Britain becomes the first major economy to force big pension schemes to go green, as the G7 nations’ renewed pledge to raise $100 billion for climate action disappoints environmental campaigners. Meanwhile, the annual global peak of heat-trapping Co2 in the air hits 50% higher than when the industrial age began, a report reveals that half of fast fashion clothes are made entirely of new plastics, and the world is on track to lose 167 million homes to climate change by 2040. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.
Britain is first major country to force pension schemes to go green
The UK has become the first major economy to push forward with plans to force pension schemes to go green.
New regulations coming into Parliament will require pensions providers with assets of £5 billion or more to assess and report on how climate change is going to affect their investments. Ministers plan to consult on whether to extend the regulations to smaller pots as soon as 2024.
The move will come into effect in October this year – just ahead of Glasgow hosting the landmark COP26 green climate summit – making the UK the first major economy to put the move into law.
Minister for Pensions Guy Opperman said: “In a matter of just a few months, savers will be able to determine for themselves if [an] investment aligns with their values or if they are comfortable with how their pension could be affected by climate change.”
G7 pledge on climate action ‘not enough’
The G7 nations have renewed a pledge to raise $100 billion (£71 billion) a year to help poor countries cut carbon emissions.
At a summit in Cornwall, G7 leaders also promised to help developing countries move away from coal. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the three-day meeting, said: “We were clear this weekend that action needs to start with us.”
However some environmental groups said the promises don’t go far enough. Developed countries agreed in 2009 to contribute $100 billion a year in climate finance to poorer countries by 2020. But the target was not met, in part because of the Covid pandemic.
While the G7 – including the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy – agreed to raise contributions to meet the target, Teresa Anderson, from Action Aid said: “The G7’s reaffirmation of the previous $100 billion a year target doesn’t come close to addressing the urgency and scale of the crisis.”
Carbon dioxide up 50% despite pandemic
The annual peak of global heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air has reached the dangerous milestone of 50% higher than when the industrial age began.
The average rate of increase is faster than ever, scientists have reported.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average carbon dioxide level for May was 419.13 parts per million. That’s 1.82 parts per million higher than May 2020 and 50 per cent higher than the stable pre-industrial levels of 280 parts per million. It is the highest measurement since records began 63 years ago – despite slowdowns in air travel and industry during the global pandemic.
Carbon dioxide levels peak in May just before plant life in the Northern Hemisphere blossoms, sucking some of that carbon out of the atmosphere and into flowers, leaves, seeds and stems. Emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas for transportation and electricity far exceed what plants can take in, pushing greenhouse gas levels to new records every year.
Half of fast fashion made from new plastic
Half of the clothes sold by leading fast fashion brands are made entirely of new plastics, a new study reveals.
The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) made the finding after analysing more than 10,000 items of women’s clothing advertised by Asos, Boohoo, Missguided and PrettyLittleThing.
On average, 49 per cent of these ranges were produced exclusively with non-recycled plastics such as polyester and nylon.
Boohoo had the worst rate with 60 per cent of its items derived exclusively from new synthetic fibres, while Asos had the lowest rate at 36 per cent.
These plastics are bad for the environment because they produce 20 per cent more CO2 than a cotton equivalent, according to an MIT study. They will also most likely end up in landfill because of throwaway culture and deficiencies in recycling in the UK, the RSA said.
167 million homes wiped out from climate change by 2040, warns charity
The world could lose 8.4 million homes a year between now and 2040 due to extreme weather caused by climate change, new analysis has warned.
That would total 167 million homes – the equivalent of every home in the UK being wiped out six times over – according to disaster relief charity ShelterBox.