From investigations into oil company lobbying to Canada's latest EV plans, we round up all the green business news from around the world
Oil majors accused of lobbying to slow climate action
Some of the world's largets oil majors have been accused of continuing to lobby against climate policies, despite their public support for the Paris Agreement and recent investments in clean technologies.
Influential NGO InfluenceMap today published a major new report alleging that five leading oil giants - BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Total - have collectively spent $1bn since the Paris Agreement was finalised in 2015 on climate-related branding and lobbying. "These efforts are overwhelmingly in conflict with the goals of this landmark global climate accord and designed to maintain the social and legal license to operate and expand fossil fuel operations," the report said.
For example, the report highlights how in the run up to the US midterm elections last year $2m was spent on targeted Facebook and Instagram ads by global oil giants and their industry bodies, promoting fossil fuel production. It also highlights how BP donated $13m to a campaign to block a proposed carbon tax in Washington state.
"InfluenceMap's research confirms a widely held suspicion that Big Oil's glossy sustainability reports and shiny climate statements are all rhetoric and no action," said Catherine Howarth, chief executive of campaign group ShareAction. "These companies have mastered the art of corporate doublespeak - by boasting about their climate credentials while quietly using their lobbying firepower to sabotage the implementation of sensible climate policy and pouring millions into groups that engage in dirty lobbying on their behalf."
But a number of companies named in the report hit back at InfluenceMap's analysis, arguing they were stepping up investment in clean technologies and were lobbying for more effective climate policies.
In a statement issued to the Guardian, Shell said: "We firmly reject the premise of this report. We are very clear about our support for the Paris agreement, and the steps that we are taking to help meet society's needs for more and cleaner energy. nWe make no apology for talking to policymakers and regulators around the world to make our voice heard on crucial topics such as climate change and how to address it."
Coca-Cola steps up investment in African recycling capacity
Coca-Cola marked World Recycling Day this week by announcing plans to invest over $38m, in alliance with its bottling partners and other industry partners across Southern & East Africa, in stimulating plastic recycling industries and educating people about what, how, and where to recycle.
"We have shifted our business priorities to ensure value is added to our post-consumer plastic bottles so that they don't end up as waste," said Bruno Pietracci, President of Coca-Cola Southern and East Africa. "I like to think of it as creating a new currency with plastic - developing our bottles into valuable resources that can drive a green economy."
Banks accused of continuing to pump funds into fossil fuels post Paris Agreement
A coalition of US NGOs this week published a major new report detailing how leading global banks have provided $1.9tr of finance to fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.
The report was produced by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Sierra Club, and Honor the Earth. It analysed 33 global banks and found that levels of fossil fuel financing has risen in each of the past two years.
Of the $1.9tr total investment, $600bn went to 100 companies that are most aggressively expanding fossil fuels, the report said.
"This report is a red alert," said Alison Kirsch, climate and energy lead researcher at Rainforest Action Network. "The massive scale at which global banks continue to pump billions of dollars into fossil fuels is flatly incompatible with a livable future. It's an insult to logic, to science and to humanity that since the groundbreaking Paris Climate Agreement, financing for fossil fuels continues to rise. If banks don't rapidly phase out their support for dirty energy, planetary collapse from man-made climate change is not just probable - it is imminent."
Solarcentury steps up France expansion drive
UK-based renewables developer Solarcentury is to step up its presence in France after winning 57MW of solar power capacity in the latest solar auction in France.
The company is to to develop three solar farms in France together with its development partner OXYGN: the Lourches project will deliver 17MW of capacity in Hauts de France, the Marigny project will provide 30MW in Grand Est, and the Digue de Port-Saint-Louis project will deliver 10MW in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.
Each project is on brownfield sites and construction on the first site is set to begin in early 2020. The projects are expected to produce 68 GWh per year; enough electricity to provide power to more than 25,000 households.
Australian financial regulators to step up scrutinyof climate risks
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) released its first climate risk survey of regulated entities this week, and pledged to "increase its scrutiny of how banks, insurers and superannuation trustees are managing the financial risks of climate change to their businesses".
APRA surveyed 38 large banks, insurers and superannuation trustees last year to assess their views and practices related to climate-related financial risks.
The survey found a substantial majority of regulated entities were taking steps to increase their understanding of the threat, with a third of respondents acknowledging climate change was a material financial risk to their businesses now. A further half thought it would become a material risk in the future.
APRA executive board member Geoff Summerhayes said: "The world is rapidly transitioning to a low carbon economy, driven principally by the decisions of governments, business leaders, investors and consumers. Companies that fail to respond to these forces risk being left behind.
"Gaining an understanding of the risks is an important first step for entities, but APRA wants to see continuous improvement in how organisations disclose and manage these risks over coming years."
Iowa Caucus-goers want US presidential candidates to prioritise climate debate
The potential for climate change to play a central role in next year's US presidential election, after a new poll of Iowa caucus-goers ranked climate change as the second most important issue they want to hear candidates talk about, only fractionally behind healthcare.
Wow. Climate change is joint-top issue Iowa Caucus-goers want candidates to talk about. I don't think we've appreciated how much its salience has grown in last 2 years. pic.twitter.com/ZuM9xO6ECh— Leo Barasi (@leobarasi) March 19, 2019
Countries agree on energy efficiency targets but little else, as big decisions on how to curb shipping emissions are once again deferred
In what could prove to be a world first, green entrepreneur Dale Vince has today declared a 'climate emergency' at renewable energy specialist Ecotricity
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott ousted, but Australian voters opt to stick with ruling Liberal-National Coalition despite its inaction on climate change
Calls grow for Prime Minister to deliver net zero emission target before she steps down, as reports suggest government could beef up green Brexit deal