Britain is set to approve a new North Sea oil and gas project just months before hosting a global climate conference, as an electric-powered flying taxi prepares for launch in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024. Meanwhile, the IKEA and Rockefeller foundations have pledged $1 billion (£0.72 billion) to tackle climate change and energy poverty, plastic bottles have been made from enzyme recycling in a world first, and investors pour a record $54 billion (£39 billion) into bond funds specialising in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in the first five months of 2021. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.
UK set to approve oilfield before COP26 climate talks
A new North Sea oil and gas project is set to be approved by ministers just months before Britain hosts a global climate change conference in Glasgow.
Under plans submitted to the government, developers behind the Cambo heavy crude field off the coast of the Shetland Islands want to extract 150 million barrels of oil – equivalent to operating around 16 coal-fired power stations for a year.
Setting up and powering the oil rig will emit more than three million tonnes of carbon over the project’s lifetime.
The oilfield is expected to operate until 2050, by which time Britain has pledged to be net carbon neutral. However, the project will not be covered by the government’s “climate checkpoint”, which will assess whether new oilfield developments are “compatible with the UK’s climate change objectives”, because it was licensed for exploration in 2001 and 2004.
Flying electric taxis planned for 2024 Olympics in Paris
An electric-powered flying taxi will be ready for passengers by the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, according to its creators.
The ‘VoloCity’ air taxi looks like a tiny helicopter with two seats and is topped by 18 rotors fixed to a large circle. It took off and landed vertically on the Le Bourget Airfield at the Paris Air Forum during a three-minute, remote-controlled demonstration flight last week with no passengers onboard.
The emissions-free, “virtually fail-safe” flying taxi completed a 1,640 feet route at up to 18 miles per hour, climbing nearly 100ft above the airfield, the company said. In 2011, Volocopter became the first company ever to construct and fly a human with this type of vehicle.
Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said the urban mobility market is “gigantic” and the company is committed to bringing air taxi services to the French capital in time for the 2024 Olympic Games.
IKEA and Rockefeller foundations pledge $1bn to renewable energy
The IKEA and Rockefeller foundations have pledged $1 billion (£0.72 billion) to tackle climate change and energy poverty.
The foundations have set up a platform, to be launched later this year, that aims to cut carbon emissions by one billion tons. It will enable emerging economies jump straight to renewable energy, bypassing environmentally harmful energy from finite fossil fuels like oil and gas.
The fund, which will be run as a public charity, aims to deliver clean and reliable power to 800 million people and a further 2.8 billion who have unreliable access.
IKEA Foundation CEO, Per Heggenes, said: “If global energy consumption doesn’t change from fossil fuels to renewable energy, we will not meet the Paris Agreement ambitions and millions of families will be left behind in poverty.”
Top brands make plastic bottles using enzyme recycling
Plastic bottles made entirely from waste material broken down and recycled using enzymes have been produced for the first time by a consortium including consumer goods giants L’Oréal, Nestlé, and PepsiCo.
The major recycling breakthrough, which the companies claim is a world first, comes after 10 years of research and development led by consortium member Carbios to create a new recycling process that uses enzymes to break down plastic waste back into virgin-quality raw material.
Enzymes which occur naturally in compost heaps to break down the leaf membranes of dead plants have been adapted to break down any type of PET plastic, regardless of colour or complexity, into a raw material that can then be turned back into virgin-quality plastic, according to Carbios.
The consortium is aiming to launch the first industrial enzymatic recycling facility by 2025.
Investors pour £39bn into ESG bond funds in 2021
Investors have poured a record $54 billion (£39 billion) into bond funds specialising in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in the first five months of 2021, new figures reveal.
The figure – which includes open-ended funds and exchange traded funds globally – is hot on the heels of the $68 billion (£48.9 billion) recorded for all of 2020, says data provider Morningstar.
Assets under management in the products rose by 14 per cent to $374 billion (£268.7 billion) between January and May, almost tripling in just three years.
However, the surge in interest has prompted concerns of greenwashing, including fears that some bond funds are not as sustainable as they claim to be and that fund managers are finding it difficult to work out their ESG credentials.