This Week in Sustainability News 23.02
This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.
Tackling greenwashing tops ESMA’s list of sustainable finance priorities
In their Sustainable Finance Roadmap, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has outlined three priorities for the 2022-24 period: tackling greenwashing, expanding the capacity of the NCA and ESMA within sustainable finance, and analysing, monitoring, and assessing ESG markets and risks.
The report states that to limit the detrimental effects greenwashing can have on investor protection, both the direct and indirect causes need to be addressed.
The more direct causes include deliberate misrepresentation, wrongful disclosure, and mis-selling, as well as the absence of clear and common ESG investment labels.
The more indirect causes include inaccessible or poor-quality data, and a lack of requirements for corporate disclosures to include fair and comparable reflections of sustainability.
Australia building multi-billion-dollar gas pipelines despite stranded asset risk
The Australian government has been criticised for investing billions into new gas projects that are likely to become stranded assets as the world acts against climate change.
The demand for gas is predicted to decline across the country in the near future, making the new infrastructure a stranded asset risk for both the operating companies and for taxpayers.
Experts are disappointed that Australia has chosen to further entrench itself in fossil fuels instead of transitioning to renewable energy, and have pointed to the ‘toxic level of influence’ that fossil fuel companies have on the government.
“When you build a gas pipeline you build it for 50 years, we’ve got a climate emergency which we need to act on in eight years. How can you build an asset like that when you have to change by 2050?”
UK mayors warn of need to prepare for climate emergency mass migration
UK mayors warn that British cities must prepare for mass migration resulting from climate change.
Estimates suggest that by 2050, 216 million people could be migrating due to climate change displacement, with the majority of them likely to migrate to urban areas.
London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has stated that urgent action is required to tackle the issues of mass migration, but cities need access to more powers and funding from the government in order to take said action and address climate change at a local level.
Bristol mayor, Marvin Rees, noted that it is imperative for cities in developed nations to ‘show leadership in how to minimise the long-term need for climate displacement’.
Climate change and the Winter Olympics’ future
Man-made snow might not be enough to save the Winter Olympics’ future in a warming world.
During the first Winter Olympic Games, held in 1924, all events were conducted outdoors, relying on natural snow and freezing temperatures.
Now, in 2022, skiers are competing on man-made snow, luge tracks and ski jumps are refrigerated, and skating events take place indoors.
Under a low-emissions scenario for global warming, by 2050, only 13 out of 21 former host cities of the Winter Olympics would be viable to host the games. Under the ‘business as usual’ emissions scenario for global warming, this figure falls to 10.
The unviable venues would also be susceptible to problems associated with artificial snowmaking, as the process requires a dewpoint temperature of -2C or less.