Royal Dutch Shell is ordered to slash its carbon emissions in a landmark court ruling as Glasgow plans to plant 18 million trees in preparation for crucial COP26 climate talks. Meanwhile, an influential group of UK investors is urging G7 leaders to follow the UK’s lead by forcing firms to reveal their exposure to climate change risks, H&M’s online secondhand shop is to launch in 20 more countries, and private jet emissions soar by almost a third. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.
Shell forced to slash global emissions in landmark ruling
Global oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has been ordered in court to slash its carbon emissions in order to protect the environment from climate change.
The landmark ruling demands the firm cuts its emissions by a net 45 per cent by 2030 – compared with 2019 levels – to bring it in line with the Paris Agreement.
The outcome has far-reaching implications for the fossil fuel industry and could trigger legal action against energy companies around the world.
Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, which coordinated the case, called it a “monumental victory”. “The judge has left no room for doubt: Shell is causing dangerous climate change and must stop its destructive behaviour now,” he said in a statement.
Royal Dutch Shell, which must comply with the judgement immediately, said it “fully expect[ed] to appeal today’s disappointing court decision”. The ruling comes as the UN World Meteorological Organisation warns there is a 40 per cent chance that global temperatures will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in the next five years.
Glasgow to plant 18m trees as it prepares for COP26
Councils in the Glasgow area have pledged to plant 18 million trees – equivalent to 10 trees for every resident – as the city prepares to host a crucial global climate summit this year.
The Clyde Climate Forest (CCF) project aims to increase tree cover in urban areas of Glasgow to 20 per cent and ensure that a fifth of the region’s rural landscape is forested or planted with native woodland over the next 10 years.
Glasgow is to host the COP26 climate talks in November, when world leaders are expected to set much tougher targets to combat global warming. The need for urgent action is intensifying as evidence shows the world is close to breaching the 1.5C limit agreed in the Paris climate treaty in 2016.
Already one of the wettest regions of the UK, the greater Glasgow area is expected to be hit by far heavier storms in future and prolonged periods of heavy rainfall. In common with the rest of the UK, it is also set to experience intense heatwaves.
UK investors urge G7 to force firms to reveal climate change risk
A major group of UK investors is urging G7 leaders to follow the UK’s lead by forcing firms to reveal their exposure to climate risks.
In a letter to ambassadors and high commissioners sent ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, the Investment Association (IA) also called on the world’s largest developed economies to issue sector-by-sector guidance to help firms plan to meet Paris Agreement climate goals. These aim to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.
The IA says that G7 members – which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – should coordinate and standardise climate reporting standards. The group represents asset managers including Legal & General, Schroders and Aviva, which together have a combined £8.5 trillion under management.
H&M online second hand shop opens in 20 more countries
Online second-hand shop Sellpy, which is majority-owned by fashion giant H&M, is to launch in 20 more European countries to meet growing demand for sustainable fashion.
The Sweden-based start-up handles the entire sales process from picking up the goods from sellers’ homes, to photographing, selling and shipping them to buyers.
Sellpy, which launched in 2014, says second-hand was one of the fastest growing market segments within the fashion industry. “Every garment bought pre-owned saves resources for our planet,” said Head of Expansion Gustav Wessman. “Demand in our new markets is growing rapidly.”
The H&M group, which is on the lookout for additional revenue streams following a few rough years with slowing sales in many of its stores, bought its first stake in Sellpy in 2015.
Private jets emissions soar
Private jet flights from the UK and France emit more CO2 than 20 other European countries combined, according to a new report.
The two countries together represent almost 40 per cent of emissions from private jets in Europe, and six of the top 10 most polluting routes for private aviation in Europe either arrive or depart from London airports.
Carbon emissions from private jets in the continent have risen by nearly a third (31 per cent) between 2005 and 2019, finds the report from European NGO and campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E).
The study, “Private jets: can the super-rich supercharge zero emission aviation?”, says that travelling by private jet is the most polluting activity an individual can undertake, with four hours of flying equivalent to the total annual emissions of the average European citizen.
The research also found that CO2 emissions from private jet use have gone up faster than those from commercial flights.