This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.
Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Reach Record High in 2022
- The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its latest report on global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. According to the report, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.5% in 2022, reaching a new record high.
- The increase in emissions was driven by a rebound in economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in emerging economies.
- The IEA also noted that renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, continued to grow in 2022, but were not enough to offset the increase in emissions from fossil fuels.
- The report calls for urgent action to reduce global emissions in order to limit the impacts of climate change. It suggests a range of policy measures, such as carbon pricing, investment in clean energy, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
- The IEA also calls for greater international cooperation and a stronger commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
- While the increase in emissions in 2022 is a setback, the report notes that there are some positive signs, such as a slowdown in the growth of coal consumption and an increase in electric vehicle sales. However, more needs to be done to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
River Ouse in Sussex may be the first river in England to be granted legal rights
- The River Ouse in Sussex, England has become the first river in the country to be on course to be granted legal rights.
- The decision was made by Lewes District Council and would give the river the same legal status as a person, with the right to exist, thrive, and evolve.
- The move is part of a growing global trend to recognize the rights of nature and protect ecosystems.
- Supporters of the decision say it will help to protect the river from pollution and other threats, and ensure that it is managed sustainably.
- The decision has been welcomed by environmental campaigners, who see it as a positive step towards a more holistic approach to environmental protection. However, some have criticized the decision, arguing that it could lead to legal disputes and conflicts with human interests.
- The legal rights of nature have been recognized in other parts of the world, including Ecuador and New Zealand, where rivers and other natural entities have been granted legal personhood.
- The decision to grant legal rights to the River Ouse is seen as a significant milestone in the recognition of the rights of nature in the UK and could pave the way for similar decisions in other parts of the country
Controversial Program to Convert Plastics into Fuel Raises Health and Environmental Concerns
- A new Chevron program, approved by the US Environmental Protection agency and aimed at reducing plastic waste, is being criticized for promoting the use of plastics as fuel due to their high cancer risk.
- The risk exceeds the level typically considered acceptable by the EPA department responsible for authorizing new chemicals by a factor of 250,000.
- The program, called "Chemical Recycling Advanced Feedstock Exception" (CRAFE), allows companies to convert certain types of plastic waste into fuel and other products.
- Supporters of the program argue that it will help to reduce plastic waste and provide a new source of energy.
- However, critics argue that the process of converting plastics into fuel is highly polluting and could contribute to climate change. They also warn that the program could undermine efforts to reduce plastic consumption and shift towards more sustainable materials.
- Critics are calling for the program to be scrapped and for more emphasis to be placed on reducing plastic consumption and promoting sustainable alternatives.
- The controversy surrounding the CRAFE program highlights the complex and often conflicting challenges of addressing plastic waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Tesco Accused of Greenwashing Claims over Biodegradable Teabags Containing Plastic
- Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain, has been accused of greenwashing over its claims that its own-brand teabags are "biodegradable."
- The accusations were made by environmental campaigners who argue that the teabags actually contain a plastic called polypropylene, which does not fully biodegrade.
- The campaigners claim that the use of polypropylene in teabags is a widespread issue across the tea industry, with many other brands also using the material.
- Tesco has responded to the allegations by stating that the polypropylene used in its teabags is necessary to ensure they don't fall apart in hot water, but that it is working on alternative materials.
- Environmental campaigners argue that the use of polypropylene in teabags is unnecessary and that alternatives, such as compostable materials, are available.
- They are calling for Tesco and other tea brands to be more transparent about the materials used in their teabags and to shift towards more sustainable options.
- The controversy over biodegradable teabags highlights the challenges of addressing plastic pollution and reducing reliance on single-use plastics. It also underscores the importance of transparency and accurate labelling in helping consumers make informed choices about the products they buy.