NZ to launch world-first climate change rules

New Zealand is to become the world’s first country to bring in a law forcing its financial firms to report on the effects of climate change. The country wants to be carbon neutral by 2050 and says the financial sector needs to play its part. Banks, insurers and fund managers can do this by knowing the environmental effect of their investments, says its Climate Change Minister James Shaw. Legislation is expected to receive its first reading this week. “This law will bring climate risks and resilience into the heart of financial and business decision making,” said Mr Shaw. About 200 … Continue reading NZ to launch world-first climate change rules

Climate Change Hypocrisy: Japan approves releasing wastewater into ocean

Japan has approved a plan to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea. The water will be treated and diluted so radiation levels are below those set for drinking water, but some locals, those in the fishing industry, as well as China and South Korea, have opposed the plan. Tokyo says work to release water used to cool nuclear fuel will begin in about two years, the final approval comes after years of debate and is expected to take decades to complete. Currently, the radioactive water is treated in … Continue reading Climate Change Hypocrisy: Japan approves releasing wastewater into ocean

Google Maps to start showing eco-friendly routes

Google Maps will start directing drivers to routes it calculates to be the most eco-friendly based on a list of factors. The search engine said it will highlight journeys that generate the lowest carbon footprint using mainly traffic data and road inclines. Google said the feature would launch first in the US later this year “with a global expansion on the way”. The new feature is part of its commitment to fight climate change. When launched, the default route on the Google Maps app will be the “eco-friendly” option, unless users choose to opt out of it. When alternative routes … Continue reading Google Maps to start showing eco-friendly routes

World’s biggest coal company bets on solar power

The world’s largest coal mining firm is to “aggressively” pursue solar energy and continue to close smaller mines. Coal India Limited (CIL) plans to invest in a 3,000 megawatt solar energy project in a joint venture with state-run NLC India. The company also wants to compete in India’s solar auctions and win projects by offering the lowest prices for clean power. It marks a major shift for the firm, which produces most of India’s coal. “Coal as you know, we’re going to lose business in the next two, three decades. Solar will take over (from) coal slowly as a major … Continue reading World’s biggest coal company bets on solar power

New Delhi becomes world’s most polluted city for the third year

New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020, according to IQAir, a Swiss group that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5. India was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities, according to IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Report, which gathered data for 106 countries. The findings were based on the country’s annual average of particulate matter PM2.5, airborne particles with less than 2.5 microns in diameter. Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can lead to deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems. In … Continue reading New Delhi becomes world’s most polluted city for the third year

Sandstorm sends pollution in Beijing to maximum level

Beijing was shrouded in thick brown dust that sent pollution levels soaring on Monday morning, as heavy winds brought in sand from Inner Mongolia and other parts of northwestern China. The China Meteorological Administration announced a yellow alert on Monday morning, saying that the sandstorms had spread from Inner Mongolia into the provinces of Gansu, Shanxi and Hebei, which surrounds Beijing. It advised residents to avoid all outdoor activities. Beijing’s official air quality index reached a maximum level of 500 on Monday morning, with floating particles known as PM10 reaching more than 8,100 micrograms per cubic metre in six parts … Continue reading Sandstorm sends pollution in Beijing to maximum level

Amazonian groups sue French supermarket chain over deforestation

French supermarket chain Casino is being sued by indigenous groups from the Amazon, for allegedly selling beef linked to deforestation. The 11 indigenous groups, backed by NGOs in the US and France, are seeking €3.1m ($3.7m; £2.7m) in damages. In a statement, the groups linked Casino meat to an area of deforestation “five times the size of Paris”. Casino told AFP and Reuters news agencies that it took a “rigorous” approach to its supply chains. The company is being taken to court under a French law enacted in 2017. Under the law, businesses must avoid human rights and environmental violations … Continue reading Amazonian groups sue French supermarket chain over deforestation

Rio Tinto chief to step down over cave destruction

Rio Tinto’s chairman and a director will step down over the destruction of two ancient Aboriginal rock shelters. The 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge rock shelters were destroyed for an iron ore mine in Western Australia last year. A public and investor backlash led to the resignation of then-chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two deputies. However, last month the mining giant’s remuneration committee handed large payouts to all three executives. Simon Thompson will step down as chairman after next year’s annual general meetings, while non-executive director Michael L’Estrange will retire from the board after this year’s meetings. “I am ultimately accountable for … Continue reading Rio Tinto chief to step down over cave destruction

US firm General Motors to ditch gas, diesel-powered cars by 2035

General Motors Co said Thursday that it was setting a goal to sell all its new cars, SUVs and light pick-up trucks with zero tailpipe emissions by 2035, a dramatic shift by the largest United States automaker away from gasoline and diesel engines. GM, which also said it plans to become carbon neutral by 2040, made its announcement just over a week after US President Joe Biden took office pledging to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically boost the sales of electric vehicles (EVs). GM sold 2.55 million vehicles in the US last year, only about 20,000 of which were … Continue reading US firm General Motors to ditch gas, diesel-powered cars by 2035

Houses buried in Gjerdrum village near Oslo, Norway

A landslide in a Norwegian village has buried homes under dark mud, injuring 10 people including one seriously and leaving 11 missing. Rescue workers are continuing to search for those missing, who include children, in the village of Gjerdrum, 25km (15 miles) north-east of the capital, Oslo. About 900 people have so far been evacuated from the village, police said some people were feared to be trapped in mud and debris. “We are quite certain that there are people in the affected area, but we don’t know if all 11 are there or if the number is smaller,” police spokesman … Continue reading Houses buried in Gjerdrum village near Oslo, Norway

Strong 4.6-magnitude earthquake strikes southern Sicily

A 4.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Italian island of Sicily on Tuesday evening, Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said the “strong” tremor struck at 9.27pm and lasted for ten seconds. It was clearly felt in the towns of Ragusa, Syracuse and Catania, the Italian news agency ANSA said. The epicentre was reported to be in the Mediterranean Sea, 15 kilometres south of Acate on the southern Sicilian coast. “I was so afraid, everything was shaking,” Stefano Sucato, who lives in Ragusa, told ANSA. “Many people have fled and are still on the street.” Residents up to 300 kilometres … Continue reading Strong 4.6-magnitude earthquake strikes southern Sicily

German court halts Tesla factory plan over snake and lizard habitats

Tesla has been ordered again to suspend preparations for a car factory in Germany after a successful court injunction by environmentalists, the electric carmaker has been clearing forest land near the capital, Berlin, for it’s first European car and battery plant, but opponents argued this will endanger the habitats of lizards and snakes. A court in Frankfurt ordered forest clearing to be halted, pending further examinations. A similar court order was made earlier this year about Tesla’s plans for what it calls the Gigafactory in Grünheide, in the eastern state of Brandenburg, the earlier ruling was in response to concerns … Continue reading German court halts Tesla factory plan over snake and lizard habitats