Oil giant world’s richest as deforestation doubles

Written by Lori Campbell on 16th May 2022

The biggest corporate polluter in the world, Saudi Aramco, overtakes Apple to become the globe’s richest company as deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest hits an all-time April high. Meanwhile, 18 million UK savers want their pension fund to vote for climate action, new research reveals cities could run out of fresh water in just 25 years, and the world’s first net-zero transatlantic flight is set to take off from the UK next year. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.

World’s biggest polluter becomes world’s richest company

The biggest corporate polluter in the world, Saudi Aramco, has overtaken Apple to become the globe’s richest company thanks to a surge in oil prices.

The Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company, the largest oil-producing company in the world, was valued at $2.42 trillion (£1.97 trillion) based on the price of its shares at the close of market on Thursday. Meanwhile, Apple has seen its share price drop over the past month and was valued at $2.37 trillion (£1.93 trillion).

Aramco saw an 82 per cent jump in profits in the first quarter of 2022, with net income topping $39.5 billion (£32.2 billion). The firm says the rise is due to higher prices, as well as an increase in production.

According to environmental charity ClientEarth, Aramco is the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitter. It is estimated to be responsible for more than four per cent of the entire world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1965.

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Brazil’s Amazon deforestation hits all-time April high

The Amazon rainforest in Brazil has suffered its worst April for deforestation on record.

The area cleared almost doubled from the same month last year, from 579 square kilometres in April 2021 to 1012 square kilometres last month.

April is the third monthly record this year, according to data from national space research agency Inpe, after new highs were also observed in January and February.

Destruction of the Brazilian Amazon in the first four months of the year also hit a record for the period of 1,954 square km (754 square miles), an increase of 69 per cent compared to the same period of 2021, clearing an area more than double the size of New York City.

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Almost half UK pension holders want their scheme to vote for climate action

An estimated 18 million (45.6 per cent) of UK savers want their pension fund to encourage the companies they have invested in to reduce their carbon emissions, a new poll reveals.

The research points out that schemes can do this by setting climate-positive voting policies and engaging with their fund managers on how they vote this annual general meeting (AGM) season. More than half (51 per cent) of the pension holders surveyed want their scheme to adopt voting policies to encourage the companies in their portfolios to act in a way that reflects their values.

Pensions campaign group Make My Money Matter and new activist investing platform Tulipshare, who conducted the joint research, are now calling on the pensions industry to listen to members. They want schemes to set climate-positive voting policies and engage with asset managers on how they vote at key upcoming resolutions, including at ExxonMobil, JPMorgan & Amazon.

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Cities could run out of drinking water in 25 years

Cities around the world, including the UK and its capital, could run out of fresh water in just 25 years because of growing populations and climate change, according to Christian Aid.

The international development charity says severe droughts in London and the South East of England could cost the capital’s economy £330 million a day.

Already more than half (55 per cent) of the world’s population lives in cities, predicts the United Nations. By 2050, that figure will rise to two thirds (68 per cent). Global water use grew by more than twice the rate of population increases during the 20th century, Christian Aid’s new research says.

Despite covering more than 70 per cent of the earth’s surface, only three per cent of the world’s water is drinkable, and much is locked in glaciers and ice caps.

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World’s first net zero transatlantic flight to take off next year

The world’s first net-zero transatlantic flight is set to take to the skies from the UK next year, the government has announced.

The demonstration flight will use an aircraft powered by 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

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