Stemming the flow: The NGT has directed several industries to maintain water accounts and mandated the recycling of wastewater rather than direct discharge | Photo:

Recycle water, maintain accounts of amount used, India’s green tribunal tells industries

With an aim to curb industries’ unregulated use of water, a recent directive by India’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered all slaughterhouses, food processing units and industries where large quantities of effluents are discharged to maintain water accounts. The directive also made it compulsory for industrial units to recycle the water used instead of discharging it on land or in water. The NGT issued the directive while hearing a petition filed against an Aligarh food processing unit for violation of environmental regulations.

Still no headway on new carbon market mechanism as latest round of UN talks concluded

Brazil, once again, stood its ground in opposition to the implementation of new rules to regulate global carbon markets that would see old carbon credits accumulated since 2008 be erased. The impasse came during the latest round of UN climate negotiations which were held in San Jose, Costa Rica. The new accounting rules, pushed aggressively by developed nations, is aimed at tackling the problem of “double counting” that has harmed the system’s credibility. But one major sticking point that has remained through discussions is the fate of existing carbon credits. Brazil, China and India – who together hold most the credits – insist they must be able to bring forward old CDM credits into the new mechanism. With delegates struggling to make headway on major points of contention, the impasse may  have an impact on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Emissions in 30 of the world’s largest cities have reached their peak: C40 analysis

Thirty of the world’s largest cities, including London, New York, Sydney and Venice, have reached their peak greenhouse gas emissions, according to an analysis released just before the C40 World Mayors Summit held this fortnight. Scientists have determined that the world has to reach peak emissions by 2020 in order to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, as per the Paris agreement. This analysis, therefore, is good news because it demonstrates that a rapid low-carbon transition is possible and has already begun.

The C40 summit, meanwhile, made headlines in India after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was denied permission from the Centre to attend the event held in Denmark. He, however, did manage to address the summit via video conferencing where he pledged to fight air pollution by signing the C-40 Clean Air Declaration that was signed only by 38 of the 94 cities attending. Kolkata won the C40 award at the summit for its green mobility.

Germany gives its nod to climate measures, but activists call them ‘weak’

Germany has set an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, but will the measures approved by the German cabinet this fortnight to drastically cut emissions take them any closer to reaching that goal? Not really, according to climate activists and experts, who called the plans ‘too weak’. The measures, which give German chancellor Angela Merkel some much-needed fillip amidst criticism over pension and tax reform, are expected to raise $59 billion in taxes to be largely invested in green energy.

EU pledges ‘quick’, ‘effective’ plan to tax foreign polluting firms

The trade war between the EU and the US is likely to deepen after the former pledged to work on a plan to tax foreign polluting firms. EU’s economic and tax commissioner Paolo Gentiloni vowed to be ‘very quick’ and ‘effective’ on carbon border tax, which is seen as a bid to shield European countries from competitors based in countries where schemes to protect the climate are not as strict, which includes the US.  

Meanwhile, the nominee for EU Commission executive vice president, Frans Timmermans, who is set to run Europe’s climate policy and is key in the development of the European green new deal in the next five years, has backed the goal to cut CO2 by 55% by 2030. The EU’s current target is to reach 40% by that time and become carbon neutral by 2050. Estonia became the latest EU country to join a group of 24 European countries that back the ‘net zero emissions by 2050’ vision. The country has made a turnaround in its stance since last year when it was one of the four hold-out countries that blocked an EU-wide agreement to reach the target. 

The next EU energy chief Kadri Simson, meanwhile, proposed natural gas ‘might be the most cost-efficient option for replacing coal-based power plants’, while laying out her energy policy vision. 

Majority of 50 largest global banks yet to make sustainable finance commitments: Study

While the dialogue on sustainable finance has finally begun, the world is still woefully behind in achieving this goal. According to new findings by the World Resources Institute, released this fortnight, a majority of the world’s 50 largest banks have not made sustainable finance commitments to respond to the risks of climate change and continue to finance fossil fuels. The study found only 23 of the banks made commitments to finance projects for sustainable energy. But the average annual level of fossil fuel finance between 2016 and 2018 of these 23 banks is nearly twice the annualized amount of sustainable finance commitments.

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