Banks in fossil fuel fail as Life on Mars unveiled

Written by Lori Campbell on 29th Mar 2021

The world’s biggest banks have pumped an astonishing £2.75 trillion into fossil fuel industries over five years, according to a new report, as plans for the first sustainable city on Mars are revealed. Meanwhile, the UK is building the first large-scale plant for recycling plastic with high-pressure steam, a study warns devastating wildfires will happen in Britain ‘most years’ by 2100 due to climate change, and Wilko is opening recycling points for disposable face masks. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.

World’s biggest banks pump £2.75 trillion into fossil fuels over 5 years

The world’s biggest banks have pumped a staggering $3.8 trillion (£2.75 trillion) into fossil fuel industries over five years, a new report by an alliance of NGOs has revealed.

The Banking on Climate Chaos’ report shows that the world’s 60 largest banks have increased their investments in fossil fuels since 2016, the year following the Paris Climate Agreement, peaking in 2019 with total investments of $824 billion (£597 billion). This total dipped by nine per cent in 2020, caused by the global fall in fuel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Globally, US banks were named as the worst offenders when it comes to fossil fuel financing. JPMorgan Chase tops the table, having invested $316.7 billion (£229 billion), particularly in oil and gas companies. Citi came second, and was singled out for its funding of 100 companies with what the NGOs described as “the worst fossil fuel expansion plans,” including firms like oil giant ExxonMobil and oil and gas pipeline company Enbridge.

In Europe, UK bank Barclays was the biggest fossil fuel backer, putting some $144.9 billion (£105 billion) into tar sands, fracking, and coal power.


Ensure your money isn’t invested in fossil fuels with our top ethical current accounts


Plans unveiled for first sustainable city on Mars

Life on Mars has been envisaged by architects who believe a ‘sustainable city’ could be built by 2054.

ABIBOO Studio has released images showing its vision of Nüwa, which would be the Red Planet’s first city.

The design firm created the detailed blueprint with the intention of beginning construction on the settlement in just over 30 years’ time.

According to their vision, the capital city Nüwa – complete with factories, public transport networks, recreation facilities, and homes for up to one million people – would be built into the side of the steep Martian cliff at the point known as Tempe Mensa.

Its vertical positioning would protect inhabitants from radiation and meteorites while providing them with exposure to indirect sunlight, according to designers.

Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Get better with money, in every way.

UK builds site to recycle plastic with steam

The £30 million plant in the northeast of England will process 80,000 metric tons per year of plastic waste after its starts operating by the end of 2022, according to owners Mura Technology.

Around 350 million tons of plastic is produced globally every year, estimated to rise to 600 million tons over the next 20 years. However, only 14 per cent of this collected for recycling. Global plastic production is estimated to produce 390 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Mura Technology will use its own HydroPRS ‘supercritical’ steam, where water is heated and pressurised to such a point, its properties become gas and a liquid at the same time.

The system can convert plastics into the oils and chemicals they were made from in about 25 minutes, the company  says. This can then be used to create new plastics with no limit to the number of times it can be recycled – compared to only once or twice for most recycled objects currently.


Top 10 countries doing the most to tackle plastic pollution


UK wildfires to happen ‘most years’ by 2100 due to climate crisis

Devastating wildfires are likely to happen in the UK ‘most years’ by 2100 as the climate crisis worsens, a new study warns.

The extremely hot and dry conditions which make wildfires a risk are set to significantly increase across southern and eastern England over the coming decades, according to the report by the University of Reading.

In these areas, the very highest danger level could be reached four days a year on average by 2080, compared with once every 50 to 100 years currently.

Wildfires need a source of ignition which is difficult to predict, so wildfire risk is typically measured by the likelihood that a spark would develop one.

As temperatures rise and summer rainfall decreases due to the impacts of the climate crisis, conditions likely to cause wildfires could be nearly five times more common in some parts of the UK by the end of the century, the researchers said.


Top 5 green ISAs for your climate-friendly cash


Wilko launches UK’s ‘first’ high street face mask recycling points

Wilko is launching recycling points for disposable face masks to help tackle the thousands that are thrown in the rubbish or litter streets.

The home and garden retailer is to introduce recycling bins at 150 of its stores where shoppers can drop off their single-use masks. The masks, made from a type of plastic fabric called polypropylene, will be taken to recycling specialist ReWorked and made into anything from building materials to public space furniture.

Wilko says the initiative – set to run for three months from April 1 – is a first for the UK high street.

A spokeswoman said: “While the government has encouraged Brits to dispose of face masks via general waste bins, there has been an ever-increasing volume of PPE being discarded in public spaces.”