The country's massive infrastructure projects would need the removal of almost 2.3 million trees, the Union environment minister informed Rajya Sabha.

2.3 million trees proposed to be felled for mega infra projects, green ministry tells Rajya Sabha

“Mega infrastructure projects” will most likely take the place of 2.3 million trees across the country. The environment ministry informed the Rajya Sabha that between 2020 and 2022, it had granted clearance to “31 projects related to highways, 11 projects related to ports, 15 projects related to airports, 20 projects related to river valley and 10 projects related to Thermal power plants”. Three of the highway projects pass through protected areas, for which 2.3 million trees have been proposed to be cut. The ministry had submitted the written response to questions raised by Congress MP Vivek K Tankha. Environmentalists pointed out that the reply showed that the government was pursuing a “business as usual” scenario when it came to the environment.   

US agrees to be transparent with EU on subsidies for green tech under new act

US president Joe Biden’s landmark climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act has left the EU concerned about the country poaching its green businesses. France and Germany’s economy ministers met with the US treasury to discuss subsidies provided under the act for green technologies. Both ministers said the US agreed to provide transparency on specific subsidies so that the EU is able to match them if needed. The EU is worried about its competitiveness in the market because of these subsidies, especially for electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, including the raw materials that go into them.

12 employees from UAE oil company take up roles in office hosting COP28 

Twelve officials from the UAE’s state-owned oil company found roles in the office of the country’s climate change special envoy. The UAE will host this year’s COP. The new roles were discovered during an analysis by the independent investigative group Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) of LinkedIn accounts, The Guardian reported. Two former engineers with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) will be part of the group of negotiators representing the UAE at COP28. Their LinkedIn profiles do not reflect a background in climate diplomacy, the analysis found. Recently, it was announced Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, who is Adnoc’s chief executive, will preside over COP28 without giving up his role in the company. This has sparked concern over the country’s effectiveness in hosting the climate summit. 

Greenwashing? Study rates net-zero plans of Samsung, Amazon, Nestlé, Uniqlo and others low on credibility 

A study by the “Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor” accused some of the world’s biggest companies, including Samsung, Amazon, Nestle, Uniqlo among others, of making “misleading” claims about their emissions reduction plans. The study said each of the big names are on course to miss their own net-zero targets, the Times reported. The report stated that 18 of the companies have “problematic” plans such as relying ‘heavily’ on offsetting emissions by planting trees and through similar projects designed to remove carbon from the atmosphere. 

The 24 companies investigated in the report are responsible for 4% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, span eight sectors including automobiles, fashion, food and technology and have combined yearly revenue of more than $3 trillion”, wrote the WSJ, adding that the combined net-zero pledges of the 24 companies “would reduce their total greenhouse-gas emissions by 36% by their respective target years, typically 2040 or 2050, compared with the at least 90% emission reductions needed”. None of the firms in the sample have “high integrity” net-zero plans.