Climate ambition warning as nuclear gets green light

Written by Lori Campbell on 14th Dec 2020

World leaders are failing to show enough ambition to tackle climate change, warns UK minister Alok Sharma, as prime minister Boris Johnson opens talks with energy company EDF on the construction of the £20 billion Sizewell C nuclear power station. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank links management pay to performance on environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) criteria, Tesco ditches 20 million plastic items from its Christmas range, and a £2.6 billion electric vehicle battery plant is to be built on an old coal-burning site. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.

‘Not enough’ climate ambition shown from world leaders

The UK minister tasked with leading UN climate talks has said that world leaders are failing to show enough ambition.

Speaking at a virtual Climate Ambition Summit organised by the United Nations, UK and France, Alok Sharma was said “real progress” had been made and 45 countries had put forward new climate plans for 2030. However, he warned that these were not enough to prevent dangerous warming this century.

At the summit, which took place on the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, UN secretary general António Guterres urged every country to declare a climate emergency until the world has reached net zero carbon.

The move would require countries to step up their actions on greenhouse gas emissions urgently. An increasing number of governments have a target to reach net zero emissions by around the mid-century, but few have detailed plans on how to get there.

During the summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK is to become the first major industrialised nation to end all public funding of fossil fuel projects overseas.

More than £20 billion of oil and gas exports has been funnelled into overseas energy projects through trade promotion and export finance in the last four years. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this support will end “with very limited exceptions” before UN climate talks, COP26, to be hosted in Glasgow next November.

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Green light for £20bn Sizewell C nuclear plant

The UK government has opened talks with energy firm EDF on the construction of the £20 billion Sizewell C nuclear power station.

The site in Suffolk could generate enough electricity for around seven per cent of the UK’s power demand.

The plant would be a near replica of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which is Britain’s first new nuclear plant in more than two decades and is already being built by the French energy firm with backing from China’s CGN.

The Government said it would enter into negotiations with EDF – but any deal must be affordable and provide value for money, with the project having already proven controversial with protesters slamming its huge cost.

The ‘Stop Sizewell C’ campaign group has warned the site will divert investment from other green energy sources such as renewables and would damage tourism and nature in the area.

But EDF claims it will generate enough ‘always-on’ low-carbon electricity to power six million homes and create 25,000 jobs.



Deutsche Bank links management pay to sustainability targets

Deutsche Bank is to link management pay to performance on environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) criteria.

Germany’s largest bank said that from 2021, management pay would be tied to reaching targets on sustainable finance investments, on the sustainability ratings it receives from five leading ESG ratings agencies and on succeeding in reducing the bank’s own energy consumption.

Banks such as HSBC, BNP Paribas and UniCredit also have varying models in place that link pay to ESG, as more investors look to invest in companies that perform better on the sustainability.

It also comes as policymakers globally increasingly look to banks to help to promote a transition to a low-carbon economy and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.


The difference between ESG and Impact


Tesco cuts 20 million plastic items from its Christmas range

Tesco has has ditched 20 million plastic items from its Christmas range in a bid to tackle waste.

Plastic has been reduced on packaging for Christmas puddings, plus crackers and festive lights – 312,000 of which will be sold in recyclable cardboard packaging.

Christmas cards are being sold in recyclable cardboard boxes, saving 4.6 million bits of plastic per year, and many of the decorations on greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift items have been changed to more environmentally-friendly options such as biodegradable glitter.
The supermarket had aimed to reduce its plastic footprint significantly in 2020, with a target of removing 1 billion pieces of plastic by the end of the year.
It comes as businesses signed up to WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact, which is supported by the likes of Unilever, Nestle and PepsiCo, collectively produced 40 per cent less non-recyclable and unnecessary pieces of plastic packaging this year than in 2018.

5 easy steps to living plastic-free


Plans for £2.6 billion electric vehicle battery plant on old coal-burning site

Britain’s biggest electric vehicle battery plant is to be built on the site where a coal-burning power station once stood.

Britishvolt will invest £2.6 billion in the project in Blyth, Northumberland, creating 3,000 jobs and reportedly representing the biggest investment in the North East of England since Nissan arrived in 1984.

The firm said the 95-hectare site would be Britain’s first battery “gigaplant”, aiming to produce lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2023. Another 5,000 jobs could be created in the supply chain, the firm said.

Its aim is to build a sustainable site using renewable energy, with the potential to use Norwegian hydro-electric power transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest inter-connector.