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Top Sustainability News #17

Alexanne Heurtier
You don't want to miss out on the latest news related to carbon markets and sustainable development. Find out our Top Sustainability News!

Investing 0.1% of global GDP could avoid breakdown of ecosystems, says UN report

A recent UN report, The State of Finance for Nature, was published days after the International Day for Biological Diversity. The report highlights that an investment of only 0.1% of the global GDP could help fight climate change by restoring and protecting our biodiversity. Billions of dollars are needed to avoid irreparable damages to ecosystems and disastrous consequences on human well-being. For instance, the report has shown that investments in regenerative agriculture, forests, and pollution management systems could lessen negative effects on humankind, especially concerning clean water, food, and flood protection. To contribute to this effort, $536 billion should be invested each year. The report complements previous studies, such as the Swiss Re analysis released last year, which had provided information about the impacts of biodiversity loss on our economy as half of the global GDP depends on high-functioning biodiversity, and highlights the fact that one fifth of countries, including Australia, Israeli, and South Africa, are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing due to natural world destruction.
Actions must be taken by governments and the private sector to restore and protect our planet to prevent a massive extinction or extreme climate disasters. Finance can be used as a tool to respond to these climate issues and contribute to a global transition that focuses on nature-based solutions. However, the report highlights the need for improved labelling and tracking for investments flows as today we lack information regarding the direct impact of investments on nature. Experts have warned that those investments should be recorded and tracked to ensure that they are not disproportionate to other climate investments, such as for the energy transition.
To initiate changes, governments and organizations can draw on the Dasgupta report published in February, which details the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/27/nature-financial-value-investing-global-gdp-avoid-breakdown-ecosystems-un-report-aoe

In A Landmark Case, A Dutch Court Orders Shell To Cut Its Carbon Emissions Faster

In the Netherlands, a court has ruled Shell, one of the biggest oil companies, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The decision is unprecedented and could bring a new option for environmentalists who want to fight against large polluters. Even though Shell has already committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, the court has ordered the company to implement a more ambitious strategy to be aligned with the Paris Agreement targets. The new target Shell must achieve is to reduce by 2030, 45% of its emissions, a larger scope than previously planned. The company will now have to include emissions from products burned by its customers. The non-governmental organization that initiated this trial, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, has welcomed the ruling and hopes it could become a turning point in the fight against climate change. However, Shell does not agree with this and argues it has implemented actions to accelerate its reduction efforts, such as “investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels.”
As a reminder, at the beginning of the year, a similar historical ruling had condemned the French state to pay for the ecological damage caused by its inaction. However, other rulings dampen the expectations of climate advocates. For instance, in the United States, dozens of trials that involved oil giants have sided with them at the expense of US cities and states that brought the lawsuits.

Source: https://text.npr.org/1000475878

Elon Musk and Bitcoin miners say they want to address crypto’s sustainability problem

In March, the American automobile company Tesla, led by Elon Musk, announced it will accept bitcoin as a payment tool for its cars. In May, the CEO, who is personally committed to fighting against climate change, reversed his decision due to environmental concerns. Bitcoin mining is indeed an energy-intensive industry that consumes as much energy as the Netherlands for an entire year. A bitcoin miner helps check and secure translation between participants on the bitcoin market. As a result, data servers need a lot of energy to operate. One of the missions of Tesla is to promote sustainable energy worldwide, thus, the consumption of bitcoin miners is incompatible with the core values of the company. The announcement is a disappointment for bitcoin actors, which are now talking about implementing “sustainable mining and transparency.” Elon Musk and some bitcoin miners have talked about how to keep working together in a more sustainable way. The North American bitcoin miners have stated that they will form the Bitcoin Mining Council to accelerate their transition towards the use of greener energy and more transparency. The announcement of an entire sustainable strategy is expected to be published soon. However, Elon Musk has not stated if Tesla will restart accepting cryptocurrency, but he seems optimistic on the actions and engagement from the Bitcoin Mining Council. 

Source: https://californianewstimes.com/elon-musk-and-bitcoin-miners-say-they-want-to-address-cryptos-sustainability-problem/357132/ 
Article written by Alexanne Heurtier