Thirty of the world’s biggest financial institutions are undermining their pledges to hit net zero by lobbying against climate regulation, a report finds, as microplastics are detected in human blood for the first time. Meanwhile, a study shows rich countries must end their oil and gas production by 2034 if global warming is to be capped at 1.5 degrees Celsius, some of the biggest environmental certification schemes for fashion brands are found to be ‘not fit for purpose,’ and the government approves £200 million in funding for almost 1,000 zero-emissions buses. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.
Banks undermine their net zero pledges through lobbying, report finds
Thirty of the world’s biggest financial institutions are undermining their commitment to reaching net zero by lobbying against climate regulation and funding new fossil fuel projects, according to a new report.
The report by UK climate think-tank InfluenceMap found that the 30 institutions are members of industry associations “that have consistently lobbied to weaken key sustainable finance policies” in the European Union, Britain and the United States.
These policies are designed to boost transparency around financing environmentally harmful activities including fossil fuels. InfluenceMap calculated that of the 30 financial firms it examined, their banking arms collectively facilitated at least $740 billion (£564 billion) in primary financing to fossil fuel-related businesses in 2020 and 2021. This was mostly through corporate lending and bond underwriting.
Microplastics found in human blood for first time
Microplastic pollution has been found in human blood for the first time, with scientists detecting particles in almost 80 per cent of people tested.
New research reveals the particles can travel around the body and may get stuck in organs. The impact on human health is not yet clear, but microplastics have previously been found to cause damage to human cells in the laboratory. Air pollution particles are already known to enter the body and cause millions of early deaths every year.
Huge amounts of plastic waste are dumped in the environment and microplastics now contaminate the entire planet. People were already known to consume the tiny particles through food and water as well as breathing them in.
Rich nations must end fossil fuel production by 2034, new study warns
Rich countries must end their oil and gas production by 2034 if global warming is to be capped at 1.5C, according to a report.
The 76-page analysis from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University comes as nearly 200 countries begin a two-week negotiation to agree options for reducing carbon pollution and removing CO2 from the air.
Some poorer nations produce only a tiny percentage of the global output of greenhouse gasses. However, the report says they are so reliant on fossil fuel income that rapidly removing this could undermine their economic and political stability.
Countries such as South Sudan, the Republic of Congo, and Gabon have little economic revenue apart from oil and gas production. It funds that, in contrast, wealthy nations that are big producers would remain rich even if fossil fuel income was removed.
Fashion sustainability schemes ‘allowing greenwashing’
Some of the biggest environmental certification schemes for fashion brands are “not fit for purpose” and are allowing greenwashing, a new study has found.
The research by campaign group Changing Markets Foundation reveals that some have made “no measurable impact” during the last decade.
Schemes assessed included those run by WRAP; those run by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index; the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) certification; Cradle2Cradle and Oeko-Tex. Collectively, the schemes assessed have thousands of brands signed up, including some of the biggest high street and online retailers in Europe.
Funding for 1,000 zero emissions buses approved
Almost 1,000 zero-emissions buses are set to be rolled out across the country, with the government approving £200 million in funding.
The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed bids for electric or hydrogen-powered buses, as well as charging or fuelling infrastructure, have been given the green light for twelve regions, primarily in the north of England.
The package will see 943 of the buses added to England’s roads in Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Portsmouth, Blackpool, Nottingham, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire, South Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, West Midlands, York, and West Yorkshire.