Edition for 26 May 2020

Top Stories

Great green stimulus: Covid-19 and the green new deals (Straits Times)

  • From the European Union and the United Nations to climate scientists and environmentalists, there are loud calls for change.
  • The message: Use the trillions of dollars pledged to revive economies to drive advances in cleaner technologies, create new industries and jobs, cut air pollution and curb the threat from climate change.
  • Even before the pandemic, the EU, the United States and South Korea had their own versions of a Green New Deal, which centre on ramping up renewable energy investment, slashing carbon dioxide emissions and phasing out fossil fuels.

Volkswagen scandal: Top German court rules automaker must pay 'dieselgate' compensation (Deutsche Welle)

  • The Federal Court of Justice on Monday ruled against German automaker Volkswagen in the country's first case brought by a car owner over the company's emissions test cheating. The ruling sets a precedent for thousands more cases.
  • The court said that people who had purchased an VW automobile equipped with software that manipulated emissions tests are entitled to financial compensation.
  • To avoid a class-action lawsuit, Volkswagen Group recently agreed to pay damages to 235,000 car owners in Germany.

The Climate Case for the Four-Day Work Week (Gizmodo)

  • It could also help lower emissions and protect the climate.
  • A white paper published in 2006 made the case clearly: If the U.S. adopted European work hours, American carbon emissions in 2000 would have been 7 percent below its actual 1990 levels.
  • Yet these 3.9 million people working from home reduced emissions as much as taking 600,000 cars off the road each year.

Defining green activities – What the new EU rules mean for India (CFA Institute)

  • While governments could catalyse green investments in a variety of ways, coming up with a comprehensive list of “green activities” is a great place to start.
  • As sustainable investments have grown over the last decade, the number of definitions put forth by non-profits, commercial data providers, and regulators have proliferated.
  • EU taxonomy for green activities has three broad objectives – to provide an unambiguous definition to companies for disclosures, and asset managers for marketing investment products; to protect consumers from dubious claims of greenwashing, and to provide EU member states a basis for further policy action such as financing or incentivising green investments, or for the central bank to calibrate prudential measures (such as risk weights or priority lending limits) based on a consistent framework.

"I don't think we will ever catch up": B.C. methane targets out of reach amid growing LNG, fracking (The Narwhal)

  • To feed those facilities, B.C. is anticipating an explosion in the amount of fracking in the province’s northeast at the same time as it’s trying to get a handle on one of the gas industry’s worst climate offenders: methane emissions.  
  • Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a climate warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide on a 100-year timescale.
  • Global efforts are underway to curtail methane emissions, and as a part of Canada’s international commitments, B.C. set a goal of reducing provincial methane emissions 45 percent by 2025, compare to 2014 levels.

Motorbike emissions levels added to revised Law on Road Traffic (Viet Nam News)

  • Gas emissions from motorbikes will be periodically checked under the revised Law on Road Traffic which will be submitted to the National Assembly this year to protect the environment.
  • According to the Việt Nam Register, motorbike emissions caused serious pollution, especially in big cities where there were a large number of motorbikes.
  • However, emissions testing had only be applied for new vehicles until now.

Houston's climate plan could make it a green model (EHN) 

  • The recently passed climate action plan takes a more proactive approach, setting out ways that Houston, which is one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters among U.S. cities, can minimize its impact on the environment in the first place.
  • The plan includes plenty of mainstay climate-policy prescriptions, including calls to electrify the city’s fleet of vehicles, switch to renewable sources of energy, and improve energy efficiency in buildings.
  • The emphasis on mobility makes sense, since nearly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and Houston maintains one of the highest rates of automobile use in the country.
  • Toward this same end, one of the plan’s more innovative proposals calls on policymakers to eliminate minimum parking requirements by 2030.

Gucci and the Future of Fashion Shows and Gender (NY Times) 

  • Fewer fashion weeks are unquestionably more sustainable, both in terms of human and environmental price.
  • In 2019, Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York released a report from the New York City Economic Development Corporation noting that New York Fashion Week was responsible for generating close to $600 million a year in income, thanks in part to all the associated industries, including hotels and restaurants, security services and florists — representing a greater economic impact than the Super Bowl or the U.S. Open tennis championships.

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