BREAKING: Google is funding the climate denialism movement. Jane Fonda gets arrested and will do it again. And is climate change is at the top of investors’ minds? Read on for a quick summary of this week’s top environmental stories.
1. Jane Fonda is taking the bull by its horns: celebrity climate activism at its best?
You might know her from movies, TV shows, or even exercise videos. Or you might know her as the celebrity that sat on an anti-aircraft gun in Vietnam. Now, she’s tackling climate activism. While all attention is arguably good attention, we have to be wary of token celebrity activism (although Fonda seems to be serious). On Fridays from now on, the 81-year-old Academy Award winner is going to protest in front of the U.S. Capitol to ask lawmakers to end fossil fuel drilling. She calls these: “Fire Drill Fridays”, taking the cue from Greta. “We have to behave like our houses are on fire,” she says. Fonda was arrested on Friday but said this would not stop her. And that she will also host online teach-ins on Thursday evenings, inclusive of lectures from climate scientists and discussions about how environmental concerns overlap with social issues.
“I’m going to take my body, which is kind of famous and popular right now because of the series and I’m going to go to D.C., and I’m going to have a rally every Friday.”
2. BREAKING: Google made substantial contributions to climate change deniers.
If your jaw hasn’t dropped to the floor yet, wait for it. As part of its investigative journalism series “The Polluters”, The Guardian has revealed that Google is funding climate denialism. How? The full article details its shady involvements under the table—under the guise of a climate-concerned company, no less—but here’s the short of it. A conservative policy group “instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to abandon the Paris agreement” is one of Google’s beneficiaries of its political giving. Google is also sponsoring an umbrella organisation supporting conservative groups, including one that criticised Greta Thunberg for “climate delusion hysterics”. In response, Google stated collaboration does not equate to endorsing agendas, and that it’s not the only company contributing to such groups despite disagreeing with their climate policy.
Some activists have found it unacceptable (maybe even calling it greenwashing), but what do you think?
3. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs say 2019 is the year climate change is at the top of investors’ minds.
We’re just going to come right out and say it. Shouldn’t it be at the top of investors’ minds every year?
Last month, Goldman Sachs came out with a 34-page report detailing the terrifying effects of climate change on cities. John Goldstein, head of Goldman’s Sustainable Finance Group, had this to say: “It’s why we’ve put in a lot of time and money into research on ESG.” And while it’s slightly problematic that Goldstein followed with: “We see this as an opportunity to unlock economic growth,” at least it’s paying attention. JPMorgan agrees, releasing an investing note in May titled ‘Climate changes everything’, in which it stated: “2018, 2019 will be remembered as watershed years for climate change awareness,” It’s about time.
Time to act, then? Recent news seems to be suggesting that things are finally moving.
4. Temasek said to rule out investment in mega Saudi Aramco IPO.
Big news! Last week, The Guardian revealed Saudi Aramco IPO topped its list of the 20 companies behind a third of all emissions in the modern era. Now, perhaps in response, it seems that the most significant contributor to Singapore’s budget is acting on the growing international environmental concern. Singapore’s Temasek Holdings decided against investing in Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering, likely because of its 2030 goal to reduce the emissions of its portfolio companies by 50%. ESG assessments, too, according to a Temasek spokesman via email, play a role. This comes after Temasek International chief executive officer said last month that he doesn’t think they’re going to be investing in fossil fuels.
Speaking of Singapore, have you checked out our article on the latest SG Climate Rally, the first-ever environmental rally in the city?
5. Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action.
Climate change has always been a public health issue—there’s no question about that. But it’s another thing to have scientists back mass civil disobedience to urge for stronger action from governments. And almost 400 scientists have endorsed this. Climate scientists, physicists, biologists, engineers and more (from at least 20 countries) sided with peaceful protesters last week in a joint declaration of the need for action. A group of 20 of the signatories, wearing white laboratory coats, gathered on Saturday in London in support of Extinction Rebellion. (Safe to say it’s a sight you don’t see every day.)
“We believe that the continued government inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law,” they said.