Sustainability Reads: July 3- July 16

New report shows just 100 companies are source of over 70% of emissions

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) research shows that 100 active oil and gas companies are linked to 71% of global, industrial greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Further, 32% of these legacy emissions come from publicly-owned companies (e.g., ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Peabody), highlighting the power and opportunity of investors to push for emission reductions and address climate change more broadly.

Really serious and scary environmental news

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that animals (terrestrial vertebrate and mammals) are disappearing to the extent that this is the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. Hence, the era of “biological annihilation.” An iceberg the size of Delaware, one of the largest ever recorded, also broke away from Antartica. This event provides scientists insight into how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart, which will have some serious impacts.

Bold moves away from “regular” combustion engine cars

The Chinese-owned company Volvo announced that all their car models launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrids, making it the first major traditional automaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine, which relies on fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gases and air pollutants. France also recently announced that it will ban the sale of petrol and diesel-based cars by 2040. Norway already has a goal of only allowing sales of 100% electric or plug-in hybrid cars by 2025 and a number of other countries such as The Netherlands, UK, and India are considering moves in the same direction.

The four lifestyle choices that most reduce your carbon footprint

What are the four actions that would have the greatest impact on an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions? Now we know: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car free, and having fewer children. To quantify the most high-impact personal lifestyle choices in developed countries and come up with these conclusions, the researchers (Lund University, Sweden and the University of British Columbia, Canada) analyzed 39 peer-reviewed articles, carbon calculators, and government sources. They acknowledge how personal these choices are, but eating less meat is an easy one!

Tip of the Week: In support of Plastic Free July, opt for reusable items instead of single-use plastic. More specifically, use a reusable coffee mug, water bottle, and “real” plates and cutlery rather than plastic/disposable coffee cups, water bottles, plates, and cutlery.

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