This Week in Sustainability News 22.04
This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.
BlackRock expects 75% of their assets to be net-zero aligned by 2030
Asset management giant, BlackRock, has projected that at least 75% of its investments will be tied to issuers with net-zero targets by the end of the decade.
The organisation has stressed however, that this is a projection, not a target. Instead, changes will be determined by their client’s investment decisions and the scale of decarbonisation in the economy.
Some have been critical of BlackRock’s failure to use its financial influence to ensure other companies cut emissions, and of BlackRock’s lack of strongly defined commitments.
Insect numbers reduced by half in parts of the world due to climate change and agriculture, study finds
Research has found that insect population numbers have dropped by 49% in areas with high-intensity agriculture and significant levels of warming.
The variety of insect species in these areas has also dropped by 27%. Both figures are in comparison to areas that have mostly avoided climate change impacts.
The study’s lead researcher has said that the loss of insect populations is detrimental to the natural environment, human health, and food security.
The findings emphasise the need for habitat preservation, reduced high-intensity agriculture, and worldwide emissions cuts.
UK think-tank states that passive funds could jeopardise climate transition
UK think-tank, Common Wealth, has warned that passive funds are likely to overtake actively managed funds in terms of ownership in the UK’s fossil fuel industry in the coming years.
By becoming ‘investors of last resort’ in fossil fuel companies, passive funds may jeopardise the climate transition and create stewardship ‘inertia’.
While investors can divest from fossil fuel companies and exercise shareholder pressure from within to support decarbonisation, passive funds are increasingly acting as a ‘drag’ on this process.
Common Wealth has stated that passive funds should invest in their stewardship teams and increase their transparency regarding voting policies and engagement with investees to support the climate transition.
Carbon-rich Amazon peatlands under threat
Recent research mapping peat swamps in lowland Peruvian Amazonia (LPA) has found that the peatlands are larger than previously thought and contain twice as much carbon, at around 5.4 billion tonnes.
Large areas of peatland have already been lost due to agriculture, mining, and infrastructure. As peatlands are some of the world’s most carbon-dense ecosystems, their loss can significantly impact climate change.
Peat decomposes rapidly when the ecosystem is subjected to deforestation and drainage. This decomposition releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.
The researchers’ findings and mapping of the peatlands in LPA will assist Peru in protecting its peatlands for climate change mitigation, but more mapping and research efforts are needed to “avoid further degradation and CO2 emissions”