SGN. Together they will use existing infrastructure while boosting new technologies, particularly those using hydrogen and biomethane.

With 85 per cent of UK homes connected to the gas grid, decarbonising the heat sector could cost-effectively help the country meet the broader net-zero target for 2050.

The project will also leverage the expertise of the gas operators taking part. Cadent, for example, has agreed to the UK’s first ‘transition bond’ which has been issued to enable heavy-carbon emitters to access funds to decarbonise.


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UK aid money funnelled into fossil fuel companies

British aid money is being used to fund fossil fuel projects in Africa and south east Asia, despite the UK government urging the world to hit net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

An investigation by Greenpeace reveals the government’s development finance institution – CDC Group – which invests money in businesses in developing countries, has 16 active investments in oil and gas projects in Africa, and one in south east Asia.

More than $785 million (£623 million) has been invested by the organisation into 14 different intermediary investment funds which then pumped some of this money into oil and gas companies. CDC did not provide a full breakdown of how much money went to each company.

News of the investments in polluting fossil fuel firms comes as the government gears up to host the UN climate conference in spring 2021.


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Report shames five industries as “coronavirus climate profiteers”

Polluting industries around the world are using the coronavirus pandemic to gain billions of pounds in bailouts and to weaken and delay environmental protections, warns a new report.

The study by global environmental campaign organisation Mighty Earth identifies the corporations and industries taking advantage of the Coronavirus crisis to profit from eased regulations and the increased opportunity to pollute cost-free. It brands the meat and biofuels industries, carmakers, airlines, illegal loggers in Indonesia, and the fossil fuel industry as “coronavirus climate profiteers”.

The report also praises some companies for continuing to prioritize climate action even in a time of great challenges. Auto companies Volkswagen and BMW have, for example, reiterated their support for 2020 climate standards.

Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz said: “While these organisations may not always be climate champions – many of them still have policies and practice we strongly disagree with – it was important to give credit where credit is due.”


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Evian achieves carbon neutral

Bottled water brand Evian, owned by Danone, has achieved carbon neutral certification across all the countries where it operates.

It follows efforts to improve the efficiency of facilities and logistics and reducing lifecycle emissions of its bottles. The brand has achieved certification to the internationally recognised carbon-neutral standard PAS 2060, which has been issued by the Carbon Trust.

Evian’s global brand VP Shweta Harit said: “Today’s announcement comes at a moment when we are seeing, in real time, what can happen when we reduce our impact on the planet. Emissions are lower and pollution levels have dropped.”

Evian also now makes 30 per cent of its range from recycled plastic rPET. According to Evian, rPET can save up to 50 per cent of carbon emissions over a traditional virgin plastic bottle.