• FutureTrack

This Week in Sustainability News 16.02

This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.


Over 1,200 funds have ‘sustainable’ label revoked

  • Following an extensive review of European fund documents, Morningstar has revoked the ‘sustainable’ label from over 1,200 funds.

  • Many of these funds were self-identifying as sustainable under Article 8 of the SFDR. To be considered an Article 8 fund under the SFDR, funds must ‘promote ESG characteristics’.

  • This vague criterion has led to uncertainty regarding which funds are applicable and has created opportunities for greenwashing.

  • Morningstar has stated it will continue to examine industry data to improve its process of identifying and labelling sustainable funds.

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Over £295 billion invested into oil and gas production by European banks

  • Since 2016, 25 of Europe’s largest banks have invested over £295 billion into companies with expansion plans in oil and gas.

  • HSBC had invested the most, followed by Barclays and BNP Paribas.

  • Experts have warned that investment and expansion in oil and gas is incompatible with targets to limit global warming to 1.5C and that “there is no pathway to net zero that involves funding an expansion in production of fossil fuels”.

  • ShareAction argues that these investments are not only detrimental to our planet, but also to the banks’ investors, as climate change and transition risks will ‘destroy’ value for energy companies.

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Experts fear net zero misinformation may undermine UK emissions targets

  • Misinformation linking the cost-of-living crisis to the UK’s carbon reduction goals has caused concern that progress made during COP26 will be undermined.

  • Experts argue that blaming high energy prices on net zero targets is irresponsible and a wilful misdiagnosis of the situation.

  • It was also warned that any indication that the false net zero claims are causing ministers to backpedal on climate targets “would clearly reduce the UK’s standing in the world. It would be a complete failure of leadership, and the world would judge [the UK government] harshly.”

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Is warming feeding the warming? Methane rises indicate possible feedback mechanism

  • Current levels of atmospheric methane are triple that of pre-industrial levels, now exceeding 1900 parts per billion.

  • Researchers have found that while methane emissions slowed around the turn of the century, they began to rapidly and mysteriously rise after 2007.

  • While two-thirds of the methane released between 2007-2016 has resulted from human activity, stressing the need for nations to keep their COP26 pledge to curb methane emissions, researchers are warning that the rising methane levels may indicate a feedback mechanism.

  • Experts fear that as the earth warms, a feedback mechanism will cause more methane to be released, further raising temperatures and therefore releasing more methane. This would make the task of fighting climate change even more difficult.

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